Europe

Italy crackdown on Chinese community gets violent

  • In this picture taken Thursday, June 30, 2016, italian Police officers in riot gears push back a protester during clashes with members of the local Chinese community in Sesto Fiorentino, on the outskirts of Florence Italy. Members of the Chinese community have clashed against police in a protest against what they say are excessive controls over their companies. Police lashed back with batons leaving several Chinese injured and bloodied on the ground. In interviews on Italian Television, Chinese protesters complained the Italian government continues to do raids on their businesses frequently fining them unfairly for infractions of Italian laws. (Maurizio Degli'Innocenti/ANSA Via AP)

    In this picture taken Thursday, June 30, 2016, italian Police officers in riot gears push back a protester during clashes with members of the local Chinese community in Sesto Fiorentino, on the outskirts of Florence Italy. Members of the Chinese community have clashed against police in a protest against what they say are excessive controls over their companies. Police lashed back with batons leaving several Chinese injured and bloodied on the ground. In interviews on Italian Television, Chinese protesters complained the Italian government continues to do raids on their businesses frequently fining them unfairly for infractions of Italian laws. (Maurizio Degli'Innocenti/ANSA Via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this picture taken Thursday, June 30, 2016, Italian Police officers in riot gears clash with members of the local Chinese community in Sesto Fiorentino, on the outskirts of Florence Italy. Members of the Chinese community have clashed against police in a protest against what they say are excessive controls over their companies. Police lashed back with batons leaving several Chinese injured and bloodied on the ground. In interviews on Italian Television, Chinese protesters complained the Italian government continues to do raids on their businesses frequently fining them unfairly for infractions of Italian laws. (Maurizio Degli'Innocenti/ANSA Via AP)

    In this picture taken Thursday, June 30, 2016, Italian Police officers in riot gears clash with members of the local Chinese community in Sesto Fiorentino, on the outskirts of Florence Italy. Members of the Chinese community have clashed against police in a protest against what they say are excessive controls over their companies. Police lashed back with batons leaving several Chinese injured and bloodied on the ground. In interviews on Italian Television, Chinese protesters complained the Italian government continues to do raids on their businesses frequently fining them unfairly for infractions of Italian laws. (Maurizio Degli'Innocenti/ANSA Via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this picture taken Thursday, June 30, 2016, an injured man lies on a street following clashes broke out between Italian Police officers and local Chinese community in Sesto Fiorentino, on the outskirts of Florence Italy. Members of the Chinese community have clashed against police in a protest against what they say are excessive controls over their companies. Police lashed back with batons leaving several Chinese injured and bloodied on the ground. In interviews on Italian Television, Chinese protesters complained the Italian government continues to do raids on their businesses frequently fining them unfairly for infractions of Italian laws. (Maurizio Degli'Innocenti/ANSA Via AP)

    In this picture taken Thursday, June 30, 2016, an injured man lies on a street following clashes broke out between Italian Police officers and local Chinese community in Sesto Fiorentino, on the outskirts of Florence Italy. Members of the Chinese community have clashed against police in a protest against what they say are excessive controls over their companies. Police lashed back with batons leaving several Chinese injured and bloodied on the ground. In interviews on Italian Television, Chinese protesters complained the Italian government continues to do raids on their businesses frequently fining them unfairly for infractions of Italian laws. (Maurizio Degli'Innocenti/ANSA Via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Italian authorities are cracking down on the increasingly powerful Chinese community in Tuscany, with searches of Chinese-run factories, nightclubs and community groups that resulted in clashes this week that drew the ire of China's foreign ministry.

Several people were injured in clashes Wednesday outside a factory near Florence where workers tried to prevent Italian health inspectors from entering. Riot police were called in after members of the Chinese community, including the leader of a self-styled vigilante group, descended on the scene.

On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the Chinese embassy and consulate in Italy had lodged a complaint with Italy, "urging it to carry out civilized law enforcement and fair investigation" while protecting the rights and safety of Chinese citizens in the country.