A the clash between a foreigner and security guards in Taiyuan caught the attention of Chinese netizens over the weekend, the Weibo hashtag “Foreigner expelled from the park for not wearing a mask” (#老外未戴口罩进公园被驱逐#) which received over 120 million views on Sunday.
The incident happened on August 27, when a stranger allegedly tried to enter a public park without wearing a mask and then clashed with local guards. When they refused him entry to the park, the man sat down and scolded the guards.
The video shows the man giving the finger to one of the guards, saying, “Fuck you, sir. You’re a racist.”
The guard repeatedly asks the man to leave, then also asks him to stop speaking English: “In China, you speak Chinese.
As some people in the crowd film the incident, others also join in, shouting, “You should wear a mask!
120 million views on Weibo for this video showing an altercation between an unmasked stranger and Taiyuan park rangers, who asked him to leave. The laowai refused, said it was racist and also used the F-word, the guards told him he better speak Chinese in China. pic.twitter.com/iwtwMaAASm
— Manya Koetse (@manyapan) August 28, 2022
On social networks, the incident sparked discussions. While the majority of commentators praised the guards for strictly enforcing the rules, there were also those who sided with the stranger, pointing out that the video showed there were other people in the room too. the park without a mask who apparently had no problems with it.
A popular Weibo blogger named Wuzhishuo (@吴志硕) wrote, “Judging from this video alone, there are many people who don’t wear masks, and the security guards don’t care, but they care. especially from this stranger. The foreigner is not wrong to protest against this. Second, what is the logic of having to speak Chinese in China? Do we also have to speak Thai when we go to Thailand?
After this blogger was criticized for taking this stance, they explained why they wrote this, giving four reasons why the stranger wasn’t necessarily wrong.
First, Wuzhishuo argued, the guards appeared to deliberately designate the foreigner not to wear a mask when there were also Chinese people who did not. Second, it was unreasonable for the guards to require the foreigner to speak in Chinese, as it would also anger and insult the Chinese people if they were asked to speak the language of every country they visited. Third, writes the blogger, there is a general tendency to always blindly side with the Chinese whenever there is a conflict involving a foreigner, regardless of the situation. “It’s not patriotism,” Wuzhishuo wrote, “On the contrary, it tarnishes China’s international image.”
Finally, the blogger mentions that the measure of wearing a mask when entering the park itself is also “meaningless” since no one cares if people take off their mask once they have entered. the park. “This kind of control is just for control,” writes Wuzhishuo, “These meaningless epidemic prevention measures are worth condemning, whether taken by a Chinese or a foreigner.”
There are more people on Weibo who – in part – agree with this position, writing: “The mask is an epidemic prevention measure, but asking someone to speak Chinese is unreasonable”.
But many people disagree, telling the foreigner to leave and return to their country: “In China, you follow Chinese rules. Is it racism? Wake up! Did you think you were still in the China of a century ago?
This is not the first time a conflict has erupted between unmasked foreigners in China and local Chinese. In Xi’an, a foreign woman who did not wear a mask at the station in 2021 also gave the local staff the middle finger (#外籍女子拒戴口罩冲乘客竖中指#).
As of this writing, the Chinese media that shared Taiyuan’s viral video did not provide further details or background on the incident.
By Manya Koetse
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