Discrimination Against Foreigners in Shanghai?

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely based on my personal observation. Always keep in mind that I am a young man with university education and living in Shanghai. Before you draw any general conclusion, be sure you understand that like in any large country, opinions vary greatly with ages, education background, economic status and regions.

One of my reader asked about the discrimination against foreigners she heard from a website:

I chanced upon a website (while looking for job opportunities) about how Asians, blacks, etc. are discriminated in China. Could you read the article in this website and give me your comments:

http://www.teachinasia.com/ethnic_background.html

If you think it is worthwhile and helpful for those who are new in China like me, may I suggest that you open this topic for discussion among your readers in order for us to know the experiences of other foreigners in China, and thereby guide us in our job search.

Well. I don’t observe ANY discrimination for foreigners in Shanghai. I believe what I see through my eyes are perfectly real. However, still don’t draw a general conclusion just because of what I see.

What is the True Feelings for Foreigners

The majority of people in China are very friendly with foreigners, no matter of the colors of their skin. It is true that white people (with golden hairs and blue eyes) are more closer to the typical image of a foreigner in Chinese people’s minds than people from other countries in Asia, but there is definitely no discrimination against black people or other Asian people. I bet you can feel at home in Shanghai.

In Most Areas of China, Foreigners are Rare

Foreigners gathers in large cities like Beijing, Shanghai or Guanghzou. In other areas, such as middle and west part of China, people seldom see foreign people in their cities. They are just very curious about foreign people when they appear in their lives. As I described in my article Back From CultureXChina Party, expenses, passport and visa are main barriers for normal people in China to go out of the country to see the rest of the world. Foreigners coming to this land bring very good chances for people to learn the outside. So don’t feel strange if you are surrounded by a group of people to talk with you excitedly using their not-so-good English – they mean welcome to you instead of make fun of you. It is also a chance to talk with native speakers to practice oral English since English skills are important to succeed in China.

Here is a joke. When asked about his experience in Xi’an, Bill Gates said people there recognized him and talked with him just to practice their oral English. :-)

In Large Cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou

Of cause if you come to China, chances are you will visit one of these cities as the first stop (or the only stop). The situation in these cities is more important to you.

I am not sure you are aware of the fact that only 0.4% of the populations in Shanghai are foreigners [source (Chinese)]. That means, unlike in U.S, my neighbors, my friends are mostly local people. So foreigners are also relatively rare and be ready to response to people kindly if they say hey to you just want to improve their English.

As I perceive, most foreign people are very polite and with very good manner, and they get on very well with local people. After closing the door of the country for more than one centaury, people are very excited about opening up to the world and seeing more and more people from other countries coming the city, why will they discrimination any foreigners?

For non-English speaking people, don’t worry. You will feel that you are welcome equally. Generally speaking, my friends, especially those who are not finally wealthy, admire people who stepped out of the door of his/her country and enter a new country like China ?this implies independent and financial success.

Culture Shock

Certainly you will definitely feel culture shock of various degrees after you move to China. It is natural that you need sometime to get used to it.

“Background to Racism in Asia” is not the truth

The story described in the Background to Racism in Asia section of the article is not true, at least from my personal point of view.

‘White’ northern Chinese have for centuries looked down upon ‘black’ darker skinned Chinese as lesser, undesirable people.

This is the first time in my whole life to hear about this.

Welcome to the City

I personally welcome anyone to this opening city and experience the great lives here. I am also very interested in what foreigners feel in the city? Their experience is valueable and trustworthy to you since I can only see the matter from a local resident’s point of view. Please make comments about your experience that you think there is no discrimination or experiences that may be considered as discrimination. Thanks!

Discriminations Do Exist in China

Certain kinds of discrimination do exist in China. Japanese is discriminated to some extend. The Anti-Japanese Movement is a vivid reflection. It is largely because the Japanese government refused to admit what they did for neighboring Asian countries in the World War II, including Nanjing Massacre. People from Japan may have hard time in China. Japanese students going back to Japan told the Japanese media that taxi drivers in China often tell them “If I had known you are a Japanese, I won’t have let you get into my car!” Well. I didn’t want to talk about this special case, and think it totally wrong to discriminate for any reason. I finally decided to leave this comment here using smaller fonts just try to tell you the truth in the city.

71 thoughts on “Discrimination Against Foreigners in Shanghai?

  1. I think the most important point in that article (which, if I read it correctly, actually refers only to a preference for/prejudice against “white”/”non-white” teachers of English in China) was contained in the following sentence: “Issues of racism and prejudice in Asia are far less prevalent in the younger generations”. Hopefully, that positive change in attitude is happening (at different rates of speed) all over the world. Many people in my parents’ generation here in the US were extremely prejudiced against anyone “different” from themselves. I think Jian Shuo is right, that the more people travel and visit other countries, the more we gain understanding of how our differences are only superficial while our similarities are fundamental. I believe that article was intended as realistic advice for people of color who wish to apply for teaching positions in China, but I also believe (or at least hope) that this advice will be outdated very soon!

  2. ‘White’ northern Chinese have for centuries looked down upon ‘black’ darker skinned Chinese as lesser, undesirable people.

    Jianshuo – when I taught in the SE (Guandong province), I saw this occasionally. My students would whisper to me how some kids would look down on one Chinese student (from a more ethnic background) who had significantly darker skin than the local Hakka. I can see how hard this would be to witness in a big city like Shanghai since there is more diversity of Chinese ethnicities and foreigners alike, but this phenomenom has been around forever in the entire world and isn’t likely to disappear soon.

  3. It does seem foreigners are rare. Even in Beijing, the only place I saw foreigners were in diplomatic quarters and somewhat tourist areas. The thing I found most surprising, though, was the reaction of local people to mixed marriage and my daughter. I am fair-haired, blue eyed, and my wife is native of Beijing, Han Chinese. This is very common in Seattle, but seemed to be very remarkable to locals in Beijing. Everywhere we went in pulic, we attracted lots of people who would chatter openly about “how interesting, look at this couple, look at the baby” and so on. We didn’t have that kind of reaction when I have been there alone, but to some degree attracted attention even without my daughter. I didn’t find it rude or disturbing, just interesting. I think the people of Beijing will have a very exciting time when the place is full of foreigners for 2008 Olympics.

  4. Carroll, yes. The point in the article is the real problems they are facing to referring non-white English teachers to China. The article itself does not have any bad intention against China.

    What they described about the difficulty to refer non-white English teachers to China is probably true. As I wrote, a white America with fair-hair and blue eyes is more likely to be accepted as a foreigner in China – just because it is closer to the typical image of a foreigner. The “selling-point” of the English schools is “You have a chance to talk with a foreigner face to face every class”. So, it is relatively easy for the marketing department of the English schools to recruit students. Although being closer to a professional English teacher, or even being native English speaker does not necessarily mean good teaching result in English teaching, students just want to choose such foreigners as their teacher. So don’t think it is discrimination. It is just for this kind of this occupation.

    Yes. Young generations are much more open to differences and are more willing to live and work with foreigners.

  5. Undertree, thanks for give me direct feedback on what situation look like in Guangdong. It is may be true that people with darker skin are regarded as less beautiful/handsome than those with whiter skins. This happens in some small cities.

    Joshua Allen, you comments on being a foreigner with a Chinese wife are so interesting. It is good that you feel it not rude or disturbin. As a matter of fact, the mixed marriage is just too rare in China, compared with other countries.

  6. And I’m sure it’s true that even within a fairly “enlightened” country, different places have different attitudes. Our son and his wife (who was born in Vietnam) are not considered at all unusual as a couple here in California. But, on a visit to Texas one time, they said they felt very uncomfortable walking along the street holding hands because people kept giving them “the stink eye”. They understood of course, that not everyone in Texas feels that way — only that it was something that had really never happened to them anyplace else.

  7. Hi,

    Thanks for bring up this interesting and touchy subject. I just love visiting your site because I never know what to expect in the journals that you post.

    My personal experience in Shanghai the few times I visited is similar to what you described, which is most people don’t have much different behavior towards foreigners. They are certainly curious. When I visited Shanghai back in March, the taxi drivers always asked about my opinion about the Iraqi war. It’s nice to know that people are trying to be informed about the current events.

    But speaking on that topic, I do feel a certain level of anti-American sentiment in China. It’s definitely not a strong one, like the one against Japanese, but it’s there nonetheless. It’s hard for me to say whether that sentiment is warranted, because the news I get is different from the news people in China gets, so depending on which side of the Pacific you’re on, will determine which version of the same story you’ll hear.

    In a recent article in NYT (free regstration required), http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/20/opinion/20KRIS.html , the columnist writes his personal view of the nationalistic views within China. I’ve read many of his articles in the past, including many about China, and I think he tries to represent his personal views based on what he sees and learns. I’m not endorsing his views or anything, but I found them thought provoking, if you’re interested in the topic.

  8. Johnny, you are exactly describing the truth – taxi drivers, if they know little English or your know China, they may ask you about the Iraq war or any major international events involving U.S. They are just curious and want to hear from what the people from “outside” really think of the matter. This kind of personal interaction is not easy, if not possible, for them. I think I have the advantages to read and write English so we can talk about this on the Internet, but they cannot. BTW, I am really impressed by an American student Zhou Le who write very good Chinese at http://www.blogcn.com/user/zhoule/. People are trying to break the language barriers between the two countries.

    For the anti-American, I have to say that it does exist if there is any conflict between the two countries. The recent events that caused such anti-American sentiment include the bombing the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999, and the US Spy Plane and Chinese plane collided in 2001. At that time, American will have very hard time in China, but soon after the event, everything will get back to normal.

    I read the article you suggested. From my point of view as a local, I’d say what the reporter described in his article is very near the truth.

    I feel bad to admit that many young people here in China reacted to 9/11 event very badly. The report in the article is true – they filled the Internet chat rooms with delighted cheers of shuang ?roughly equivalent to “Wow, so cool!”. This is a problem too for the ignorance of people’s lives. I noticed that the reported talked about “a justified anger at Japan’s reluctance to apologize for war atrocities”. I appreciate that an American understands the feeling of common Chinese people for that horrible war. It is very complex to comment the current situation in China regarding nationalism. At least, there are still many people like me who think nationalism is not the right direction. People in two countries need to understand each other and avoid wars as much as possible.

    This is also one of the benifit that I have this website – to tell people from other country the real situation of China and learn what others are thinking of the country….

  9. Hi,

    I am a Canadian citizen recently arrived in Shanghai. I just want to say very quickly that anything you here about discrimination in China is not true. It is not the general rule that Chinese are racist against foreigners. Discrimination, to some extent, is present everywhere in the world. China is no exception I am sure. But I find local people in shanghai extremely nice. My motto is: be nice to people and they will be nice to you.

    Anyway, no time to write more now. But just wanna say to all the foreigners who come here to have an open mind. Of course this country is different from yours. Or else, what would be the point of travelling?…

    Ciao

    Merdy

  10. i am writing in response to the person who says he doesn’t observe any discrimination for foreigners in china.well i am also a graduate from university .it is a bitter fact that the chinese people look down upon blacks.i have observed this during the 5 years that i have been here.in their minds,,the chinese think they are inferior to whites,and have sadly accepted it.they find comfort in seeing a darker face they can also feel superior “someone” in this world.this is the simple truth,there has to be some kind of freedom of speech.lets not mislead people into thinking things are okay and yet the reality is different!

  11. Discrimination is a topic difficult to analyze and often emotional to talk about. One has to distinguish racial discrimination from political (or historical, such as Japan) incompatability, from cultural (including language) misunderstanding, and from lack of exposure (mere curiosity as someone has pointed out). I suspect that some (not all) of cheeky’s observations in China could fall into the last category, their having seen so few blacks and thus showing little understanding. In the U.S. many (not all) Chinese have told me that they feel a “bond” with blacks and tend to be friendly to them because Chinese feel that they themselves have likewise been discriminated against, in China in history and overseas in the recent/present.

    As travel and communication become easier, cultural and regional barriers are gradually disappearing. So tomorrow will be a brighter day. This website should be commanded for doing such a wonderful job in promoting travel and communication.

  12. cheeky, I bet everyone’s oppion is largely affected by the world they see and what happened around him/her. I believe you may see something different from I do. Everyone here is open and try to be as objective as possible, but no one can really be 100% objective. Regarding emotional things like discrimination, it is more as a feeling than as a fact. I think bigbro’s explaination is close to the truth. People in China, especially those who has never step out of the country or his/her own city, are courious about foreigners. They are curious about people who looks in a Asian face but speaks foreigner language (or strange Chinese). They are more curious to people with white skin and golden hair. Black people are relatively more rare to see in China. I hope what you see is because of curiousity instead of discrimination. The majority of people here are still very friendly, at least from what I see with my own eyes

  13. cheeky,

    Since you are a university gradute, perhaps you should take a course in sociology and it may change your view.

    Discrimination is the perception by the others caused by language, culture and folkway. When you cannot communicate by the people around you, often you will think being discriminated.

    I am a minority in my community and I never feel being discriminated by the others due to my race, the main reason is I am able to subculture into the melting pot, of course, failure to do so will result you being left alone, and being alone is being discriminated.

    Stephen

  14. stephen,

    answer this question for me then.

    why is it that job ads (teaching english that is)here in china usually state and i quote “we need only WHITE teachers from america,canada etc”.AREN’T THERE BLACK CITIZENS IN THOSE COUNTRIES? AND YOU SAY THERE IS NO DISCRIMINATION? what makes a white person from the us any better than a black person from the same country?

    p/s i have not been impolite to you in any way so please next time don’t tell me to study sociology or anything like that.let’s maintain some level of respect.i’d apprecite that.thanx

  15. cheeky, let me try to explain the words there. I GUESS, please note, I am guessing, that by stating WHITE teachers, they want to find someone who really looks like a foreigner. I definitely think it is not appreciate to state it this way – to group people by the color of their skins. What I am trying to do is to clarify the story behinds the word so misunderstanding does not go futher.

    In China, many people pay to learn English, for different levels. Most people pay about 300 – 1000 RMB to learn local English classes. They are taught by local teachers. I guess it is an effective way since people can communicate easier – if there is anything the student cannot understand, the teacher can explain in Chinese, so everyone understand.

    However, more and more people think to find some native speakers – those who are from U.S., Canada or other English speaking countries to teach then English. As the salary of foreign people living in Shanghai is much higher than local people – it is how the world works, they pay much higher – sometimes more than 100 RMB for one hour. I don’t think it is definitely 5 – 10 times more effective than local English teachers do, people just want to find some way to learn the exact prounicating and even some slangs.

    Having that in mind, you may understand why the language school asked for “WHITE people” to teach. I GUESS (note again, I am guessing) that they are saying: we don’t what some one who looks like local teachers – black hair, yellow skin…. As you can see, many people who come back to China has some Chinese origins, so called ABC (American Born Chinese). If they come to teach, I don’t think there is even the slightest difference, in general, with the white people, but it makes very much difference for students who pays 5-10 times higher than local school to see a teacher that LOOKS similiar with local teacher.

    cheeky, you know what, this is my first reaction to this job posting. I never connect this job posting with black people. I GUESS the people who write the poster didn’t realized that they left black people outside the door.

    Again, I don’t think it is proper to state it that way. However, please understand this MAY mean any offense to black people. We are here to be a bridge to connect different culture, aren’t we? So let’s try to understand strange things like this from more perspective together.

  16. The ad that cheeky mentioned (if verbatim) is racially discriminating every way you slice it. And it is WRONG. I don’t think there can be any excuse for it.

    As Jian Shuo correctly pointed out, it likely meant non-Chinese from America, Canada, etc. If so, it is an unjust discrimination against ABC or other American born Asians.

    There is also a small chance that the ad purposely meant to exclude black faces or black accents. There is no excuse for doing such an evil thing.

    There is also a larger chance that the Chinese person who worded the ad is so ignorant that he/she thinks Americans other than ABCs are all white. Ignorance should not be an excuse for discrimination, though.

    Chinese should learn to respect recial coexistence. If any Chinese reader of this blog one day meets a task of writing an ad or any other publication like this, I hope you have learnt from this thread so as to choose your words (and acts) carefully. You may say why should I worry. Well, 害人必害己, those who discriminate will be discriminated against some day.

  17. cheeky,

    In reply to your comment, I never realized an ad of such insensitive can be posted in Shanghai, would suggest you take this complaint to the local government as it constitutes discrimination not only to colour people, but Chinese also included.

    I studied socialogy parallel with my academic courses, I found it illustrated the true intercourse of human races. cheeky, with due respect, I don’t mean to be sarcastic.

    Stephen

  18. well,i wish that something could be done concerning the job qualifications.i have made a follow up and i discovered that the employment laws in china do not protect minorities or any sort of discrimination.in fact , employers are free to discriminate in any way they wish,even weight! i had taken it for granted that since china had joined the WTO certain laws would have changed by now but i made the wrong assumption.

    for those who may not believe what i said earlier on,you can check out this website and see it for yourself.www.thatsshanghai.com (classified,jobs)

  19. Cheeky, well, I have to say, you are asking for a very high standard in China. It is true that there is no law against posting such ads, but I’d say, it is not fare for a foreigner to step food on this land and point the figure to something they don’t think right. Sorry that I tend to be a little bit defensive, which I seldom am, but I just want people to be fair with a country that is different. The travel itself can help to learn to the world as it is, not to complain about the difference. Again, don’t misunderstand me. I support to have such laws soon, but for a country with so complicated history, and tradition, things are not that easy.

  20. for those who thinks there is no racism or any kind of discrimination.

    want u to read this.it is very interesting.

    African-Americans

    This message goes out to African-Americans, Canadian-Americans and any person with African Ancestry. For the past six weeks, I’ve dilgently tried to get an English teaching job in Korea or China. I’ve had no luck because many of the schools in China and Korea do not hire qualified African-American teachers. Several agencies in Canada that recruit teachers for the schools in Korea and China told me (after reviewing my photo) that they find it difficult to find African-Americans and African-Canadians teaching positions because their clients refuse to hire them. That is why the websites that have online applications ask for a photo of you before they hire you because they want to make sure you are not black, or dark skinned. I know this for a fact because I put my theory to the test. When I applied for a teaching position as an African-American and checked my race as black, I was never contacted regarding a teaching position. When I went to the same website (HBS Consulting) and applied as an White person I was contacted regarding a teaching position in Korea. I was contacted exactly 5 minutes after I applied as a African-American applicant. Keep in mind that I did this with a few of my white college friends so we were able to use different email address. To prove my theory further, I applied on the HBS Consulting website as a white person a second time and again I was contacted regarding a teaching position in Korea. When I applied the second time as an black person, I was not contacted regarding a teaching position.

    For the record, I and my white friends from college do have the minimum requirements to teach.

    Bachelor’s Degree

    Professional Working Experience

    Passport

    MY ADVICE TO ALL BLACK APPLICANTS AND ANY PERSON OF COLOR, ARABS, EAST INDIANS, NATIVE AMERICANS WHOEVER, KOREANS AND CHINESE DO NOT HIRE QUALIFED PEOPLE OF COLOR. IT WAS A PROFOUND EXPERIENCE. AN EXPERIENCE THAT MADE ME THINK ABOUT WHAT OUR ANCESSTORS WENT THROUGH BAKE IN THE DAYS OF SLAVERY AND JIM CROW LAWS OF THE SOUTH AND COVERT RACISM IN THE NORTH, BEFORE THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. TO ACTUALLY BE TURNED DOWN BECAUSE OF THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN IS A VERY HUMILIATING EXPERIENCE. I HAVE REPORTED THIS TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND MY LOCAL U.S. CONGRESSMAN AND HOPEFULLY SOMETHING WILL BE DONE. IN THE MEANTIME MY PEOPLE OF COLOR, KEEP FIGHTING AND STAY STRONG!!!!

    Ken_Rus@msn.com

    Posted: October 2, 2003

    * This comment was edited by Jian Shuo Wang on Nov 26, 2004

  21. 6. Encountering discrimination as an Asian American in China

    5. Imagining what China’s social evolution might feel like firsthand

    4. DVDs, free enterprise and that intellectual property rights thing

    3. Tale of two cities: Brief glimpses of high-rise luxury; boxers in the neighborhood street

    2. Demolishing neighborhoods, a never-ending conversation, and the march of “progress”

    1. Networking, crazy weather, and mediation in action in Beijing

    About the project

    About the writer

    Resolving disputes in a rapidly transforming society

    China is a homogenous society, and thus imagines that real Americans are blond and blue-eyed. (Connie photos)

    Encountering discrimination as an Asian American in China

    Editor’s note: We apologize for any offense caused by this dispatch’s previous title, which was not written by the author.

    By Connie | Dispatch 6

    BEIJING – Playing the Chinese American role in China is hard. Every time I come to China, I always find myself struggling to justify to the locals that although I am ethnically Chinese, I am also American. To the locals, I am just Chinese – not American.

    When my Mandarin fails me, my Chinese counterpart usually figures that I am either Korean or Japanese, but never an American. Even when I nudge him or her a little and say, “No, no, I am from a country that speaks English, so I am fromÂ…?” Their immediate answer is “Singapore!” I guess it is hard it is to believe that a Chinese-looking, English-speaking girl is from America.

    Why does this happen? The Chinese have a very particular idea of who is considered an American. To the average Chinese, an American is blonde and blue-eyed, as seen in the movies. As a homogenous society, most Chinese are not too responsive to the fact that America is a nation of immigrants, a melting pot of various cultures and ethnicities. Hybrid identities such as African American, Spanish American, and Asian American don’t seem to ring a strong bell in the many locals I have met. Rather, our skin color is the single identity marker determining who we are. So in the eyes of many Chinese people, white Americans are the only authentic Americans.

    This mentality unfortunately makes it hard to be an Asian American in China sometimes, particularly when racial preferences get in the way. For those ABCs [American-born Chinese] out there, you know what I am talking about. Many of us “bananas” have encountered this prejudice in China, especially when we try to teach English in Chinese schools.

    Our Asian faces immediately make our English skills suspect, which leads to quick denials of employment simply because of the way we look. We are often questioned by suspicious employers about whether we speak fluent English, how long we have been in the United States, how well we know English grammar, and even whether we are really Americans. Even after passing such an interrogation, we are usually denied the teaching position. Our credentials often mean very little when it comes to hiring foreigners to teach English. My Asian friends in the English-teaching market describe themselves as second rate, hired only to fill in gaps. And now that Chinese schools require each applicant to send in a picture, the first wave of weeding out the “inauthentic” English speakers will be made much easier. As expected, we ABCs or almost-ABCs are among the first ones to go.

    This ‘fragrant hills park’ in Beijing is a tranquil place to think.

    Recently, I browsed through the Internet and came across many complaints like this one and this one posted by Americans of color on this matter. Stories included people receiving lower pay than white Americans while doing more work, and a Stanford person with good teaching credentials who was bluntly turned away by an employer that said they don’t hire Chinese-looking English teachers.

    I find it sad that despite the Chinese frenzy of learning American English, many Chinese people are missing the crucial point that this “American English” is made of and spoken by Americans of various colors and ethnicities.

    My Asian American friends who have all dealt with this call it flat-out racism. I agree; even though the word “racism” may not be the best choice, what I have encountered definitely amounts to racial preferences. I am offended when I am questioned about my ability to tutor oral English. Like many of my friends in the English teaching market, I am also insulted when I am considered less able to teach American English just because I look Chinese. And like many of my friends, I get angry when I know that I am being treated differently than a white American standing next to me primarily because of the color of my skin. Isn’t it bad enough that Asians face discrimination in the United States without having also to face discrimination from our own ethnic people?

    The English teaching sector gives only a small snippet of China’s racism. The reality actually seeps much deeper. I have noticed the difference in treatment between an average Chinese and a foreigner, particularly a westerner. When I go out with a Caucasian friend, the difference is subtle but noticeable. Services are better, cars slow down a little more often at the crossroads, and attitudes are friendlier. But these upgraded services are directed toward my more foreign-looking friend than toward me. My Chinese American friends have discovered that obtaining train tickets at the ticket booth during peak season is easier if you bring along Caucasian friends: the “waibing” or “foreign guests,” usually seem to get the upper class treatment.

    Since I look Chinese, I usually get the “regular service,” which can be very dry and rude, to say the very least. But attitudes improve quite obviously when I reveal my American identity.

    Discrimination also runs deep between urbanites and migrant workers. Migrant workers in Beijing have already been desensitized by the discrimination they face in their daily life. Their peasant status makes them the bottom of urban society, the very last rung of the social ladder on which everyone steps to climb up. As the most vulnerable group in large cities like Beijing, migrant workers are looked down upon, ignored, and taken advantage of by their urbanite counterparts.

    I am saddened by the racism that exists in China, one brought on by the masses and directed toward the masses. I am disturbed by the infectious discrimination that dwells in the hearts of many people I encounter every day in Beijing. The quality of services delivered to a local Chinese is often lower than it is for a foreigner, whether it is administrative services or just the treatment by the average cashier at a store. I can only shake my head when I see that a Chinese national has been devalued in the face of a foreign guest.

    Why does this happen? One can cite the economic reason and say that foreigners are considered wealthier, so better service means higher monetary compensation. But it’s not that simple. One could also say that people in the service sector are trained to make a good impression on foreign guests. But wouldn’t showing similar kindness toward your own people make a stronger impression? Wouldn’t giving your own people the same respect as you do foreign guests increase the dignity of the Chinese people as a whole?

    Sometimes I just don’t get it. The sense of nationalism is extremely high here; snippets of high praise for the nation’s ethnic pride float all over the place. Yet, out in the streets of Beijing, the nation’s capital, racism and discrimination scar the pride of the people.

    Connie

    * This post was modified by Jian Shuo Wang on Nov 26, 2004

  22. This is so saddening. I’m an ABC that’s looking for work in Beijing at the moment and all I come across is same thing that the author above wrote about. I’ve kept correspondence with an ABC ESL teacher who has told me to stay away from all major cities. The chances of me finding a job are slim. Connie said it best, “Isn’t it bad enough that Asians face discrimination in the United States without having also to face discrimination from our own ethnic people?”.

  23. everybody,let me say it loud and clear.DISCRIMINATION DOES EXIST IN CHINA.Ofcourse it is difficult to see if you are white espacially american or western european.i have read all the articles here and many other similar to these.it is clear that those that feel the existance of discrimination are NOT WHITE.white people are semi-gods in china.they wont see any discrimination!?.i just wish jian shuo wang would be less defensive and address the matter as it is.like many ‘bad’ things,for lack of a better word,going on here in china , they are ususally hidden from the public and only exposed when it reaches a critical state.these articles may help someone somewhere,who is not white and wud like to work in china.they should know the truth beforehand,instead of finding out the hard way.

  24. Connie- I’d say white people face even more discrimination in China. Sure we can be English teachers, but being white is a disadvantage for a lot of other jobs… no matter how good our Chinese is. Furthermore, many Chinese will just try to use English with white people, regardless if those white people can speak Chinese or not, and regardless if they can speak Mandarin or not. I’m honestly telling you if I could look asian, I would.

    A lot of your complaints are about being treated like a “normal Chinese person”. I’d love to be treated that way. It would be great to not be stared at, or have people ask my girlfriend why she “picked a foreigner”.

    If people treat you normally, then just improve your Mandarin. Once you speak well enough you can fit into society, get a normal job, and “not be judged by the color of your skin but by the content of your character” just as MLK would have liked it.

  25. Let start by saying I have been to China,Shanghai and Nanjing.People are so friendly.

    I am married to a Chinese wife in Shanghai.

    She is the most beautiful and sweet Chinese woman.

    I am an American husband, and I just love the Chinese people. They are such nice people.

    Now my question is this:

    I am thinking about moving to Shanghai.

    With a permanent resident D Visa.

    Could tell me any problems I will encounter,

    I read a little on the China embassy webpage it tell me how to get it but that all.

    Does a permanent resident American have to give up his or her US citizenship to live in Shanghai.

    Or if you could tell where to find this information.

    Also how does an American Find a job in Shanghai.

    I thank you for your responce.

    Fred Lane USA

  26. You can teach English. Won’t pay much, but you can get by. I heard housing are very expansive. If your wife and you have a place to stay you should be Okay. I don’t believe you have to give up your own citizenship, that’s the whole point of having a green card system. But if one day you want to become a citizen of China I think you would have to give up your U.S. Citizenship. The good thing is US don’t care if you have citizenship from another country. As long as you return to US soil at least once every 8 years you can retain your US citizenship

  27. Hi, I am the author of the piece, “Encountering Discrimination as an Asian American in China.” Can the person in charge of this website please contact me?

    Thanks

  28. I think some shanghainese have kinda discrimination against Indians.

    For instance, they always call them “a san”.

    And about your last paragraph, i guess a lot of shanghainese do not dislike Japanese.

    More than 3 local young man told me that the pronunciation of Japanese and the Shanghai Dialect are more or less the same, and they are proud of it.

  29. I’m agree with you Ken,this chinese people i dont know what’s wrong with them,they can see you, watching you,the way they will set their eyes on you look like you are not human being.but its not their fault, they have to travelled ,most them does’nt have any experiance. likewise ken I applied for a teaching position as an African-American and checked my race as black, I was never contacted regarding a teaching position. When I went to the same website as ken did and applied as an White person I was contacted regarding a teaching position in China. I was contacted exactly 10 minutes after I applied as a African-American applicant. Keep in mind that I did this with a few of my white american friend in Beijing so we were able to use different email address. To prove my theory further, I applied on the HBS Consulting website as a white person a second time and i was accepted.they dont regarded Japanese and other people, but we were all created by one living God,chinese students and citizens please go to abroad and lean more and change into a new leaf.

  30. fuck chinese and all racist guys, we’re all human beings, then I think we have to be like bro, and don’t make any differences of colors or whatever!

    I said,if u are angry go and die!

  31. hey, people! I just want everyone to calm down. I post the post to explain that some thing like staring at people is just a difference in culture instead of discrimination. Please calm down and understand the difference. It is equally wrong to expect the local people behave exactly as people in your own country as to expect people coming to this country to behave as local people. The goal of this site is exactly help to bridge the gap and help people to communicate and remove the misunderstanding – only by communication can we remove the barrier which I admit exists.

  32. intresting topic!just take it easy. coz discrimination exists everywhere. dont take it that seriously…life is simple…

  33. interesting topic! take it easy, people! coz discrimination exists everywhere. but, i do believe that the majority of Chinese people are friendly to all foreigners!

  34. hey mates…I have been in China teaching English.China welcomes foreigners and respects them.We should not blame the whole nation for few cases of discrimination.I believe ,sometimes my black friends(I am also black anyway) get offended when a bunch of pretty chinese girls suddenly see them in the sterrt and emit a spontaneous”aayo”(I am sure for disgust and rejection)..Just think they are not aware of multiculture things.Thats also tru that it’s hard to find teaching positon for blacks here .Just laugh out on this attitude.There is no solution to this problem until Chinese become aware of al the colors and respect them equally.I have nice friends here but I am not as favorite as my other white colleagues……Thats something amazing for me that every chinses likes basketball game and they are fans of all the black super stars.Like Jordan…..

    Another thing I observed here is living under surveillance.Visitors have to sign in and sign out if they come to u .There r guesthouses in almost every university.They do mind girls visiting u,no matter u have no romantic relations or what.Thats strange.Above all they shut the gate at 10 o clock at night and you have to stand out ,pushing door bell .This results in some chinese slangs from the gate keeper when he comes to open that.I mean we are enjoying in china under surveillance.–hahahaha..Funny again.I would touch upon few more topics later which I observe here.Catch ya later–Contact me at…Ryan_209@hotmail.com

    Love to all

    Ryan.

  35. Well, there is one common form of discrimination in China: Price discrimination. For example, if you can’t speak native Shanghai dialect in some of the markets that I have been to in Shanghai, you will certainly be given a higher price.

  36. I have read this interesting discussion. I am african, and have been living in China for seven years now. I came to the conclusion that, although Chinese people are racists, you can’t really blame them for that, because THEY DON’T KNOW they are. For them it is quite normal to place an ad stating that only white people would be considered. China has been closed for a long time, they haven’t experienced some things that other countries went through. Also, another problem is, it seems religion has been replaced by money now here, so the market dictates everything. If parents will pay more to have whites teach their kids, the school managers won’t do anything to change their minds, it is not their job after all, they will look for white teachers. That’s quite simple and straightforward.

    Teaching is just the visible part of the huge iceberg. But as long as we are in China, we have to deal with it. Otherwise find another place to go. I am sure that with some good will and a small dose of smartness, one can find its way in China regardless of his color or background.

    I have a created a forum, http://www.afroshanghai.com, where africans all over China meet, and we also interact with Chinese friends, I believe through communication, as it is on this very website, we can help bridge the differences. Who knows, in ten or twenty years time, things would not be the same as it is today.

    Peace to all of you.

    Patrick

  37. Hey dude, very often I get comments from people from other parts China saying things like “Shanghainese think so highly of themselves that they believe they are “developed” unlike other parts of china” (dismissing cities like Beijing, Shenzhen, Hong Kong altogther)…and apparently they are so disillusioned that they believe Shanghai is the best and most developed city in the world far surpassing cities like Tokyo or New York etc. I wanna have your opinion on this.

    I am not from China and have never been to China. I might be wrong but I believe China to be under-developed (understanding that it is developing but in no way close to what we would alknowledged to be “developed”). My boyriend was born in Shanghai but left the country when he was little. He too is of the opinon that Shanghai is developed and rich (probably world riches) and looks down on everyone who is not of the “Shanghainese stock” including Amrican, Europeans and other Asians. Not surprisingly he looks down on other Chinese!

    I am very fed up with such nonsense and short-sightedness of people from Shanghai and would like to hear some honest opinon. I am anti-racist and frown upon the ethno-centrism of foreigners in China but am shock and disgusted to know that the ruth is the other way round!!

    Please shed some light on this silly ignorant from Shanghainese!!

    Elaine

  38. I’m Black American and I’ve been teaching English in Japan for (3) years. I work for a Japanese company and teach English for the Public schools.

    I’ve dated quite a few Japanese girls, and the girls like Black American men and our culture.

    I’m 192.5cm tall, and Japanese girls aren’t scared to date me despite my large size and height.

    Japanese girls are strong women and very talented, perhaps because “Black Americans” have had a (90) year History of dealing with Japanese people.

    Black, light brown, and yellow skin in Japan is considered beautiful, not pale white skin. Japanese do not hate their beautiful dark, light brown and yellow skin, such as the Chinese do there self.

    I don’t understand why the Chinese people have so many racist views against Black people, we didn’t murder and oppress Chinese people like the British.

    I never heard of any history of Black people killing millions of Chinese, and raping there country of spoils and richest, such as the British did.

    I don’t recommend any “Black American” or “Black” skinned person to go to China to teach English or even sight see China.

    The only History China has is Cacasian oppression, such as the “Boxer Revolution”, where Cacasians killed Chinese by millions.

    The British got them Chinese on drugs, making them a bunch of drug addicts, not Blacks.

    The Chinese mind has been broken by there White slave masters to the point of hating there self and looking for some Black person to blame there sufferring on.

    I request all Blacks not to go to China to even give them the benifit of looking to blame someone for there oppression and failures.

    These Chinese have no dignity, sorry, I’m Black American and proud, and no one will break my mind.

    I’m proud to be Black, not White.

  39. The discrimination against blacks in China is strong, and Shanghai is no exception – Shanghainese pride themselves on being better educated than waidiren, but in fact they just use this as an excuse to look down on non-Shanghainese while still displaying uneducated behavior. Yes, thats a sweeping generalization, but I feel its more appropriate than saying that most people are tolerant of black foreigners. I worked in Shanghai for two years, living one year in Pudong and one year in Puxi. I also studied Chinese for one semester at a university in Puxi. Though many people were very nice to me, and my overall feelings about China are positive, I eventually left and would not return to live, only to visit.

    I am not naieve, and I do not mistake curious stares and pointing for racism. I don’t even think these things indicate dislike. I mean the rude comments I heard, and the disgusting generalizations people made about me and any Chinese woman I happened to be with. Understanding Putonghua allowed me to hear some of the extremely crude comments, along with the garden variety ignorant or mildly rude statements about my skin color, cleanliness, reason for being in China, etc.

    I don’t expect such a homogenous society – and one with a generally poor level of education about matters beyond their shore – to be very open. Still, the level of xenophobia and nationalism that allows many Chinese to say that China is such an open and friendly place to foreigners who AREN”T white, is a lie, one intended to promote China at the expense of anything approaching the truth.

    China is definitely opening up and improving in terms of certain areas, but I feel that as far as matters of race, they look down upon blacks, SE Asians, Indians, and other’s with darker skin, and they express their disdain openly, though not violently.

    I suggest those who doubt the pervasive level of racism search the ‘net for info about the Nanjing protests of 89, where thousands of students took to the streets to protest the presence of black African students.

    China wants to open up and participate in the world? Fine. The rest of the world looks a lot different than they hoped it would it seems, and the world – and people like me – aren’t going to disappear, so I would think the onus is on China to own up to its many faults and began to go through what much of the rest of the world started long ago, which is figuring out how to be civil and fair. Certainly no one asks for perfect, but I as a typical black American still feel angry and hurt by the casual cruelty I dealt with in Shanghai, and I am a well-travelled man, not easily bruised.

    Since my business involves trips to China, I hope that in a few years, during my next extended stay, I see results, because China is only developing economically, not socially.

    Sorry to rain on the parade of those who think that because Chinese fawn over white foreigners that its such a groovy place, I hope that you never have to experience such disdain.

  40. Hi Jianshuo,

    you are totally wrong in saying that chinese are not racist. In fact, I would say that they are probably the most racist people in the word after the French and English (a century ago)

    I have NEVER been to china but the sole impression of how chinese (i mean chinese as in china people, not ABCs or anyone with chinese blood but ppl from PRC) stereotypes non-chinese people really turns me off. I espcially hate shanghainese who seems to think of themselves as a different race to the “normal” chinese by insisting that they are from shanghai instead of just refering to themselves as “chinese”. *Pardon me if I sound overwhelmed with emotions and anger because I am…

    Shanghai chinese discriminate other chinese and the North east chinese discrimate anyone not chinese. they call indias “ah-san” and say they are smelly, “black” and stupid which is totally ridiculous coz my best fren is of Indian ancestry but she tops my cohort in the medical school and there are others who are black who have made it good. Again, they failed to understand that Whites bathe just as the chinese do, so its false to assume that white people don’t bathe. all these stereotypes makes me think china is far more backwards than what it seems to be economically and i get abolutely disgusted when told i am chinese.

    I dont know what is wrong with the cheenas..(see..you get upset too when u get called names so why do the chinese call people of other races name…) that when they see asian faces they assume these rae all chinese. I am from singapore and have been told i am chinese. I had a really rude china lady trying to explain to my frens that “she is chinese but she don’t admits me in frongt of me..i nearly wanted to scream the F word at her) I realiksed that americans in china dont get that treatment. They would call amricans americans and not say they are english, german whatever right? I am totally disgusted.

    When I tried to explain that I am half european by ancestry and half asian they asked me where my mom/ dad is from. When i reply that both my parents are mixed that that my family has been in singapore (even when it was called temesak) for 15 generations, they said “no way” and assumed i am lying..what rubbish. They think peopl of mixed ancestry are disgusting and have no respect whatsoever for people who are mixed blood. I get even angrier to know that Michelle Saram is consider half chinese and half indian in china. (both her parents are singaporeans) and the same goes for lee-ann, fiona, and a lot of famous mixed models. heaps of them have Malaysian, Singaporean linegae because it is such a multi-cultural country due to colonisation and also inter-asian immigration even before the europeans set foot in south east asia. TELL ME, HOW CAN I NOT BE OFFENDED AND PISSED OFF??????????????????

    Each time i interact with a chinese, i feel striped of my national and ancestry identity…for a PRC, I am not a French, not a Dutch, not a Portugese, not Malayan, not Javanese, not Singaporean but only a chinese. Then when they see my brother who looks more “non-chinese” than me, they assumed my mom remarried and he is my half-brother…

    I hate china now…and i have enough reason to believe this is F-up piece of land.

  41. my advice for the mixed couples in china, please do not let your chinese grow up in china because she/he would lose the other part of their identity….

  42. Just a follow up on this topid because I think I went off the track…

    Like Connie, I have been assumed to speak English as a second language even though I am from Singapore and its my first language..a language that I speak daily at home. Why? Because I look distinctively more chinese. Than when PRC people see my brother, they would immediately assume he is a better English speaker than me because he looks more “european”. WTF…didnt it occur to anyone that this is my brother who shares the same parents as I do, who grows up with me in the same household and who has received the same education as me??

    I am dead sure there is discrimination in china just from how overseas chinese behaves..surely the problem in china has to be more serious than what it is overseas in australia (where i am living at the moment)

  43. Mistakes

    **my advice for the mixed couples in china, please do not let your CHILDREN grow up in china because she/he would lose the other part of their identity….

    PS: I realised that I have a lot of typos in my posting because I was typing at lighting speed and didnt proof-read them before posting. I apologise for the other mistakes but I thought this is the most serious one of all because “children” is a keyword in this post.

    Bye

    Elaine

  44. China is “eating” everything and everyone.

    From history we know that everything what gets into this region becomes assimilated.

    Speaking of children, I agree no more. I have a mixed child and I speak my language to him. But in this environment, with all the attention he gets from anyone, everyone, everywhere, it becomes more difficult for him to be motivated to speak my language. Sometimes, I pretend that I don’t understand what he answers to me in Chinese. If we rase him in Shanghai, he will only speak Chinese, maybe also Shanghainese, it’s very hard to motivate him lern my language. Why? Everyone around speaks Mandarin..

  45. Jack, I don’t know where you are from but I would suggest you to bring up your child in another country coz this place is damn racist. Do you know they called people of mixed ancestry “za-zong” which translate into bastard? Traditionally, the word “bastard” is used only on a person who don’t know who fathered him/ her.

    Give your child the right to choose his/ her own identity. The chinese won’t allow your child to be anything other than “true chinese” who praise the government, who love PRC, who believe in the “golden laws” set by the central government…these people are seriously brainwashed. Let your child be free.

    PS; No race in this world is inferior or superior to another race and even if there is such a class difference, I say the CHINESE are INFERIOR….well you can’t blame me for saying that as revenge…i am angry…

  46. Dear Elaine,

    In your case, I don’t understand myself how you think Chinese people are being racist towards you if you look Chinese to them? China is a homogenous nation, what do you expect? It’s not like people have different nations written all over their face. Besides how many times have you heard all asians look alike? How does that in itself equate to racism?

    Infact, as a Chinese American myself, I’ve found just about every East Asian in USA will off the bat assume you are one of their own, just based upon looks. Koreans always start speaking korean to me, and Japanese speak Japanese to me. Funny thing is, it’s the Chinese disapora who don’t make assumptions and will use english first. So right there, it shows me the difference between China and overseas Chinese is that the latter are used to A LOT more diversity in the outside world which influences their perceptions (bear in mind, confusions are taken in consideration when not in a Chinatown/Koreatown/Japantown where it would be obvious to assume).

    Another analogy would be the many African Americans in USA, who have white ancestry, are still regarded as blacks even amongst themselves. If they look black, they seem to identify themselves as such. That’s not racism itself, is it?

  47. Correction: China is not truly homogenous, but since majority of it natives are Han Chinese in the big cities, we’ll make a lumpsum generalization.

    To Jack,

    Why shouldn’t your son be speaking Mandarin if he is growing up in China and half Chinese to boot? That’s a right he should have. What’s not right are the Chinese in other people’s countries who grow up and conveniently can’t even speak Chinese. You want to talk about racism? No matter how many generations a Chinese person has been in America, they will still get asked, “do you speak english”? I think even to a lot of white people in America, they have an image of an true American as a blond haired, blue eyed California surfer girl/guy. Define the original term, “all american girl/guy”! And this is supposed to be the melting pot of the world, so please don’t judge China too harshly.

  48. Jack,

    you can conveniently dismiss my views because you are clearly chinese but it is insulting to me because I am Singaporean and I see myself as a Singaporean only. I have no relatives in China, I know nothing about china, my whole family has been here since the 17th century and unknown to the Chinese ppl in china, WE have our own beliefs and lifestyle which China ASSUME to be similar to theirs. Next we are a multi-racial country unlike china yet I hate the chinky coming up to me and call my fellow countrymen “foreigners” whilst they are the REAL foreigner on our soil. How dare the chinks??

    Like I have mentioned, I am part French, part Portugese, part Dutch, part Taiwanese, part Javanese, part Malay and none of the other “race” do that to me except the chinks….I donno how you see it but i take it as an insult when they try to rob me of my REAL identity as a Singaporean and a Eurasian (racially)…and a SE asian (geographically).

    China ppl are just rude…

    PS: I understand that not all chinese are like that but unfortunately most china people are…mainly because of their lack of civilisation and exposure to the rest of the world. Their education system has a big part to play in this

  49. Hey stop talking about discrimination! Racism do exist everywhere, not just in China. In USA, Canada, lot of racism peoples so stop comparing. Even NY is plenty of racist people. A lot of black and white people are racist against chinese. So why some chinese people couldn’t dislike them? White people in China are considered like god in China, chinese people are not enough good? Presently the world is consuming more than 50% of the product mading in China. BTW I am ABC and have never been discriminate when I go to China. So for those ignorant people that consider China like a poor country without never went it themself, just shut up.

    To Elaine: Chinese people are not inferior and YOU are not superior! You just prouved youself that you are racist.

    If you guys don’t believe me, go to Jappan a completly racism country. They are even racism against white people. If you are white and you go to the restaurant, they don’t serve you. If you go to the hairdresser, they will not cut your hair. If you want to take the bus, they won’t let you enter. BTW Japan people likes far skin, never heard the opposite.

  50. Hi Daniel,

    I do pity you that you have NO REAL IDENTITY to call your own. I dont understand why you would call yourself an “ABC” when it is a term used by others to degrade people like you? To me, you are either American or chinese…..so what are you? Dont tell me you are both. Or maybe you need more time to figure that out?

    God bless

    Elaine

  51. Hi,

    I was wondering, I’ve been to Hong Kong and Macau, and well I think these parts of China doesn’t seem to be very racist. Although they tend to be more rude and direct than Singaporeans, but its not based on discrimination.

    Can anyone do a comparison of the degree of discrimination in Shanghai and Hong Kong for Southeast Asians like Filipinos. I know that there is more travel between HK and Manila than with Shanghai and Manila, and for many filipinos HK is the more familiar city than Shanghai.

    This would give me an idea on which is a more ideal city in terms of having a more open society. But in fairness to Singapore, being largely Chinese, they are quite open to foreigners, including Southeast Asians.

    Thanks,

    Migo

  52. [A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.]

    Monday, August 28, 2006

    Now here’s another lunatic. Here’s a mouth-frother, here’s a bigot, here’s a stiff-necked buffoon who, in one ranting article, shows all that is wrong, footling and absurd about modern China.

    This man is a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. A professor! In this is shown so much that is wrong about today’s China. A country’s educational system should be home the best and brightest, to those who can think, weigh, balance, judge. And instead what does poor China get? Knee-jerk nationalists like this, myopic, thoughtless, a crass dolt who thinks like a sheep, rages like a hyena, and is impotent like a mule. Ah, Zhang, proud Zhang, dressed in a little brief authority, like an angry ape.

    And – astonishment piles on astonishment – he is a professor of psychology! A man who should have some insight into the shades and ways of thought, the grades and colors of morality, comes out instead with such an article! Every word of it in a nail in the coffin of his credibility.

    Yet this is what passes for the educated in China. This is the caliber of person China has in its most prestigious institutes. What hope can there be for China when people like this educate its young? How can the country ever take its rightful place among the leaders of the world when this is the standard of its thinkers?

    I hold my head in my hands as I read his article. I had hoped China was moving beyond such folly; but as I read and re-read what he writes I see how strong the path to failure is, how compelling. If China cannot get past its Zhang Jiehais, what hope?

    Look at this man, look, listen, listen and see what modern China can be.

    Today, with tremendous anger, I will tell you the story of an immoral foreigner and I call upon all Chinese compatriots to get together and kick this immoral foreigner out of China.

    Ah, the pomposity of his tone, the bluster, the arrogance. Yet this is a common thing in China, the group mind, the `all Chinese compatriots’ stance, the suggestion that to be foreign is to be inferior. And then too the safety in numbers stance, the righteous indignation of the crowd. Zhang Jiehai (and he is not alone in this stance) can only see the world in one way; he expects everyone to see like him, think like him. He cannot understand that others might have differing views, cannot see anything but black and white.

    And so on he goes:-

    This is intolerable and this piece of garbage must be found and kicked out of China!!!

    This also is another common knee-jerk phrase that most expats in China will know well. China for the Chinese. We are one. We are us. You are you. You are here only as long as it pleases us.

    This is mere variation on the chime most expats will know well, the by-rote patter they hear when they have any complaint about the country — ‘If you don’t like China, go home!’

    Once, he was even shameless enough to say, “I ‘m tired of her already. A cunt is a cunt. I keep her just so that I can play with her again.”

    Which is perfectly true. I did say that. I am not proud of it, but nor will I lie about it. And I hardly think it is a rare attitude. I am sure many guys – and women too – have slept with a person they care nothing much for merely for the pleasure.

    This piece of garbage’s favorite show is to use obscene and pornographic language to describe the bodies of Chinese women and how they made love. For example, “My dearest Tingting, you have a very good and beautiful body. I cannot stop thinking about your beautiful skin, your lovely, smooth and soft breasts, you sexy, smooth and fine waist, your sweet and pretty legs and arms … oh, of course, you are so pretty, so sexy and so perfect between your legs!”

    Obscene and pornographic? To tell a woman how wonderful she is? The crashing irony of this, that after lecturing me for being dismissive of the average Chinese guy’s romantic skills he shows how few he has, escapes him. To tell a woman she is pretty and sexy is obscene?

    While in general Zhang Jiehai reports what I said accurately, I must take issue with his claim that I wrote Chinese men are ‘incredibly ugly.’ It is possible that he merely misunderstood me – for sure he is no thinker, no reader – but I never said anything remotely similar to this.

    But what makes it intolerable for me is that this piece of garbage deliberately hurt the feelings of the Chinese national feelings in his class and he openly spoke to divide China.

    And there it is again; the inability to conceive that other people might think in other ways. Ah, no such uncertainly for Zhang Jiehai, no; to him all Chinese people think the same, feel the same, are the same. Sure, when I say `Chinese guys are..’ I am `a piece of garbage’; but when he says `Chinese national feelings’ he is nothing but justified, insightful and correct.

    As everybody knows, on the 15th of this month, Japanese prime minister Koizumi will visit the Yasukuni Shrine once more and thereby draw strong protests from China and many Asian countries. But this piece of garbage openly wrote on his blog on August 17 to denigrate the nationalistic feelings of the Chinese people!

    And again. If I do not agree with `the nationalistic feeling of the Chinese people’ then I must be trying to denigrate China. If I do not think in the Zhang Jiehai approved manner, I must perforce be wrong.

    On goes the parade of ignorance:

    In the essay “The two fatal flaws of the Chinese people,” I praised the Israelis for “hunting down the Nazis” at all costs and then finally sending them to hang on the Israelis’ own gallows.

    Now while this is true, and commendable, it has little relevance here. As I made explicitly clear in my blog, the justified target of anger is those who were guilty of crimes. Such people are the target of the Simon Wiesenthal center, and rightly so. But in China today, Japanese people in general are hated, merely for being Japanese. In any case, China’s own government suspended action against a large number of Japanese war criminals in the interests of fostering good relations between the two countries.

    the Japanese would have apologized to us a long time ago and they would not dream of going to any Yasukuni Shrine.

    Man, I am getting to sound as absurd as Zhang Jiehai himself. There is so much lunacy in his article that merely by replying to it I am tainted with his sickness myself. For this particular gem of nonsense I will merely point out what I said before – that Japan has apologized. And I will also ask, can one apologize for a crime one has not committed? Today’s Japanese government, after all, murdered no one. But if one can apologize for the crimes of one’s predecessors, when will the CPC apologize for the 30 to 50 million deaths it caused?

    But what does Zhang Jiehai want? For today’s Japanese people to apologize for something they did not do to someone they did not harm?

    He even dared to openly engaged in activities to divide China. For example, he once asked a student from Xinjiang: “Is Xinjiang really a part of China?” At the same time, he told his students any number of times: “Taiwan is really an independent country.”

    And once more I hold my head in my hands. I expect such knee-jerk tosh from students, but to hear it from a professor saddens me greatly. Again – how ever can China hope to become great when this is the caliber of its intellectual elite?

    I am willing to listen to the person who tells me Xinjiang is part of China.

    Zhang Jiehai is not willing even to countenance the opposite argument. What kind of academic will not even accept an argument that opposes his own? Well, a shit kind of academic, that’s what.

    I have talked to several Muslim students from Xinjiang. They most certainly do not feel Xinjiang should be part of China. And as for Taiwan… It simply is a separate country, and there’s no possible way to deny it. Now whether it should be separate or should remain separate is a different argument. But now, today, it is separate. The Taiwanese choose their own leaders; they have their own laws, language, currency, passport. Beijing has zero direct power over Taiwan; and therefore while all sides may preserve the `one country two systems’ fiction, the fact of the matter is that Taiwan is separate. One needs look no further than the international attitude to a Taiwanese passport and a Chinese passport for the truth of that.

    It is the job of an academic to try to see things as they are, not as they are wished to be. Zhang Jiehai falls at this elementary hurdle. He is not even on the lowest rung of the path to true intelligence.

    For the Chinese women as well as the Chinese men, this is lively and hard-to-find education material!

    Indeed. Clearly the kind of education material Zhang Jiehai is capable of producing has no merit.

    He gloated: “It is very difficult for western women here. Someone like me will not even glance at a western woman. I treat them as if they are invisible. They don’t exist.”

    This is again perhaps a misreading of my point, and I cannot really criticize Zhang Jiehai on it; after all, his English is a fuck sight better than my Chinese. Nonetheless, I was not gloating. I was merely pointing out the reality of life in China today.

    On one hand, as a scholar and a man,

    You are no scholar, Sir. You profane the very word. You have no claim to the title. A scholar is everything you are not. You are merely a bigot and a parasite.

    I have relentlessly and directly criticized Chinese men, because I am one of them. On the other hand, I have always been reticent with respect to Chinese women, which included our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters.

    In a nutshell, there it is. China man’s attitude to woman. Most thinking women would find such an attitude offensive and patronizing.

    Zhang Jiehai, women do not want to be treated with kid gloves, they do not want to be put on a pedestal, they do not want to be treated as works of art. The want to be seen as equals. They do not want your offensive, patriarchal bullshit.

    Especially this piece of garbage, who is in the business of an engineer of the soul, and the engineer of the soul of our elites!

    And after all this, you have the gall to talk about engineering souls, my lord fool? You who clearly can only engineer the most paltry, staid and desiccated of thinkers?

    I am a researcher in psychology.

    Barely.

    The Chinese women that he dallied with are his students. Outside of China, relationships between teachers and students are strictly prohibited. But this piece of garbage used his status as teacher to deceive his inexperienced female students. We ask how such a beast can be a teacher?

    Learn to read, Zhang Jiehai, learn to read. I only get involved with women after they have ceased to be my students.

    Our relevant departments really ought to step in!

    Ah, yes; if you do not like what someone else says, shut them down. And you call yourself an academic!

    The most valuable hint is that he went to the Tianping Hotel with a female student and the room has no window. Everybody knows that very few hotel rooms have no window (I have never encountered a windowless room). When I went to check at the Tianping Hotel, they really did not have any windowless rooms.

    This is perhaps the most astonishing comment of all. This man went to a location I claimed to have been to see if it existed. He sees some blog on the net and gets so righteous indignant about it that he turns himself into Sherlock Holmes. He did this; he went to the Tianping Hotel to ask them about their rooms. What a bumbling, impotent buffoon! And this is the caliber of China’s academics. This is what they worry themselves about? I am just one guy, of no especial importance, not much more or less than many expats and certainly no different to a goodly number of local men, who cheat and cog and play just as much as I do.

    Listen to yourself, Zhang Jiehai, listen to yourself.

    If people think that there is a foreign language teacher who fits these descriptions, or otherwise find valuable clues, please leave a comment at my blog or contact me directly via email.

    Netizens and compatriots, if you are a Chinese man with guts and if you respect Chinese women, please join this “Internet hunt for the immoral foreigner”! Let us act together! I believe in the power of the Internet, because I believe in the power of the Chinese people!

    I am just aghast at this. Truly, I fear for China. Not just because of the utter paucity of thinking, life, truth and honesty that typifies the Zhang Jiehais of today’s China, nor just that if he is any representative of the Academy of Sciences then China is doomed, but also because in calling for a witch-hunt he calls for ugliness and hatred, he calls for fascism, he calls for ignorance.

    Zhang Jiehai, you are a far greater danger to China than ever I could be. You spread ignorance, lies and poison; you stifle thought, freedom and intellect. You are stupidity, folly, contempt.

    It is because of people like you that so many of China’s best and brightest seek education abroad. You have nothing to offer the young of today’s China but bankrupt ideas and meaningless platitudes. You drive the finest minds of China to the West. You have nothing to say. You have nothing to teach.

    Poor China, to still be so hurt by her own people!

  53. This is my first time of coming across your blog,is really interesting. concerning the issue of racism and descrimination stuff we have to be realistic because one, racism have been existing for a pretty longtime and can never be eradicated,but could be minimised.

    Iam an African which iam proud of, black which iam proud of,i am married to a Taiwanese and have a wonderful son,who is so lovely,cute being a mixed baby. But before i got married,i worked in north east of China as a teacher,it was like trying to walk naked in winter to get a job as a black man,people,run away when they see you,scared,and see you as offensive to them. Though i have worked in many cities in China,i think is God that is helping me.i can’t say all because of time but ihope things will change. Now with my wife they ask this why do you marry a black man.my wife will answer go and ask your father why he married your mother.is disgusting.they only admire my son,some asking me how can i get a black man to marry,well happy they like my son.yes there is racism here but hoping things will get better but i wonder when. We don’t need to worry is only time that will sort out this problem.

  54. Dear All,

    Having read all the messages, it is obvious that everyone has a different view based on their own experiences or beliefs/prejudices.

    I am an Asian (Sri Lankan) currently working in Dubai.

    Racism is very much prevalent in this place and you see blatant adverisements asking for UK/US educated persons.

    Having finished my education in the UK, I ventured to apply for such a job only to be told what they actually mean is White skinned persons from UK/US. As you can understand my frustration at this. The other known fact about this place is that a so called UK/US educated person doing the same job would be paid more then double the salary of an Asian doing the same job.

    The argument is that the UK/US educated (whites) have a higher standard of living and are payed high salaries in thier respective countries. While this may be true !!!!! it is rather unfortunate that we Asians a subjected to this type of double standards even though we hold all the necessary qualifications and able to do the same job compitently.

    It is a sad state of affairs that we Asians (Dark Skinned) are subjected to this purely on our ethnicity and colour.

    My point to all our friends reading is that RACISM does exists everywhere in one form or another, lets accept that it exists and do what we can as individuals to change this unfortunate bias in the eyes of the coming generations. It is in the hands of the parents & educationalist to have greater influence on the current generation.

    By the way I am taking up a position in Shanghai and hence the reason why I was going through this blog.

    Take it easy people…try to make a difference.

  55. Might wanna take the word of an Anglo-Saxon descent Canadian who speaks English as their native language. ABC, CBC are labels they defined themselves for themselves. White Canadians/Americans did not create the terms.

  56. I am aghast and angry NOT because China didnt treat me like one of its kind but rather because it treated me as if I am one of them. I dont need to be seen as something I am NOT! When I am overseas, I say I am an Aisan, thats right by all sense but it wouldnt be right to say I am Chinese coz I am not. An Indian is an Asian hey but the chinks dun think so. The Americans would refer to “Asians” only if they are “yellow” and that is just as ignorant as the people in China. Its like saying “you are a men” to someone who really is a women!!

  57. The chinese are mad at you not because you compliment chinese women as sexy and pretty but at your obscene use of sexually explicit words such as “breasts” and “between the legs”. As a women myself, I can assure you that your words did offended me.

    Zhang Jiehai (I dont know who this guy is until you mentioned him above) is no doubt an idiot but what about you? I say you are just of the same calibre as him.

  58. Chinabounder: Well written. I debate the same issues with my Chinese wife all the time. I guess it is time to really LEAVE China.

  59. I grew up in London in the seventies and eighties. At the time there were skin heads and no go areas for black people in the south east of London. I spent four years in China, first in Hangzhou and the rest of the time in a small town in Zhejiang province. Unlike many of the people here I have developed a thick skin where issues of prejudice are concerned. Yes, colour is an issue for many chinese but their attitude doesn’t bother me. I simply get on with what I have to do. These problems are to be found in every corner of the earth and to let it bother you is pointless. I have been to a school where I could clearly sense they would have preferred a white teacher. If I were young and wanted to change a nations attitude and fight the good fight then I would but I am older and give less of a damn. If Chinese people don’t like me I simply say, bollocks to them and move on.

    Please stop moaning about this, talk to any black person who experienced real in your face racism in England in the fifties and sixties and they will tell you to stop bitching!

    If you can’t take the situation in China then don’t go there!

    Finally, I married a lovely Chinese woman. So they can’t be all that bad.

  60. i just wanted to add-i didnt get to read the whole blog- that any allegations of discrimination among darker skinned individuals in china and asian countries in general are absolutley true.

    as a mixed race asian i know this first hand- there really is no other reason to ask for a picture.

    moreover you can only truly experience from the vantagepoint of the colored individual; the world a white person sees is completely different. the world would do their collective selves a favor if they would simply acknowledge this rather than obscure the issue with pointless research.

    the only thing that i could never figure out is with the japanese in particular. the bombing of the japanese by americans – the only time in history that atomic weapons have been used to eradicate a people off the face of the earth- only seemed to make them think white is right even more.

  61. I am a chinese living in Canada. From my personal feeling, I would say, the way we treat them(you guys call it foreigners) is way more better than the way they treat us. Sometimes, I think maybe we treat these guys too nice, some of them don’t even know who they are. Racilists are part of ugly and darkness side in north american’s histroy. I experience stalk,scatch my car, throw garbage in my front yard from these white trashes. If any of you want to have a racialism education, come here and liivng for a little bit while.

  62. EVERYONE BE AWARE that a lot of people that are posting comments on here claiming to be chinese americans or even black americans are plain imposters (and other americans know what i’m talking about – cause we can tell by the way you write)

    These imposters just want to get in the mix.

    To those imposters…get a life and get off america’s nuts!

    And about the discrimination discussion: Chinese are rascist, unless you are white ofcourse, then you are just another stupid foreigner who will buy a fake Gucci watch or bag for $1000.

  63. Hey y’all, First I’d like to state for tha moment and most especially for tha record

    Well,as er’body knows,cookie of rascism stuff ain’t just been happening,damn It’s been around town,around the world,way back since like what?40-50 or more years back obviously till this moment,muthafuckers’re still serving it on a big ass plate,See..to me It ain’t nothing as long as you don’t touch my black ass,yeah right they point at you with ’em kinda filthy fingers and all that,say some sort of devastating shit bout you,deny you of some sort of vacant application,get kinda nervous anytime you walk by,some would even say you stink,covering up their noses while your get on bus,staring at you like a brotha’s gon’ flip out some desert eagle off underneath his pant or somethn, damn It’s sick! but on the other side of the fence(subject), we ain’t gotta start acting like stuffs like that never happened in the west(states,uk and some european countries),my point is..If it gets to you in any kinda way,Just face that shit thoroughly with some common sense of ignoring it,man..as far as they don’t touch you or get you knocked down the streets while walking with you lil miss asia or smthn!

    Now to make the whole thing crystal clear,man I’ve been in china for about what,3 to 4 years! and I ain’t gonna ever draw up any conclusion to figure chinese being a rascist,why?Cos sometimes you just dont mix up being “ignorant” to”rascism”, trust me…some chinese just ain’t got no idea of (who you are,where you from or smthn)hell..they don’t even know why you’re or chose to be in china,so obviously this at the first instance strike their minds as being kinda weird and curious. Please y’all, Chinese ‘re pretty nice folks to deal with,f you characteristically understand their ways of life,manners of approach,cultural attitudes and most importantly what they speak “chinese”!damn I read all what everbody’s got to say,while most people concluded they ain’t nothing but pure rascist.You gotta ask yourself a genuine question “Have you ever been kung fu wipped by any chinese?” “has any chinese ever seen you walking by and spit in your face?”No! y’all just bugging! The bitter truth is.. There’s always a rotten apple in a bunch of preserved basket of apples,and if such rotten apple comes your way ,all you gotta do is just to ignore that shit and let it fly cos this ain’t your muthafucking country! Chinese deal with you straight If you come correct(act straight) with ’em,they treat you with respect,they always want you to be a’ight in their country,hell some even risk whatever they’ve worked for to favor some foreigners ass,some dudes would go as far as boning ’em chinese hoochies anyhow they want it,while back at wherever the fuck you came from,you ain’t shit for ’em hot ladies. what else y’all want from these people”chinese”?but on the other hand,some chinese just always wanna act fly,Im ean kinda like “I’ve been to the states,I know it all”,while they don’t know shit! Ohh ahh Ohh ahh kinda shit,but they’re just some sort of wanna be j lo hoochies,and dudes,man screw all that.

    bottom line is, Chinese muthafuckers ain’t rascist,some of ’em are just Ignorant and you ain’t gotta blame anybody for that. If nobody wanna approve your application to teach english,boy just sit back n use your head,set up shop into some legitimate business or smthn

    to get by,hell that might even be much better than 400dollars salary they gon pay your ass every month after bursting off your nuts,screaming at some cocky chinese students in the class. I wish y’all goodluck! I’m just so outta here.

    “touch me and I’ll spit in your muthafucking face”

    by the way,this here’s straight outta Africa!

    land of cocky muthafuckers!

  64. Hey what up ya’ll? this is kinda getting outta hand but let’s keep it goin’ to spread the truth and the word! I have been here workin’ and livin’ you know just chillin’ for six years…and yeah I’m black.My first few weeks were bad news!!!people would stop me on the streets and touch my hair,ask me why my teeth were so white and this one time a guy on a bike stared at me so long…he fell off after knocking into a pole!!!!women would touch me and pull on my hair…not that I minded the tactile communication but it was weird,my first group at the company training were 20’s something Chinese girls and they had NEVER seen a black man before they gaped and stared and one even run out of the room on seeing my chocoalte skin.I got the nickname from that time on”chocolate boy” I mean it would be crazy to say these guys are racist,for a country that was closed for 5,000 years all of a sudden the sight of a black man creates a stir! I kinda love the attention and do not construe it as racism at all maybe ignorance or curiosity,my skin gets me lots of women though,no matter what you hear Chinese women love black guys and even the conservative Korean and Japanese women chase black guys in the clubs.Perhaps it’s the men here who cannot stand the sight of a Chinese girl dating or walking on the street with a black guy,but when the see a white guy with a Chinese girl they admire her.Then again if I experienced any real racism I would not have stayed here so long,I have dated Korean,Japanese and Chinese women I cannot even think about any other woman who is more attractive,beautiful,kindhearted,intelligent and a great lover.I love Asian women and will probably marry one,forget the racism focus on your job and your happiness,racism has been with us everywhere in the world for ages it is rooted in insecurity and weakness and competition,the lack of self esteem and respect.Then again who the hell said peope should be identified by the color of their skin???? remeber MLK judge a person by the content of their heart! Take care y’all peace!And for those of you who are affected by racism real or imagined calm your heart and soul by listening to some John Legend!!!!!!!!Have a beautiful day…I’m outta here!

  65. ja, if I understand your statement correctly, you are saying it is more about courious than discrimination. I generally agree with you. Although no one can claim it is not discrimination in any situation, it is generally curiousity than discrimination…

  66. I have visited for several years and continue to visit until my impending marriage to a Chinese citizen. I am a black female and really cannot say I have been discriminated against because of my race, but I have been discriminated against because of my size. I am a size 14-16 and standing next to my bf who is probably 138 pounds wet causes many people in the city of Hu ZHou to stare at us. I do get questions regarding my race and the misconceptions about african americans such as how many guns do I have, how many children do I have? do I play basketball, and the funny one of do I want watermelon or a red drink. I can honestly say that I do not belive there is discrimination because of my race but I do say that many people in the cities I visit take their information regarding negative things about my race from movies that is rented in their county. I never decline a dinner invitation from villagers, business owners, students, etc because I know this is a way to get to know people. Yes, there are certain people in other cities whom look at me as a lower level because of my color but that is everywhere. I really have to say that China is not any different than the US. There are misconceptions everywhere. I just feel bad for my bf when individuals look down upon him for being with me. Oh well, you have to accept the culture, and if you cannot either try to toughen your skin or do not go to China. (my own opinion, China is a wonderful and beautiful country)

  67. Hi Elaine

    I’m a British native ESL teacher (26) and currently married to a shanhainese (25) who is thankfully not of the opinion that her city is the best in China nor the world for that matter, she is well aware that SH is yes safe, but still developing fast and accepts that its some way (50 years) behind the west and the reason is simply this, the people. And before you errupt in anger sh people i’m talking about the older shanghainese who still drag it down with their bad public habits for us all to see, i’m not talking about staring because i don’t really have this problem from the sh people, and i’m not talking about listening to them talk fatuously about your clothes and bag whilst standing on the metro in front of them, (yes i can understand some of the sh dialect) one of the sh words for foreigner is (Naar goni) and yes i do have a substantial shanghai dialect vocabulary as all the people in my area (Zhabei) vainly speak it.

    I’m talking about the older women and men of shanghai who should set an example to the younger kids by not excavating loudly the phlegm which comes from the darkest caverns of their bodies and spitting into bins or where ever pleases their cakehole and holdiing your kids bottom over the nearest bin to urinate in it, what ever happened to off the street so we don’t all have to walk in it ?

    anyway…..

    People of this thread, i’ve been here for 2 and a half years and have never been to a single Chinese class, not one. All my chinese and shanghai vocab i have learnt have been with taxi drivers and my family (mother and father in law) yes we live together. And it’s sadly well known that many people think the SH people are very rude and conceited even my other Chinese friends in other parts of China say the same when they’ve visited but some of the Sh people are very kind and really do laugh and speak loudly cos they really don’t know that to some races it’s rude and often unnecessary, but they love it when you speak the Sh dialect.

  68. Hello Everyone,

    I just happened to chance on this interesting topic, so here’s my two cents.

    I guess the source of Elaine’s anger is her inability to specify her race.

    So the only recourse for her is to embrace her nationality (Singaporean or otherwise).

    But it seemed rather unfortunate that she choose to blame everyone else who mistakes her for a chinese. Hey, if you look like a duck….we know the rest. Who gives a shit if your brother looks like a horse. Perhaps the anger should be directed towards the mating of the horse and the duck the first place ! Hey before everyone starts labeling me a racist, the duck-horse is just an analogy. No disrespect is intended here. Just don’t blame the world for your own racial ambiguity.

    Frankly I have more problems with people who are clearly of a certain race but do everything to deny it. “I’m not Chinese, I’m SINGAPOREAN.” Take a look in the mirror dear, unless you have the word ‘Singapore’ tattooed on your forehead, you’re a dammed chinese !” again, no disrespect intended. There is nothing wrong with the tag ABC. It accepts and describes the reality of a chinese born in th US. It is insulting only for the stupid.

    Finally, to all individuals with darker skin tone, please understand that there are not many like you in China. When you are being stared at, it’s not because they hate you or anything. You are a rarity, and unique to the locals. It’s something redheads live with in the states. They get stared at all the time. So please lighten up.

  69. Well, Chinese people in general are warm but I have had my share of racial experiences that makes me doubt if they really hate fellow Asians with darker skin tones.
    Specially when you refuse to buy an article at an exorbitantly high price (that may be Europeans wouldn’t mind paying), they get on to you with racial abuses (very common at Science & Tech Park market). I really want to know if there is any grievance cell to address these issues.
    Very recently my husband while taking the bus was falsely charged by a fellow passenger of theft. He stopped the bus and even called the cops and since my husband could not understand Mandarin, he was clueless of the happenings until a sympathetic passenger explained him the circumstances in English. Furious my husband volunteered for complete body search and was found to be innocent. Even the cops apologized but the man who falsely accused him did not.
    In past one year, while I have had some good experiences, there were those that have left me sour. Our e-bike & simple bikes were stolen. I like Chinese people but I guess not all of them respect people from India.
    Saddened and disappointed my husband and I are actually contemplating changing the country.

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