CHINESE RACISM: Expats Share their Stories

Arcminute

I don’t recall any racism directed at me, though on multiple occasions people would calmly say very racist things about black people as a matter of fact.

TheNatureBoy

There was a black teacher at my job like 20 years ago. They told me no one would learn anything because the students were so interested in him. One of the students asked what color his blood was. He was fired after a year. There are two black teachers at my job now. The students say really weird things about their skin and hair. I think everything is mostly curiosity.

BRUSSELSredditor

As a Black person: Shanghai (Fudan 2011-2012) was great, I had a positive mindset and mixed with Chinese from all social backgrounds. I really liked my migrants friends because I worked on the hukou system while following intensive Chinese lessons.

Remarks and innuendos: from a teacher, and a German (yeah, NAZI descent, lol).

Beijing (2012-2013): UNBEARABLE for Blacks, really. You could read their hypocrisy and despise.


Read a lot and talked to well established Blacks over there: this is sad but China, as well as Asia are colour-minded, helped by colonialism which planted this seed worldwide: the lighter your skin, the more respect you deserve because you’re successful. A white men propaganda of the time.

That explains well why Chinese have some inferiority complex about Westerners.

[deleted]

mostly against black people. I have a few black friends who have been denied jobs, even with the highest of qualifications. One was given the runaround about a music teaching job even after a history of teaching at prestigious schools and graduating from Berkley school of music. That same couple was denied a job that I got them after it was found out that they were black.

I had one friend who lived here for several years and had perfect chinese. People would say stuff around him constantly, probably a few times a week. Then he would have to start speaking in Chinese and scare the shit out of them.

I moved to Shenzhen where it’s a little better. Honestly the racism stirs me up, as when it happens, I just want to punch said Chinese in the face.

But to be fair, I’ve also heard a lot of racist shit from white-washed foreigners in China. I grew up in a very diverse place so when I hear white foreigners say stuff I just want to punch them in the face as well.

I actually was about to make an order from a manufacturer I met in SZ. She was Australian and on Christmas she made a comment after someone said a ‘black joke’ which really was a joke, and started talking about that’s how most of them truly felt. Well, it was good to know I could take my business to another company

gaoshan

Only discrimination I’ve encountered was as a result of individuals that did not approve of my wife and I being together (she’s Chinese, I’m white). That said, over the years we encountered as much, or more, of that in the U.S. than we ever have in China (where we’ve even encountered people that thought it was awesome, which kind of balances out the negative encounters).


xigua22

I’ve been turned away from hotels because i’m a foreigner. I’ve also been offered a summer job, but turned it down because i’d be out of the country. So I tried to help them find another dude for the job (another American and he was black) but I was point blank told they will not take a black guy. Pretty ridiculous.

HOWEVER……I would say the number of benefits you receive for being a foreigner outweighs the racism.


The only legit racism I’ve experience in China was from expats and other foreigners. Australians, Kiwis, Americans, this one Canadian dude, but oddly enough never from any black people. I’ve even experienced ABC on Chinese racism.

The_MadStork

you’re kept out of clubs for being white?! man, it was always the total opposite for me (and even for my black friends). i only got that treatment in mongolia from fellow clubgoers.


i only experienced the casual racism against black people, and a couple isolated incidents being out with my chinese gf elicited some crap from drunk guys, but even that was totally rare.


Rampaging_Bunny

After getting my motorcycle driver’s license and legal bike plates (just getting registered was a huge headache for me, everyone kept saying “Foreigners can’t drive in China), I’ve encountered a huge amount of racism on the roads of China’s cities (driven thru nanjing mostly, also Suzhou, Shanghai).

I have a US flag on the back of my helmet, and i get a lot of assholes who pull up behind me honk and yell things like “洋鬼子回家!or 下车我的街道,美国的狗。” (Foreign devil go home! Get off my street, american dog!”) four times in traffic this has happened. Once some asshole Audi driver stepped out of his car and yelled at me “Fuck you” at a stop light. Literally.

And at an intersection where you’re stopped in a swarm of other bikes/ebikes, people stare at me and my bike, see that I’m a foreigner, and start muttering shit about foreigners not knowing how to drive in China.

nivek1834

I’m a white (American) that’s lived in China for several years, speak Chinese and my wife is a Chinese national. Chinese are certainly not in-your-face racist, but I have caught several people making raciest comments… As far as bars and clubs go, I can understand why some do not welcome foreigners: here in Beijing there have been a lot of incidents with foreigners – like rape – and many bar/club owners just do not want the scrutiny. Hotels are a similar situation; while many will say they do not allow foreigners or don’t have a license to allow foreigners (没有外宾证), it is really because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of registering foreign nationals at the local PSB.

IMO, to Chinese there is no such thing is racism, just pro and anti-Chinese.

      xigua22

    The “rape” thing isn’t an excuse because Chinese guys raping Chinese girls is all too common. It’s equally wrong, but all foreigners get a bad rap forever if ONE white guy does it. Double standard makes it racist. But in this case I don’t even mind because I am so sick of the foreigners going to China just trying to take advantage of girls in bars.


loller

The 内宾 hotels are complete bullshit. They’re allegedly not allowed to take in foreigners, but then their cheapest rooms are marked as 内宾 while their most expensive rooms are fine for foreigners. It’s predatory.

dreezyubeezy

Only time that sticks out to me as really affecting me is when apartment hunting people will say they don’t want foreigners living there, fucking annoying。

gruntle

Had that happen to me. Found a great apartment, good price, good location, and the owners wouldn’t rent it to me because I was a foreigner. I got mad and asked why…turns out a year or two before, an Italian had lived there, trashed the place, and then just left China without telling the landlord or anything.


gingerlyfingers

I am a white woman and never thought I would encounter racism in China… most people were either fascinated or disinterested with nothing in between. Yet every once in a while I would be denied a taxi ride on my way home from the bars. Thankfully I learned very important phrases to use in such occasions, such as 他妈的 and 外国歧视。


AcaciaBlue

Typical racism in China: black people look ugly so they’re probably also poor, stupid and dangerous too.


fffshz

I’ve been kept out of clubs for being a laowai, simple as that. And dumbasses make their “how to live in China” videos. I’ve also been excluded from departmental parties because of my race. but it goes both ways…we sometimes get special treatment as well



LivingInShanghai

Anytime something gets escalated here if it involves me and a local the rest of the locals without knowing the situation jump to their defense and start yelling things like get out of china, go home.

I see huge national pride here quite often. Reminds me of the ‘Muricans back home.


[deleted]

When I lived in China, I had a friend who was Vietnamese. Whenever we were in a restaurant or something the waitstaff would immediately approach her and speak to her in Chinese. When her husband or I would explain in Chinese that she’s from Vietnam, they’d give her the weirdest, must suspicious looks. What was weirder was when you’d get people who didn’t seem to know that Vietnam was a country.


puppypicsordie

The thing that sticks out to me the most was when I would come back from vacation (happened twice) with a tan. I get really dark. My co-workers and parents of my students would straight up ask me “why” and tell me it made me ugly. I would just tell them “I love it!!!” And ignore their comments. My students would also call me black. I’m from Iran but I have ridiculously pale skin so I would go from white to extremely ethnic in a week. Haha. Other than that everyone was always super nice and helpful despite my horrible Chinese skill.


dteeban

Back in my teaching days, I had an employer refuse to consider the resume of a black friend because of his race. She then refused to admit that our students were racist, and we argued about this.


[deleted] 

I never got real racism, just mostly stereotypes. Apparently I’m supposed to own a gun, be a practicing Christian, and want to eat steak three times a day.


suaveslav

But lately I’ve been a little pissed off about not being able to get into a cab because I’m white. Here in Hangzhou I usually travel via bike and rarely take a taxi, but it’s still happened to me more than once.

Case in point: one morning I was trying to hail a cab to get to the PSB and fix my visa crisis, to little luck (admittedly most of the taxis I saw were full). A taxi pulled up to my corner to let off a passenger and I saw my opportunity. The driver saw me and waved me away.

While I was walking away the passenger asked if I could speak Chinese. I told her that I could, and she relayed that to the cabbie. And then, of course, he let me in.

I guess I can chalk this up to the happy coincidence of 1) Chinese assuming foreigners are unable to learn Mandarin, and 2) the masses of foreigners in China who still haven’t learned Mandarin.


[–][deleted]

I get a lot of “positive racism” (not sure what the term is) because I’m white. I also get “respect” because I’m male and (in relative terms) have money. All of this is very bizarre to me because in Ireland it’s irrelevant if you’re a white guy with a bit of cash. I prefer the Irish way. Less superficial and less traditional.

I haven’t experienced a lot of negative racism. On the train once the fuwuyuan refused to give me a spoon for my rice (I saw her giving them to Chinese people) and actually said I in particular need to use chopsticks. I thought this was half bizarre half hilarious. She really got one over the white man there!

But I do get a lot of death stares from Chinese men. I know it is only a matter of time before one of those morons try to take things further.

Overall I think China is insanely racist/sexist/homophobic. Just ask a Chinese person what they think about black lesbians.


bimble740

About 8 years ago I had a university educated Chinese man tell me “We don’t have AIDS in China because we have no black people.”

Does that count?


Ktvone

I work with a plastics manufacturer in Dongguan. The GM is Taiwanese, and despite having lived there for over 15 years, he refuses to do business with anyone who is Chinese (Mainland). It’s ridiculous. His entire customer base is from Europe or North America, yet his factory operates in China with Chinese employees. We hired a small group in Guangzhou and the girls there are all from the mainland. He refuses to answer their calls and emails. Luckily, I’m an ABC. Also, a lot of them hate black people, except for Kobe/Lebron or other NBA stars.


mungosabe

When I went to the Old Summer Palace someone muttered to me “你怎么有脸来这儿?“ I pretended I didn’t understand, but it’s not like I personally destroyed it or something. I can sympathize with why some Chinese people might have some animosity towards foreigners for historical reasons, but it’s still silly to blame us for the actions of people 150 years ago who we probably have no relation to whatsoever. I think perhaps it is more anger at the fact that since then, “Westerners” have benefited from a poor and weak China. Or maybe it’s jealousy and nationalism. Well, it’s probably all of the above I guess, depending on the person.

edit: The above means “How do you have the ‘face’ to come here?”

Maybe someone else could shed some light for me, would a Westerner going to the Old Summer Palace be like a Japanese person visiting Pearl Harbor or something? It’s a historically significant place that I would like to take others to, but I don’t want to seem crass or insensitive.


LostinSZChina

I have been called a ‘yang gui tz’ before, but only on two occasions. One was when I was on bus to Hunan from Shenzhen and a soldier got on. He gave me a look like ‘What are you doing here?’ and we locked eyes to a degree where I felt needed to acknowledge it, so I just said ‘ni hao’, to which he responded ‘Foreign devil can speak putonghua, ah?” I just smiled and turned away. I noted his uniform had crossed missiles on the breast pocket. I suspect he’s well indoctrinated to the idea that we’re the big threat trying to contain China.

The other time was an uncle of my wife, who’s in the PLA. He wasn’t really happy about us getting together. He still calls me ‘yang gui tz’, but at least he smiles when he says it now.

Other than that, just some nationalistic loonies online, and a few Chinese males online that are pissed because white foreigners are taking ‘their’ women.

There’s only one thing worse than being an American in China when it comes to xenophobia, and that’s being Japanese. I have heard rumors that it’s best not to own a Japanese car in Nanjing, as they sometimes get vandalized, but that’s only rumor.

There could be one thing worse, and that’s being black. I talked to a few guys from Ghana and they said they ‘get treated like dogs’. My own wife doesn’t like black people much, but it seems it’s mostly because of esthetics than anything else. She just thinks black skin doesn’t look good. She also doesn’t like the Japanese, but upon meeting them treats them normally, mostly it’s not individuals so much as the country/government itself that she’s not happy about. Then again, sometimes Japan doesn’t help itself too much there either, IMHO.

Lessee, Taiwanese sometime get hassled, I hear. Also, the whole mainlander/hong kongese tension seems to be getting worse lately, from my perspective here in Shenzhen. My wife also isn’t a big fan of Hong Kong people. I’ve hear the phrase ‘jia yang gui tz’ (fake foreign devil) applied to HKers. To be honest, I find some of the HK attitude towards the Mainland a bit irritating, as they can be really condescending at times. Not that some of it isn’t deserved, when you have Mainlanders shitting in the street in Nathan Road, or lighting up cigarettes in restaurants and not giving a shit, pushing to get onto the MTR, or bitching because some middle-aged shopkeepers Mandarin isn’t so good.


SeriousStyle

Chinese people are racist to other Chinese people too. Grew up speaking Cantonese, sometimes it takes me a bit of time to cross-translate to Mandarin. At first Taxi drivers think I’m a bit slow in the head but upon learning I speak Cantonese, proceed on mocking the language. First 5 mins its funny but 30 mins of mocking and it gets irritating. It’s like a Spanish guy mocking the Portuguese language and telling him how much of a clown his language makes him sound. Could have done the same with his accent but held it together.


shroob88

One case of racism/xenophobia that sticks out in my mind is when I was on holiday in Beijing. I was at the Water Cube and was approached by two girls, who asked me to take their photos. I asked, ‘Where are you from?’, they said Hong Kong, promptly followed by, ‘We don’t trust the Chinese people here’.

There’s definitely racism against the Japanese from some of my students, which I try and change but I feel I’m failing. They say they dislike the Japanese, but the Japanese culture (anime, cosplay, music etc.) is popular. Some express racist/xenophobic feelings towards black people, again which I try and change. Students who are going to America to study sometimes ask, ‘How can I protect against blacks’.


theamazingdesigner

Most of the racism I witnessed here was just words, most of the time directed at tibetans and xinjiang people.

In my case, I used to get my share of death stares and comments when I was dating my wife, but nothing since we have a baby.



pasourus

A black guy here, i see racism here and there and it was pretty bizarre during my early days, like these guy flatly refusing to sell me some 香蕉. I also get someone asking to touch my skin and hair, just to feel how it’s. But i think generally, the Chinese don’t really have the balls to be blatant racist towards foreigners, basically because they may be afraid of government repercussions.

Xenophobia is very common to the point i get used to it, I’m from Somalia and i lost count of how many times i have been called out 海盗, I just now say i’m either from my roommates or girlfriends country, just to avoid the argument.


mnfthyr

I guess my case would be sort of a nationalism thing. I’m Chinese American, and I couldn’t read or write Chinese the first time I went back to visit my grandparents. So on the entry card I filled out everything in English. The customs agent just tossed the card back at me and said “You’re chinese, write chinese.” I just kept writing them in English, until he told me if I keep doing that, he won’t let me in, to which I replied “Well if you can’t read English get someone to help you.” I was young then, and unruly.


colorless_green_idea

Was in a restaurant with two other white friends and my Chinese wife. Guy comes up and calls her 小日本 (little Japan, aka traitor).

Riding on an electric bike with my wife. Chinese guy walking in front of us staring the whole time. We go past him but just as we pass him, he spits toward our feet. She looks back and sees him standing there continuing to glare at us.

I also see racism on forums where a Chinese female marries a non-Chinese male. Of course there is always praise when Chinese guys marry non-Chinese females.

Also seen on forums, Chinese living abroad calling the locals laowai. Fucking kills me.


nikatnight

I went out on a date with a very beautiful chinese woman and while she went into this packed restaurant to put our names on the list I waited outside. There were two guys standing across the street and one was just staring at me. I get this often so I didn’t think anything of it.

Well she came out and kissed me on the cheek and that guy got a very angry look on his face (I’d been staring back the entire time) and started shouting something. Then she shouted something back and he shut the fuck up and looked very embarrassed. Then his friend started laughing and dragged him away. The man was incredibly angry and definitely wanted to come at me and get floored.

She told me he said that she was a betrayer of her country and as he was about to insult me she said he should shut up or this foreigner will have to hurt him and his little dick.

Such a good response.


[deleted]

Once a middle-aged guy told me that China has a secret weapon to attack America, and that America will surely be defeated. Made the other passengers of the van taxi very uncomfortable. He was almost certainly mentally ill.

So yeah, one blatant case of outright xenophobia vs. about 500 instances of people being nicer/more generous to me because I am a white guy (who can speak some Chinese). And alot of “hello”s. Not too bad really. I can’t imagine an American saying “you speak really good English” to a Chinese guy who lived in the States for three years and spoke not-very good English.



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