Train Wreck: Foreigner Abusing Chinese Woman Sparks Web Fury
Following last week's incident in which British guy on a tourist visa was caught on video allegedly sexually assaulting a Chinese girl and beaten up for his troubles, and this week's announcement of a 100-day crackdown on "illegal aliens" (thanks, Xinhua), this is the last thing foreigners in Beijing (or anywhere in China) need ...
A video of a foreigner taunting and verbally abusing a middle-aged Chinese woman on a train is now doing the rounds on video sites, predictably (and let's be honest, understandably) inspiring vitriol from netizens. The inevitable "human flesh search" has identified the man as the Russian-born lead cellist for Beijing Symphony Orchestra, but it hardly matters where he comes from. When things like this happen, we're all likely to be tarred with the brush marked "laowai barbarian." And right now, all of us foreigners can do without that.
Here's the video below, and to help you make your own mind up on how bad Mr. Cellist's misdemeanors are, a transcript follows.
And here's what was said. For about the first minute of the video:
Chinese woman: "Take your feet down.”
Foreign man: "Very comfortable, do that again. Oh, you're giving me a massage. Very comfortable. Do that again.”
Chinese woman: "Shameless, you shame your mother. You're shaming your country. Take your feet down.”
Foreign man: “Oh, very good, very good.”
Chinese woman: “Take your feet off my seat. Get them off, get them off, get them off.”
Chinese woman: "Go to hell, you are a disgrace.”
Around the 0:52 mark, the foreign man calls her a "f***ing idiot.” He proceeds to tell her that she’s "mental.” Other train passengers tell the woman: “It’s not worth it. Don’t get angry with him.”
Foreign man: “What the f*** are you yelling about, what the f*** are you yelling about?”
Chinese woman: “I have a problem?”
A police officer arrives on the scene around the 1:40 mark. He tells everybody, "Fighting is not right.” More police are called. Then, around the 2:25 mark:
Chinese woman: "I was sitting there, and he put his feet up so high. I told him to take them down and he didn’t. He swore at me.”
Police Officer #2: "The foreigner did?”
Police Officer #1: “There must be a language barrier. You can’t communicate with him.”
Chinese woman: "There’s no language barrier. How was he able to swear at me?”
Police Officer #2: "What exactly did he say?”
Around the 3:00 mark, the police turn their attention to the foreigner:
Police Officer #2: "Where are you going?”
Foreign man: "Beijing. There’s no problem. I don’t know what happened.”
Police Officer #2: "What happened earlier? Did you swear?”
Police Officer #2: “You didn’t swear? No? You don’t understand?”
Police Officer #2:”What do you do in Beijing? Do you teach?”
Foreign man: "I play the cello.”
Police Officer #2: "Cello? Are you sure you're not a ballet dancer? I thought you were a ballet dancer.”
Police Officer #2 [to the Chinese woman]: ”Don’t waste your energy, lady. It’s fine for him to keep his legs high – he’s an artist.”
We can argue this away, of course. Just a small incident on a train. The guy was perhaps caught in a bad moment, maybe he was having a bad day. Maybe he's actually just an idiot. But it doesn't work. The fact is, the more videos like this that come to light (remember the Canadian guy losing his rag trying to buy a train ticket?) featuring foreigners acting like arrogant clowns, or worse, the more likely it becomes that this country will become a less and less enjoyable place for us to live. And you never know who's watching, listening or filming on their smartphone. Think about that next time you get close to losing your temper with a taxi driver. I'll be trying to keep my mouth shut next time a referee makes a bad decision when our team's playing at ClubFootball's 5-a-sides.