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Chinese students in Paris recount the night of horror

People place flowers outside the Bataclan concert hall on Nov. 14, in Paris. Photo: AP

Chinese students in France told on Sunday that they found themselves caught in a night of wailing, reeling from the terrorist attacks that devastated Paris.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for Friday's attacks on a stadium, a concert hall and cafes in Paris that left at least 129 people dead and over 350 wounded, 99 of them in critical condition.

“I was awakened by the ambulance siren that night,” said Song Hui, who lives in an apartment only 500 meters away from the Bataclan hall, where at least 89 concert-goers were gunned down in a random shooting spree.  

“I thought there might be something wrong outside. When I opened the window, I saw a number of dead bodies soaked in blood,” she said, adding that she didn’t go out to help the injured as she didn’t know what happened.

A few minutes later, Song got a phone call from her friend who was watching a football match between France and Germany at the national Stade de France stadium where three suicide bombers detonated their explosive vests outside the stadium.

The spectators were unaware of the suicide bombing. But when the friendly match finished, the crowd ran into chaos. Song’s friend spent 20 minutes walking to the subway station, said Song.

Another Chinese student Yi Yang said he set up a group on WeChat soon after the carnage, hoping to offer comfort to those in pain.

Rumors that three Chinese were killed by the IS members and that there was no way to get back to China from Paris were spread among the Chinese community after the bloodshed. Yi said those rumors are worse than terrorist attacks.

None of the rumors were clarified by the Chinese embassy in France. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday called on the international community to form a united front to combat terrorism in the wake of Paris attacks.

Both Song and Yi received messages from their school on Saturday, telling them to stay at home while classes were suspended.   

Yi said he called on Chinese students on the WeChat group to share food as many stores were closed after the attacks.

“You can’t imagine how bustling the place was,” Song said of the area when she last left it to visit her classmates. The Bataclan concert hall on Boulevard Voltaire is a favorite hangout place for locals. But it turned into a mute neighborhood (after the incident), Song told the

(The article is translated by Wu Jie.)

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