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Q: How does your city residents generally treat foreigners?

I am curious as I hear different cities have different attitude towards foreigners. 

 

For example, I heard that Zhengzhou generally isn't too kind to foreigners. I also used to live in a city near Shanghai called Changzhou and they weren't very nice to foreigners overall. Tianjin is pretty good for a larger city.

 

I am in a smaller city (Yuncheng, Shanxi) and people here are actually quite nice to foreigners. Yuncheng is a lower tier city but has things like Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, the speed train goes through here from Beijing and luxuries that a larger city offers. 

 

However, there are not many foreigners so you still kind of get the star treatment but it is more curiosity and admiration than anything. Locals are generally quite nice and go a bit further to be helpful to foreigners. There are jerks but generally I would say this is a foreigner friendly city, however... the level of people that speak English here is quite low. 

 

In this city, there are foreigners from all places but because a group of South African guys came here early on they sort of tainted the reputation of black people. Drugs and sleeping with students that circulated through the city... nice guys but had a little too much fun. 

 

How about the city where you live? What is the general attitude towards foreigners and does it change based on nationality or skin color? 

 

5 years 49 weeks ago in  Relationships - China

 
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Suzhou... Overall people will leave you alone, with a medium level of stares. I always have the occasional 'HAAALLLLLLLOOOOO teeheehee', on a monthly basis. I remember, 2 or 3 times, I did not have the 2 rmb for the bus, only a 5 rmb or 10 rmb bank note, and a good Samaritan put me out of my trouble. When asking my way, people tend to go away from me with an embarrassed face, despite me asking in Mandarin (I'm 170cm and look really tame). In the places I go often for eating, even after 3 years, the people will look at me eating like a zoo animal and comment "ho, he took a spoon", "ho, he took some spicy sauce", "ho, he did not come with his wife", and make generic comments about Westerners. Despite me talking gently in Mandarin with them a couple of time.

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5 years 49 weeks ago
 
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  Said it wayyy too many times to want to say it again, but i'm gonna; in the nine years i've been here and the five cities i've lived in (Shenzhen, Liuzhou, Guilin, Beihai, Nanning) i've always been given a very good impression of the Chinese overall. Nobody's ever f***ed with me, any trouble i've had i've caused when i'm drunk, nobody makes snide comments, at least not when i'm in earshot, I get some suspicious looks but nothing that bothers me that much, and when i'm friendly (which I try to be but my slightly moody temperament often gets the better of me) people are pretty much always friendly in return. It's for this reason i'm often very confused by the amount of negativity I hear on this forum toward the Chinese, but each of us is entitled to their own opinion and mine is still a positive one.

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5 years 49 weeks ago
 
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Friendly people and they try to always be in contact with me. When they get to see you more often anywhere around, they get used with you and even ignore you, which I find it so good. Had some issues but I had to learn that it was my fault, most of the times. It's impossible to have problems with the people here if you have a friendlier attitude. 

 

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5 years 49 weeks ago
 
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Suzhou... Overall people will leave you alone, with a medium level of stares. I always have the occasional 'HAAALLLLLLLOOOOO teeheehee', on a monthly basis. I remember, 2 or 3 times, I did not have the 2 rmb for the bus, only a 5 rmb or 10 rmb bank note, and a good Samaritan put me out of my trouble. When asking my way, people tend to go away from me with an embarrassed face, despite me asking in Mandarin (I'm 170cm and look really tame). In the places I go often for eating, even after 3 years, the people will look at me eating like a zoo animal and comment "ho, he took a spoon", "ho, he took some spicy sauce", "ho, he did not come with his wife", and make generic comments about Westerners. Despite me talking gently in Mandarin with them a couple of time.

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5 years 49 weeks ago
 
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in daqing they treat us fairly well.  there is only about 50 foreigners in this city, so we are quite few and far between.  i personally think we do get preferential treatment because there aren't many of us.  99.9% of the Chinese i have met have left me with a good impression.. but as always, that .01% is what you remember and hold on to the most. 

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5 years 49 weeks ago
 
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Shenzhen is great, 70% western, people are open and cool..

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5 years 49 weeks ago
 
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I have lived in Suzhou over 4 years now. I lived in SIP (modern district with your Subway sandwich shops, Starbucks, Burger King, western restaurants) most of the time. There are lots of foreigners and you can always find an English menu. The novelty of a white face has warn off and I feel I was treated well, but not particularly special. I moved across town to Mu Du because I wanted something a bit different. They don't see a lot of foreigners in this part of town, so there are many more stares and a lot of curiosity. It is a much poorer area and there is some palpable resentment especially from the 20-35 year old males when I am out with a lovely girl.

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5 years 49 weeks ago
 
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Here in Kunming we get left alone for the most part. In Handan Hebei, different story, constant haaaaallllloooooo's and laowai! Nice people, but they had led a very sheltered life.

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5 years 49 weeks ago
 
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I live in a glorified regional capital. A city of 1-200,000 in Sichuan province. It's a wealthy province with good food and some cultural heritage. The people are very middle class, obsessed with posturing and facesaving. Outside of Chengdu, foreigners are very rare, so I make it a habit of speaking to each one I met (9 over the course of nearly 2 years, and most of them weren't staying long). I do get stared at a lot, which doesn't sit well with my intovert personality. But I've come to realize that there is little realization on their part of how offensive staring at foreigners is. True, they don't like being stared at either, but they honestly don't know that we are people like them with feelings. It's a strange dichotomy they have been indoctrinated with, which results in a form of unconscious discrimination without malice. I've learned to accept it as par for the course. The peopel are actually very kind to me, and I sense good intentions from almost every local I encounter. They either mind their own business, or want positive interaction but are unable to do so. I'd say the people here might be among the most welcoming one could hope for in China, and I do feel bad when cultural fatigue causes me to get irritated at them. But that's why I vent on these boards,rather than at people in person. One thing that China reinforces in me: Judge people by their actions, not their words or opinions. It probably helps that I can't speak much Chinese, heheheh.

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5 years 49 weeks ago
 
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Dongguan is pretty nice towards foreigners, only a few times in the street you see people staring but if you are in the outer towns then it's a different story.

 

In my wifes hometown in Hubei it's very strange as I am the only foreigner but nobody pays any attention, I think I'm just so unique that it passes them straight by as it's unexpected!

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5 years 49 weeks ago
 
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Wuhan is not great. People will stare and will take pictures and video of you when they think you are not looking. I caught a guy videotaping me when I was asleep on subway. They will push and stereotype you. However the college students here in Wuhan are very friendly and treat me to everything like dinner, movies, etc.

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5 years 47 weeks ago
 
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It's hard to say, since it depends on what you are comparing it to. If we're talking about generalities, Nanjing residents (and I assume you mean Han Chinese residents, since there are plenty of residents who are Westerners, such as me) only sometimes exhibit the overt racism. There have been beatings of Westerners, but this is rare. Mostly, you'll have guys trying to show how tough they are in front of their friends or girlfriends/wives. They'll call out racial slurs ("Hello, laowai", and the like), sometimes throw in a "Get out of China" in broken English, but shrink back when challenged. 

 

The low level racism is pretty common among most people, referring to people as "foreigners", often based on ethnicity, and having the general "Us vs. Them" view. They also have very different ways of treating people based on skin color and ethnicity. Yellow people (especially Han) are assumed to be "close enough", not really foreign, even if they are British or American, while white or black people (regardless of their country of origin) are definitely "one of those people".

 

Still, there are plenty who do get it, mostly the younger generations. When I explain that, back in my home country, "foreigner" is considered a rude term, and rarely used, and especially when it comes to ethnicity (we wouldn't say someone "has a foreign face"), some people do realize that if they actually were outside of China and the comfort of 95% of the people looking like them, and sharing the same nationality, they probably wouldn't like to be referred to as "foreign". When you're born and raised in xenophobia, it's a pretty big step to put yourself in someone else's shoes. 

 

 

To answer the question, it depends on the comparison. Compared to the Polish, American, or British cities I lived in, Nanjing treats non-Chinese (and especially minorities) pretty poorly, though better than 1950s Alabama, or a rally of the British National Party, and probably better than some cities in China.

 

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5 years 47 weeks ago
 
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Its a mixed bag here in guangdong.  Overall the cantonese couldnt care less about foreigners, polite when you interact with them. Generally super friendly.

 

Lots of migrant workers, who are kind of two faced.  Super super friendly if you are in their face. But if they are across the street then they become dicks.  Never had them say rude things directly, just staring and picture taking and the annoying things like that. 

All of this is if I am alone.

If I am with my wife, I detest migrant workers. Super rude. 

Overall Guangzhou is great for foreigners and shenzhen city center is too. Its just when you leave the city center youll run into problems.

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5 years 47 weeks ago
 
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Dongguan most people treat friendly.

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5 years 46 weeks ago
 
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My experience has been that Chinese people are friendly and welcoming.  In social surroundings they are terrific company, open and generous.

Sometimes the double takes while I'm in a restaurant are very funny.

 

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5 years 46 weeks ago
 
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It's 50/50 here in Shanghai, it can be much like everywhere else in China. None of the locals look at me as a foreigner so I sought of blend because I look and am half Asian, but my girlfriend on the other hand has had a few oldies give her a stare and throw an apple core at her (not joking).

 

I was once called a "Japanese dog" because I came back to SH once with a tan, but besides that, and 3 job interviews (which all coincidently were found through echinacities haha) I haven't been treated that unfairly.

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5 years 46 weeks ago
 
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Overall, GZ treats foreigners really well in my experience.  There are heaps of us here from all over the world, so locals are quite nonchalant about foreigners, but are more than open to talking and making friends with you (especially if you have a good sense of humor and can speak some Chinese or some Cantonese).

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
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Guangzhou and Guangdong overall treat foreigners very well, people are too busy to stare at you and when they do it never last more than a few seconds, in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and a little less but still true in Dongguan or Foshan people are used to see foreigners.

 

I lived in Beijing, where the population is mostly made up of immigrants from the old Manchu territories, god these people are rude and crude, I don't know if it's the cold weather or what but I can't stand the rudeness of people from North-East China.

 

I also lived in Sichuan, people there are very laid back and can stare during minutes at us because foreigners are still a rarity over there, Sichuanese are friendly but petty crime a concern over there, my bike was stolen twice and I caught 5 people trying to pickpocket me in the crowded subway.

 

Overall Guangdong is where I have been best treated in China so far, I like it when people mind their own business instead of minding mine.

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
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I have lived in some towns on the north of china and overall if they can get some benefit from you they are nice or if they can help you without any effort otherwise they dont care.

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5 years 25 weeks ago
 
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The same way they would treat a kangaroo in the zoo.

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5 years 23 weeks ago
 
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I am in Changchun in the cold far northeast.  Apart from a few Germans at the VW factory, there are not many foreigners here and they don't mix with locals.  I can count all the foreigners I have seen over the last few months on my one hand.  I found people in general to be curious, as they don't have any experience of interaction with white people.  I often get stared at, not only because of my ethnicity, but because I am tall (1,85m) and this is often more interesting for than where I come from. I am also often mistaken for an American or German, while I am actually a white South African, a country few seem to have heard of.  But this provides an opening to a conversation, explaining where it is, what it looks like, why I am not black, and no, it is not as cold there.

 

 But in general I found people very friendly once they realise I can speak Mandarin and they will not lose face by having to communicate.  They would rather walk away from you if they think you might not speak Mandarin, even the police.  

 

  

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5 years 9 weeks ago
 
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Here in the small seaside city of Rizhao, foreigners are rare and the locals generally treat them like celebrities. Unfortunately, there is an enormous communication barrier here, as the elderly speak Rizhao dialect, the young people speak Mandarin, and I speak English. Many of the students between 16 and 22 speak English, too, but they're too timid to try.

On the downside, the people here are pretty ugly. There must be something in the water or the milk they drink. The men are often over 177 cm, the women have thick mustaches, and many of them are overweight. 

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5 years 8 weeks ago
 
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I should point out that my in-laws were resident of my city and they were never anything but good, kind and generous to me. They invited my into their home, then their family, and accepted my behavior and cultural habits without understanding either. Was was neither unfairly demonized or lionized for no good reason. Most people could not do this. If Chinese culture produced them they are a credit to that culture, and proof that it can create truly remarkable individuals. If they created themselves then that is even more remarkable. I suspect it was a little of both. But what ever it is I should take every opportunity to tell other people how wonderful they are and how grateful I am.

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5 years 8 weeks ago
 
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I'm in Hai'an - it's near Nantong. I just asked the girls that I work with what tier this city is - they laughed and said tier 5, maybe 6,7 or 8. There are 1 million people living in the city and for quite a while I was the only foreigner. Now there are about 4 of us. People stare. Old ladies rummage about in my shopping trolley curious as to what I am buying. I don't mind the attention, it only gets to me if I'm severely hung-over or sick. The only Western style bar let's me pour my own drinks and gives me a hefty discount off my tab. I often get free bottles of whisky. Restaurant owners invite me out for dinner and I never pay, even if I try. Everyone wants to take you out for dinner - which is great. 99.99% of the people are really nice.

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5 years 8 weeks ago
 
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In Jiaxing, I have only seen two other foreigners, we are pretty much stared at and I got kids waving at me or coming over to shake my hand (which is cute). Very few people speak English but mostly nobody does. People do try to help and are in no way mean or anything. 

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5 years 8 weeks ago
 
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People are so nice in Jiangsu. I went to a small town there. I got hugs from ladies invited into stores to drink tea and chat. It was like the 1990s.

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5 years 8 weeks ago
 
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