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Cambridge alumnus of Chinese nationality left in need of surgery after racist attack
Qing Na
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Cambridge alumnus of Chinese nationality left in need of surgery after racist attack

Header image: The victim said the “physical and mental damage is overwhelming” after the attack. Source: Yuanzhao Zhang.

A 25-year-old Chinese national has been left in need of nasal surgery after a “horrific” racially motivated attack in Cambridge on the evening of 18 September.

The victim Yuanzhao Zhang, who is an alumnus of Cambridge University, alleges that he felt a sharp pain on the back of his ear as someone had twisted it hard while he was standing in the milk aisle during his weekly shop at the new Co-op on Mill Road.

Co-op on Mill Road Cambridge. Source: Google Map.

He was then surrounded by an estimated 10 young men who started punching and beating while shouting racially abusive words.

“I was a bit shocked, so I turned back and saw a group of teenagers, roughly aged 16 or 17 just kind of staring at me,” Zhang told the local media Cambridgeshire Live.

“They shouted some racial slurs at me, and I shouted back…I defended myself as well, but I was outnumbered.”

“I feel the punches from different directions and my nose was broken. And then I heard one of them yell ‘his nose’s broken’ and they ran away,” he added.

Zhang was treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital for head injuries on his temples and chin and requires nasal surgery. Source: Yuanzhao Zhang.

Zhang chased the group out of the shop when three or four teenagers turned back halfway through and said, “Stop chasing us!” and threw a can of drink at him, which hit his back.

“At that moment a British driver passing by and told me to get in his van as he can’t stand things like this happening in Cambridge because he’s got Asian friends as well,” Zhang said.

Footage of some of the suspected attackers. Source: Stop Asian Hate.

The chase was not successful as the gang ran off in all directions. Zhang, called the police from the car but was told they weren’t able to dispatch any officers, according to the local news outlet.

Cambridge Police rejected commenting on this matter and so far, there has not been any update on this case that is made publicly available.

The passerby then drove Zhang to Addenbrooke’s Hospital where he was told to go home and rest after having waited for nearly four hours at the A & E. After having developed a fever and suffered from breathing difficulties because of the broken nose, Zhang returned to the hospital the following day and had a CT scan, which shows multiple head injuries on his temples and chin.  

Footage of some of the suspected attackers. Source: Stop Asian Hate.

The victim said he has since required nasal surgery and that the “physical and mental damage is overwhelming”. Following the incident, Zhang launched a petition Stop Asian Hate and wrote a joint letter from the Cambridge Asian Community to Daniel Zeichner, the Cambridge MP, calling for actions.

The petition has garnered more than 1,600 signatures, according to the campaign page, which also records other racist incidents, including another Chinese man who was harassed on the same road on 25 September – one week from Zhao’s attack. Based on available footage, the attackers were allegedly identified as the same group of teenagers who assaulted Zhang.


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