Expat Chinese cannot blame Africa for the woes that befall them

Source:Global Times Published: 2012-11-26 0:25:07

A recent Weibo post by a Chinese businessman in Africa has been reposted many times. It says that many Chinese in Africa are looked down upon or bullied. They even dare not say they are Chinese but claim to be Japanese, South Korean or Vietnamese.

But this seems exaggerated to me. I have been in Africa for a short time, but I find this region has been demonized by our compatriots. They focus on some bad things about Africa, like security problems and crime.

However, I feel the situation in Africa  is much better than in China. The Africans I know rarely run into crime, but our Chinese are all too familiar with the liars and cheaters in China.

My car once broke down, and a local came to help. My friend told me that they'd be happy if I offered money, but it certainly wasn't necessary, and they'd still help. In comparison, we often hear of cases in China where people turn a blind eye to a fallen senior or a drowning child.

It's true that some Africans don't have a favorable impression of Chinese. Many Chinese businessmen don't treat the region as a long-time market. They import substandard goods from China, which only last a short while. How can African people trust and respect Chinese who do this?

Some of the Chinese bring disaster upon themselves in Africa. They flaunt their wealth with wads of cash, or live in places with poor security to save money. And they don't have any sense of obeying the local laws themselves.

Some Chinese businessmen crow about their own misfortunes because they want to appear as hardworking victims in the eyes of the Chinese public.

However, they failed to mention their own responsibilities. As individuals, these Chinese businessmen should deal with their own problems rather than blaming others.

There may be cultural reasons behind the poor impression some Chinese leave on Africans, and vice versa. Chinese abroad tend to cluster together and not communicate with local people.

Many Indians in Africa have successfully assimilated themselves to local society and some even marry locals, but this is very rare for Chinese.

Li Zhen, a Chinese citizen working in South Sudan

Posted in: Viewpoint

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