Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Race and China

[Cross-posted from Accumulating Peripherals]

I don't want to get into the general discussion on race in China, an old one on China blogs which has been done to death here, here, here, here, and here. However, this translation by Roland Soong of a story on today's protests in Guangzhou following the death of an African trader trying to evade the police, perhaps the first instance of an anti-government protest by foreign immigrants in modern China, is certainly big news as far as I am concerned. The idea of foreigners in China, who make up only a very small number of mainly short-term residents who do their best in the main to avoid any trouble is quite extraordinary.

The fact that it involved the African population in Guangzhou, who from my experience are mainly small-time traders resident on short-term visas (i.e., working illegally), and who suffer all the disadvantages of being a foreigner in China without most of the advantages enjoyed by those obviously from rich countries do, is not surprising. The violent language used in the article to describe their protest is not supported by the photographs, but typical of many articles written about foreigners, especially black people. I will be especially interested to see how the people at the demonstration are treated by the authorities, because whilst this kind of thing has happened at least once in most countries with immigrant populations, race relations (rather than trying to subsume all races into a single Chinese race) is an entirely new thing in China which the authorities may be unprepared for. Some may be inclined to find proof of Chinese racism in this story, all I will say is that Emmanul Egisimba is just as dead as Amadou Diallo, Steven Lawrence, or Zyed Benna and Bouna Traoré, and it will be the response of the authorities which will show their true attitude, especially if they choose to simply deport those who protested.


Anonymous said...

It is common knowledge that the Chinese, (and East Asians in general) as a people, commit the fewest violent crimes per capita of any group in the world.

It is also common knowledge that Africans, be they rich African Americans or South African, have the highest murder, rape, robbery, assault, etc rates in the world.

The Chinese are by far the least racist people on the planet, but they are also not politically correct to the point where they let Africans get away with crime simply because they're African.

Likewise, the Chinese have a long history of "race relations" with regards to Indo-European invaders and enroachers in the West (Tocharians) and Austrics to the South (Baiyue).

Their "race relations" generally went well enough, and as a result both of those groups have more or less been absorbed into their neighboring East Asian groups.

Gilman Grundy said...

Err . . . yeah . . . did someone at the Chinese branch of the KKK just link to this site or something? I mean, how do you go from saying "Chinese aren't violent, but Africans are naturally violent" to saying "by the way I'm not a racist . . ."

Looney tunes.

Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

See: Monoamine oxidase A. "Africans" are not naturally violent, but among the "African" group you're more likely to find people who are genetically predisposed to crime.

Keep in mind, they are a minority in all groups.

This is not really racism, just an incomplete science I suppose. The various races are not the same, the differences aren't just in skin tone and facial features.

Anonymous said...

That is to say many of them are simply complaining about police action against criminals and turning it into a race thing to extort the general Chinese population into giving them favor.

It's nonsense. Many whites do the same thing in Japan, China and Korea.

BB said...

I do not think it has anything to do with race or racism.
Any foreigners in China is supposed to comply with Chinese law. The Chinese police will check a foreigner's visa to ensure he/she stays in China legally.
The foreigner was trying to evade the police, and he jumped down from the 3rd floor to escape from check. Later on a lot of foreigners walked on the street to demonstrate to protest against the Chinese government.
Bear in mind, even the Chinese people are strictly controlled by their laws and regulations about demonstration.
You can't expect any satisfied results when it comes to anti-government demonstration or activities in China, no matter where you come from, or if you are Chinese or not.