Pandemic leads to suspected unwelcome treatment to foreigners

By Wan Lin and Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2020/3/31 23:08:40 Last Updated: 2020/4/1 0:20:35

At a restaurant owned by foreigners in Yiwu, East China's Zhejiang Province, a waiter talks to his friend. As the COVID-19 outbreak subsided, the night market in Yiwu resumed operations. Photo: Yang Hui/GT

A few foreigners who have enjoyed staying in China for years recently complained about what they said unhappy or suspected discrimination experiences, for reasons they suspect to be related to COVID-19 pandemic in foreign countries.

China on Monday reported 48 new infections, all from overseas, bringing total imported cases to 771. Nearly 60,000 new cases were confirmed outside China the same day. 

Canadian blogger David Klinck, who has been living in Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province, for 16 years, said he noticed that some people changed their paths to avoid getting close to him.  

An employee at a car wash refused to wash Klinck's car on Friday, which made him feel "not very good." 

"But I could understand it was the fear," he told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Klinck finally got served after he told the employee that he had been in China for a long time and had finished the quarantine period after returning from Canada. 

He said some of his friends have had similar experiences recently, which has "become a little bit of a problem."

 Matthew, a 72-year-old Australian national who is a retired English teacher at a university in Beijing, was stopped from going into a restaurant by a waiter on Sunday even after explaining he had never left China since the outbreak. 

 "I came to Beijing in the 80's and I have never experienced things like this before," Matthew said, adding that he and his students managed to enjoy their meal at another welcoming restaurant. 

In the meantime, Klinck noted, "such incidents have been rare," and "99 percent of Chinese are very nice and friendly to foreigners here."  

Analysts said that Chinese people generally are hospitable and some even give foreigners "extra attention," but the pandemic has give rise to a mixed reaction to foreigners. 

Some foreigners violating Chinese epidemic-control rules or given meticulous care during quarantine have also triggered discontent over their "super-national treatment."

A community in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, had its workers buy fresh bread and barrels of purified water, and help take some 20 deliveries to the doors of foreigners under quarantine every day, media reported. 

In another case, Children of a Danish diplomat were caught walking their dogs without wearing masks when they were supposed to be staying home for quarantine, triggering many to criticize their disdain of Chinese laws and demanding the same measures for foreigners when they are in China.

Meng Xiatian, a Beijing resident, told the Global Times he would tend to avoid foreigners these days but would not say he is discriminative. "It's not discrimination. What if they were returnees from hard-hit places but bypassed quarantine requirements?"

It is unwise to treat people differently due to biased judgment. Foreigners should obey the rules and we should treat them friendly at a time of crisis when everyone should be united to fight the virus, a net user posted on Sina Weibo which got many likes. 

Posted in: SOCIETY

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