Saturday, 26 May 2012

Fear and loathing China

I would consider many of the BBC news stories on China to be quite neutral, however there seems to be a few written by journalists who are so called 'China experts' that are blatantly bias. This article by Damian Grammaticas is on such example. It talks about China's love-hate relationships with foreigners. First by mentioning the two recent incidents about a Russian cellist's rude behaviour on a train and the rape of a girl in Beijing by a British guy. So come an unrelated event which the police have launched the 100 days strike hard campaign to clamp down illegal foreigners, and then go on about some 'racist' remark by the renown Chinese anchor Yang Rui, which also drew support from nationalistic Chinese. These apparently show China as a growing power with xenophobic tendencies.

On the flip side he did mention that there are foreigners are admired by many Chinese, unfortunately he also ignore the privileges that Western visitors get treated with like it's given. But the reporter insisted that the growing xenophobia is outweighing the kindliness towards foreigners with very little substantial proof except from internet forums, which is the hardly the most reliable source. Yang Rui's 'clean out the foreign trash' comment is nothing more than just a counter reaction to the incidents even though he came off a bit arrogant. Plus the fact he was only referring to particular groups of foreigners who are illegals or those who disregard the laws.

Coming back home a bit we also need to remind ourselves on how many times the British media have made xenophobic and slandering reports on the Chinese community, where most of the times they get away without making any apologies at all. In comparison Yang Rui's remarks are pale in comparison. Also a few years ago the British police ran an operation around the country randomly storming into takeaways and restaurants to clamp down on illegal workers and disrupting their businesses. How was that any different from the Chinese police's campaign? It seems like when China clamp down on illegals it is seen as motivated by nationalism and xenophobia (or violating human rights) but when Western countries do the same it's called 'protecting their own borders'.

Despite many cultural differences and culture shock, most Western visitors would agree that in general they get treated hospitably. But like all countries in the world you bound to meet some hostility too. Most often than not foreigners (particularly if you're white) will get the undeserved special treatment but unfortunately many will take advantage of their priviledge by being disrespectful to the host country. Seeing that, it makes perfect sense why there's a backlash. Regardless, there may be a strong sense of nationalism amongst the population but it is hardly hostile or a threat to foreigners, certainly when compared to the racist groups in the UK. If mr. Grammaticas thinks that China is becoming more unfriendly towards foreigners as his sensationalistic claims then maybe he should try reporting from North Korea instead.