China Keeping Watchful Eye on Expatriates

The number of foreigners moving to China for work or school is growing each year. In 2010, more than 200,000 foreigners have been reported living there. But why does China keep expats under a  microscope

Article written by guest writer Rin Mitchell

What’s the Latest Development?

The Chinese have their eyes on people who have come from other countries and settled in major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai. According to the Chinese and video documentations, they have a valid reason. Some foreigners have been displaying very bad behavior. A Britain man sexually assaulting a Chinese woman in the streets of Beijing was captured on video by locals. The man was apprehended by locals and beaten, which was also videotaped. Another incident took place on a train, when a Russian cellist of the Beijing Symphony Orchestra refused to take his feet down from the back of a seat. When a woman requested that he remove them, he began to verbally abuse the woman in Mandarin. It was caught on tape and resulted in his dismissal from the orchestra—despite his submission of a video apology. These are just a couple of the problems that have the Chinese lashing out against the surging growth of expatriates in their country. After the sexual assault incident, Beijing announced a three-week campaign to “clamp down” on foreigners. Chinese police have targeted areas known to be occupied by a large number of expats to check for valid passports and papers to legally live and work in the country. However, some good behavior from good foreigners have been witnessed as well. For instance, when a Californian offered to share his fries with an old, homeless woman, and took some time to sit and talk with her—and when a Uruguayan woman jumped into the water to save a suicidal Chinese woman from drowning. Yes, these kinds of acts of good-heartedness are embraced by the people of China, but the villains stand out more to the Chinese. 

What’s the Big Idea?

The Chinese have a love-hate relationship with expatriates. All it takes is for a few bad foreigners to spoil the bunch. Now an anti-foreigner sentiment exists throughout China. China is not alone in the way they feel about expats, people across the globe feel the exact same way when it comes to outsiders bringing bad behavior into their countries. The foreigners moving to China—or any country for that matter—need to be respectful to the culture and act appropriately. China has opened up its door for diversity within their culture, so foreigners need to be good country guests and stop ruining it for the other expats who know how to act civilized when away from home.

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