Beijing Subway Passenger Bloodied by Expat Sparks Angry Backlash Against Foreigners
Days before news about a "Chinese" passenger being forcibly dragged off a United Airlines flight caused massive outrage in China, Beijingers were already angry over an incident of their own in which a Chinese man was victimized by yet another foreigner.
Chinese news reported last week that a male expatriate made a "wanton" attack upon a Chinese subway commuter on Beijing Metro Line 10 during the Thursday morning rush hour.
Photos of the incident show the male Chinese victim with a stream of blood trickling down his nose standing next to a Caucasian man whose face is spattered with blood.
After boarding the subway at Songjiahuang Station, reports say the Caucasian man sat on the floor near the subway door with a Chinese female companion. This caused one Chinese man to intervene, asking them in English to stand up. According to an eyewitness named Ms Li, this caused an argument between the two men.
"The arguing began at around 8.20am at Panjiayuan or Jinsong Station. Commuters could not get on the train because the young foreign man was blocking them by sitting down," Li told Sohu News. "The young Chinese man wanted them to get up, but it seemed like the young foreign man did not want to heed his advice, and was not happy."
At some point between Jinsong Station and Shuangjing Station, the argument turned violent when the male expat "first took off the Chinese man's glasses, then punched him," said Li. The physical outburst caused an angry reaction from the other commuter on the train who did not let the foreigner exit the train, and instead blocked him at the end of the carriage.
Published photos of the incident do not show the actual attack, instead showing the unidentified male expat with his palms facing outward, as if to explain he did something accidental.
Chinese news reports commend the victim, described as "our countryman" with a "face full of blood," for not retaliating against the male expat in spite of his anger. However, a short video taken at the scene show the victim throwing a half-hearted punch over his left shoulder towards the Caucasian man's face, who quickly moves his head to dodge it (seen at 0:36 of the video; shown below).
However, Li said this was not a retaliatory act.
"It was only because the young foreigner touched his body," explained Li. "It seemed the young Chinese man didn't like to be touched."
Li also revealed the victim used racial slurs against the expat, calling him "white trash" and saying derogatory things to him like: "Can't speak Chinese but come to China anyways, and now you come onto a Chinese subway to attack a Chinese person. Are you here just here to pick up girls?" Additionally, Li said the spatter of blood on the Caucasian man's face is the victim's, who sprayed it there.
Li said the foreigner tried to apologize after the incident, but still thinks the incident was outrageous, saying: "The incident itself wasn't that big a deal, but assaulting another person is an wanton act."
After numerous commuters including the victim reported the incident to police, the pair of men were escorted off the subway at Guomao Station by police, who are said to be conducting an investigation. The unidentified Chinese companion, identified by Chinese news as both a "woman" and a "girl," had disembarked one station earlier at Shuangjing.
Even though clearly not a fist fight and may have possibly have been an accident, the sight of a Chinese man bloodied by a foreigner upset Chinese netizens as seen from their Internet comments.
One person wrote: "This is how base and crass foreigners really are. By what right do people have in always calling Chinese base and crass?" Another referred to China's "Century of Humiliation" by writing: "Is (Beijing) an occupied territory?"
Chinese netizens were out to draw blood for themselves by saying things like: "My goodness. Foreigners are so reckless and wanton on Chinese territory. Foreign running dogs!!" and: "Severely punish the foreign instigator!"
The concept of foreign supremacy as defined by race was a common theme in Internet responses. One person wrote: "Cops in China are always inclined towards white pigs," while another wrote: "First tier: foreigner. Second tier: officials. Third tier: ethnic minorities. Fourth tier: Han majority."
There's a self-defeating attitude among some Chinese when it comes to foreigners. As one person wrote: "In this situation (when fighting with a foreigner), if he wins he'll go to jail, but if he loses he'll go to the hospital."
One person even referred to a hit TV show by writing: "Hit back! Do it in the name of the people!"
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