Charles at ChinaGeeks pointed me to the following video in his most recent post, “What an Idiot Foreigner Shows Us About Xenophobia and Sexism in China.”
The video shows an extremely drunk foreigner stumbling down the street, having an incredibly patient cop try to help him out, exclaiming he loves China, hugging said cop, kicking at his father-in-law, falling off one of those coin-op children’s rides outside a shop, showing the children’s ride who’s boss, and then getting violent with the police before being carted away.
Charlie goes on to translate a number of comments from Sina that all fall into either a “xenophobic” or “sexist” category — a couple gems:
“Foreign devils acting wild in China, it all comes from the Manchu period of backwardness and humiliation.”
“Don’t let the next generation of Chinese be mixed-race! This is not only tarnishing Chinese families, but it is a humiliation to the great traditions of the Chinese people!”
Here’s the thing that chaps my ass about this net-driven fiasco — obviously the guy is a drunken douche and deserves no quarter from the online community — for being a drunken douche. But the comments from the Chinese community create a bit of a chicken and egg situation. I think it could be agreed that perhaps the fact the guy is (literally) fall-down drunk in the middle of the day is an “in-China” thing, but that he’s belligerent to the cop and his father-in-law isn’t localized to any nation or nationality.
Charles says it well:
The fact that this video is even popular in the first place is evidence that foreigners are treated differently by many Chinese. After all, drunken idiots being hauled off by the police is something you can see on any street corner in China (or anywhere else in the world). And the fact that everyone feels the need to say “this foreign guy” instead of just “this guy” shows us that there’s a clear interest in keeping him separate from anything “Chinese.” He is the Other.
To attach such behavior as “foreignness” illustrates a huge amount of ignorance on the part of the Chinese commenting on the video, and then to insult this guy’s wife — not for making the poor decision of marrying a drunk, but of marrying a foreigner — well, it’s just plain insulting. Thus, if such insults seem so deeply ingrained into the fabric of this dear nation, is it too far to assume that perhaps he was drunk and belligerent because he lives under that yoke of racial discrimination and hate?
I’ll let you guys talk it out. I’m sure there’s no shortage of opinions on the topic.