The Chinese community in South Africa has petitioned President Cyril Ramaphosa to prevent its members from being “slaughtered” by criminals.
The petition, already bearing more than 1 000 signatures, was started after the chairperson of the Shandong Overseas’ Association of Southern Africa (Soasa), Zhiwei Tom Zhong, and his wife, Xuejie Linda Hua, were shot in an apparent attempted robbery in the Joburg CBD on Thursday.
Community leader Michael Sun said that according to reports, the Zhongs were driving on Village Road on their way home when their car was followed by three men who fired at least six shots into the windscreen, killing the couple.
In 1998, the Zhongs’ 2-year-old son was fatally wounded by armed robbers.
“Now, 22 years later, Tom and Linda suffered the same fate.
“They did not pack up and leave. Instead, they continued with life and made significant contributions to society in honour of their beloved son.
“Tom was recently elected as the chairperson of the Soasa in recognition of his community work and dedication in serving the people.
“The news of the brutal killing comes as a shock to both the local and international Chinese community. We are in mourning, but we are equally as angry at the senseless killings. Too many Chinese South Africans are slaughtered like animals openly on the streets by armed robbers as the criminals think we are easy targets and the police have little capability to apprehend any of them,” said Sun.
The open letter urges President Ramaphosa to give personal attention to “this terrible scourge and swiftly bring the killers to justice”.
“In 1998, the fourth year after South Africa’s liberation into a new era the people were filled with hope for a better future. It was a time of unity as the nation embraced our new democracy. It was the same year the Zhong family had to bury their 2-year-old son after the family was brutally attacked and their toddler killed by cold-blooded robbers,” reads the letter.
The Zhong family made significant contributions to society in honour of their son.
“Many fellow South Africans benefited from their humanitarian activities and contributions. Twenty-two years have passed, although the tears are dry but the pain of losing their son would not be forgotten.”
The double murder has shocked and angered the Chinese community, locally and internationally.
“We are still in disbelief that such a kind and gentle couple can suffer this brutality.
“You see, Mr President, while the world cries Black Lives Matter and equality of life, at least 50 of our own people, regardless of colour or ethnicity, are killed in South Africa every day.
“Therefore, we sincerely urge you and your government to show more determination and courage to end this terrible scourge.
“This is not fate, this is a man-made hell. Our citizens live in fear behind burglar bars. Our women and children are victims. Businesses have to survive robberies and economic recessions. We hear voices of tremble and of fear, our homes are no longer havens for the family. Amongst all this, crime thrives like a tumour crashing down on this rainbow nation,” reads the open letter.
The letter also lists the names of the Chinese nationals who were killed in crime-related incidents over the past few years.