The Shanghaiist just posted about a near riot in Zhengzhou, Henan, a few days ago. The spark of the unrest was that a foreigner allegedly slapped and spit in the face of a Chinese woman.
A Caucasian man, appearing to be middle aged and sporting a Walmart brochure in the left breast pocket of his shirt, found himself surrounded by angry passersby as he sat holed up in the back seat of a BYD car. Many from the crowd said, on camera, that the foreigner should apologize because he allegedly slapped a Chinese woman and spat on her face.
To prevent him from leaving the scene, the throng punctured the tires of his car. They also tried to push close and break the vehicle’s windows, but police held them at bay with more than a little difficulty.
The incident erupted on Aug 17 in Henan province’s Zhengzhou city. Eventually police managed to slip the man out from the crowd, to safety. After that, the angry mob let loose on the vehicle, shattering the back window.
Lets assume that suspected douchebag is in fact a douchebag. Lets assume that everything in this mob-generated fengqing-orgasm meme of a video is correct and he did spit on and slap a Chinese woman. Lets assume that it was for absolutely no reason. Lets assume he’s just some asshole who thinks he’s way better than China and Chinese people and is just a racist prick. Lets assume there was absolutely no provocation at all — no “other side”. Now, all, or at least a good portion of that, is just as likely untrue as true. But lets assume.
It leaves just one big massive question in my mind: Would it have been a car demolishing riot with a police officer putting his job on the line to appease a seething mass of nationalistic fervor if it had been some Chinese man (or woman) who was the racist, entitled, person slapping, spit dispenser?
Be safe out there fellow laowai — the climate’s hot, and not just because of the summer sun.
UPDATE: Just read about this attack on a foreigner in Beijing:
On Friday night, around 8pm, a foreign man was walking with his Chinese boss from the SOHO Nexus building towards the Sanlitun SOHO building. As they approached the intersection of Baijiazhuang Lu, four Chinese men appeared from nowhere and began attacking them. From his account, three of them were beating him while one went after his boss.
He was thrown to the ground, beaten in the face and kicked repeatedly, all while yelling for them to stop. There were other people in the area at the time, but none stepped in to offer assistance. At some point during the attack, he managed to break free, only to be struck from behind. A few moments later the assailants suddenly stopped, and ran off.
The most chilling part of the story is what happened next. As they ran away, one of the men shouted (in English), “Get the f*ck out of our country! We don’t want your kind here!” He suffered a mild concussion and some other minor injuries as a result of the attack. more
I’m certainly not one for fear-mongering, so please take both stories above with a dash of soy, but it’s tough to ignore that there seems to be something festering beneath the otherwise amicable expat existence in China.