How to treat foreigners, let nature take its course

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/12 23:50:27

In recent days, several cases and disputes related to foreigners, particularly foreign students, have aroused public concern. In Xuzhou, East China's Jiangsu Province, 19 drug users were detained as a result of an anti-narcotics crackdown. Among them 16 were foreigners, including 9 students. In addition, a video of an international student pushing a police officer, who had stopped him on the street for illegally carrying a person on electric scooter in Fuzhou, was widely viewed online. 

Shandong University's report on allocating foreign students with "study buddies" is particularly controversial. Each international student was allocated three study buddies by Shandong University. Most of the buddies were female, while their international partners were male. While the move has drawn criticism, the university claimed a buddy program for foreign students is common in many Chinese colleges.

There seems to be growing resentment in the domestic media about foreigners being given "super-national treatment" in China. In addition, many voices in the field of public opinion don't understand the increasing number of overseas students funded by China. The perception that China should not spend this money has intensified the public's above-mentioned sentiment.

Chinese society's attitude toward foreigners has been shaped by various experiences in modern times and the new reality of relations between China and foreign countries in recent decades. We have a strong sense that we should treat foreigners the right way. As for what is right, views are inconsistent. 

There are more and more foreigners in China, and their backgrounds are becoming more and more complex. These circumstances are promoting a calm attitude among the Chinese people toward foreign-related matters as occasions of dealing with foreigners are becoming more and more routine.

Interactions with foreigners in China have moved from something novel to an ordinary occurrence. Despite this, interacting with a foreigner is still different from interacting with a fellow Chinese.

We believe that giving foreigners special treatment to help them adapt to a strange society should not be regarded as "worshipping foreignness" in a society with a long history of civilization and a tradition of hospitality. 

Of course, the handles of Chinese social governance must treat foreigners equally and ensure that they do not disrupt China's social order. Once a foreigner commits a crime in China, what should be done is to refer to the local, that is, Chinese law. 

In its treatment of foreigners, Chinese society should gradually rid itself of existing views, and should examine the issue more from the perspective of China's national and social interests. For example, by enrolling foreign students, China is nurturing potential pro-China people from other countries. Increasing their affinity to China may increase long-term returns of this work. Experience suggests it is a high-probability path to advancing national interests.

It should be noted that Chinese society, including Chinese universities, are inexperienced in internationalization, and how to go about it properly is an issue that will have to be dealt with. As China grows stronger, we don't have to worry too much about it. It should be a natural process.

Chinese people used to say that there is no small issue in foreign affairs. Now, the saying should be adjusted: there is no big issue in foreign affairs. Because in essence, China's destiny depends on how well we manage our own affairs, not how others treat us. 

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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