Foreign sentiment in China may take a sharp turn to hostility following a string of incidents that sent citizens over the edge. According to Wall Street Journal, anti-foreign sentiment hung in the air and will for a while longer.
The recent incident involved a foreign teacher from New Zealand who allegedly tossed a five-year old girl into a hotel pool. The girl wasn’t hurt while the teacher apologized. But the Chinese saw this as crossing the line soon after a British man and a Russian cellist attacked Chinese citizens on different incidents.
Chinese officials pledged that it would ‘clear out’ illegal foreigners in Beijing in a 100-day campaign. According to state media Xinhua News Agency, the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress adopted a new law which tightens issuing of visas.
Expatriates were subjected to identifications in an indiscriminate manner. In one incident, a bar crowded with foreigners was raided by the police, demanding passports or identity documents. Those who didn’t provide any identification on the spot were detained. American journalist Jacob Trent told CNN he was pulled off his bike by police demanding to see identification, “I have been living here for a decade and yet I still get treated like – and sometimes called – a foreign barbarian”. Foreigners have reported that the visa campaign was only used to win over citizens.