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China’s Bash Foreigner Free-for-all

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 6:50
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(Before It's News)

The ""
target="_blank">100-day crackdown
on illegal foreigners in
Beijing is now well underway and it seems the police aren’t messing
around this time. Some have suggested this is a knee-jerk reaction
to the alleged ""
target="_blank">attempted rape
of a Chinese girl by a British
man. But both things may be part of a bigger trend we’re likely to
see continue for the rest of the year.

Another story has made waves recently on the Chinese internet
about a ""
target="_blank">Russian cellist
who put his legs up on a
Chinese woman’s train seat and cursed her when she complained about
it (He later apologized). Unlike the rape incident, this is not a
crime; nor is it newsworthy. But that didn’t stop Beijing Morning
Post from splashing the whole story on their front page this

target="_blank"> ""
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data-image-meta="{" />

Then there was CCTV anchor Yang Rui, who made href=
target="_blank">this tragically hilarious statement
on Weibo.
Here’s a blurb:

The Ministry of Public Security is getting rid of foreign trash
right now, arresting foreign scum and protecting innocent Chinese
girls from them. […]Foreigners who can’t find a job in their home
country come to China and get involved in illegal business
activities such as human trafficking and espionage; they also like
to distribute lies which discredit China to persuade locals to move
abroad. A lot of them look for Chinese women to live with as a
disguise to further their espionage efforts.

Then finally, "" target=
"_blank">People’s Daily reported
today that Baidu and
have launched a campaign with Sina Weibo, “calling on internet
users to expose bad behavior by foreigners in China.”

[Update: Kaiser Kuo, Baidu’s director of
international communications, said this:  “The People’s Daily
story is erroneous. Baidu has launched no such campaign. It was
something done originally on Baidu PostBar but not under official
auspices and we have now removed it.”]

A lot of people do bad things and break the law in China,
regardless of their nationality. But this campaign intends to put
the magnifying glass squarely over bad behavior – whether or not
it’s anything remarkable – so long as the perpetrator is foreign.
It implicitly calls on Chinese to look at foreigners with a
suspicious eye while holstering a smart phone.

Recently ""
target="_blank">I discussed
how the Communist Party uses the
“Century of Humiliation” as the cornerstone of its legitimacy.
Foreigners invaded and defiled China for a hundred years until the
CCP rescued the country from them – so the story goes. The
government stays in the people’s good graces by constantly
reminding them of this period and implying that the country still
isn’t safe from the foreign menace.

I also predicted in ""
target="_blank">that post
that, as the increasingly complicated
power transition draws near, “we can probably expect to see even
more international events covered in China from an angle that
harkens back to the humiliating century. And we might
even see an uptick in coverage of scarcely-newsworthy events that
portray foreigners in China as exploiters or aggressors.”

Trying to consolidate political support by taking a hard-line on
foreigners in the country is hardly unique to China. It works the
same almost everywhere. Foreigners make a perfect “them” to unite
“us” against. They can be scapegoated and harassed without
political liability because they’re too few, too vulnerable and,
well, too foreign to defend themselves. In China, this tactic is a
matter of survival for the authoritarian government.

These recent cases shining the spotlight on bad foreigners
aren’t necessarily direct examples of this tactic though. After
all, it was common citizens who first disseminated the British
pervert and the Russian cellist stories. But both cases raise the
“did the chicken or the egg come first” dilemma. Why did netizens
frame the stories as a “bad foreigner attacking good Chinese” in
the first place?

The subsequent actions by players like Beijing Morning Post and
Yang Rui showed that they have every intention of making sure this
cycle continues. They perpetuate the implicit anti-foreign angle,
thereby assuring future incidents will continue to be framed as
“peaceful Chinese vs. arrogant imperialistic foreigners.” That’s
pretty good for creating very shallow Chinese unity and government
support, but pretty awful for humanity.

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width="1" height="1" />


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