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Going to the Beijing Olympics? Don't be black!
October 4, 2007 7:47 AM   Subscribe

As Beijing prepares for the Olympics next year it is trying to clean up some of the shadier sides of the city. Apparently, one way of doing this is going to the popular bar street, Sanlitun, and arresting and beating all the men who appear to be of African decent, even if one happens to be the son of a diplomat.
posted by afu (40 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
And to think all they wanted was some motherfuckin' iced tea.
posted by NationalKato at 7:56 AM on October 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


American values make their way to China! Democracy marches on!
posted by Avenger at 8:01 AM on October 4, 2007


Wow, that's nice. I took a few years of Chinese in college, and my teacher once told us about an African foreign student causing riots when he tried dating a Chinese girl.
posted by delmoi at 8:06 AM on October 4, 2007


O'Reilly would never have done this.
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:06 AM on October 4, 2007


This is clearly America's fault.
posted by the other side at 8:17 AM on October 4, 2007


"African dealers in Beijing offer a wide range of drugs, from cocaine to ecstasy..."

So much for the Golden Triangle – I'd have thought that the local drugs would have been good enough to discourage imports, but then the Police and the Government have been tough on these sorts of things.

But the racial profiling thing is new and disappointing – didn't the Opium Wars teach them that it's the 'Bright Eyes' who sell the drugs and not necessarily the folks with the darker complexions?
posted by vhsiv at 8:28 AM on October 4, 2007


I am not going to defend what they did at all, but in that particular area of Beijing, it is almost without exception the African immigrants who are selling drugs. That being said most of the drug traffic in Beijing comes out of the western part of the country and is run by (Chinese) minorities such as the Uyghurs and the Hui.
posted by BobbyDigital at 8:31 AM on October 4, 2007


Another example of just how rampant racism is in Louisiana China!
posted by dwivian at 8:40 AM on October 4, 2007


That being said most of the drug traffic in Beijing comes out of the western part of the country and is run by (Chinese) minorities such as the Uyghurs and the Hui.

... and in pretty much all trashy Chinese teledramas, the drug dealers / kingpins are seedy foreigners. Mostly they're white, but I think that's more a reflection on the available pool of seedy foreign actors.

This also reflects the realities of race and ethnicity in China. The last thing the Chinese government wants is for their own minorities to be portrayed in a negative light on television -- they're desperately trying to keep up a happy multicultural face while the Han majority slowly obliterates China's minorities by out-breeding and out-spending them (particularly in Xinjiang and Tibet).
posted by xthlc at 8:49 AM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


As another random datapoint: it's hilarious to watch Beijing police "clear" the street sellers from the sidewalks.

Everything will be going fine, when suddenly all the vendors gather up their cheap jewelry and knockoff clothes into blanketed bundles and squat next to them, looking irritated. 30 seconds later a cop car will pull up onto the sidewalk, the cops will get out, glare at all the peasants just sitting and smoking next to their bundles, pick one and harass him until he leaves. Then they get in their car and drive off. 30 seconds after that the vendors will unroll their blankets and it's business as usual.
posted by xthlc at 8:51 AM on October 4, 2007


That being said most of the drug traffic in Beijing comes out of the western part of the country and is run by (Chinese) minorities such as the Uyghurs and the Hui.

I don't know much about drugs in Beijing, but elsewhere in the country most of the drugs are run by Han Chinese. The Muslim minorities do seem to have the hook up when it comes to weed and hash, but those aren't really big drugs in China. Ecstasy, speed and especially ketamine are the intoxicants of choice for locals. I was in a club in Wuhan where a high as fuck Chinese guy cut me a line of ketamine in the middle of the dance floor, not that I actually took it...
posted by afu at 8:56 AM on October 4, 2007


vhsiv: But the racial profiling thing is new and disappointing

Indiscriminately beating up people is just the kind of uncivilized behavior I expect from the Chinese government. I mean, it has killed, tortured and suppressed its own people for decades and supports all sorts of f-u regimes all over the world - so why would this surprise you. A bunch of black people getting harassed and beaten up - that would probably only register a Minor Irritate on the Chinese Peoples' Abuse Tolerance Index.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:03 AM on October 4, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is China. China. I count them lucky they didn't just have an armored personnel carrier roll down the street and simply crush everyone.

As far as the authorities are concerned, people are disposable commodities. The folks that were beaten up should consider themselves fortunate that the government values them highly enough to let them slide with a mere beating and confinement rather than mysterious trial and sudden execution.
posted by aramaic at 9:17 AM on October 4, 2007


I am not going to defend what they did at all, but in that particular area of Beijing, it is almost without exception the African immigrants who are selling drugs.

Of course, this is precisely what Manchester City Council/Police did when the city was preparing for the Commonwealth Games. Only there were no Chinese despots or shady African immigrants involved. Mostly just homeless addicts and alcoholics.

The Muslim minorities do seem to have the hook up when it comes to weed and hash, but those aren't really big drugs in China.

What, no opium dens?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:21 AM on October 4, 2007


supports all sorts of f-u regimes all over the world

Kung f-u regimes?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:27 AM on October 4, 2007


Wow, that's nice. I took a few years of Chinese in college, and my teacher once told us about an African foreign student causing riots when he tried dating a Chinese girl.
posted by delmoi at 11:06 AM on October 4


This has been what I have heard also - my Chinese friend's well-to-do grandfather told her she could marry anyone she likes, preferably Chinese, but absolutely never a black person. Apparently he said it with great seriousness.
posted by four panels at 9:37 AM on October 4, 2007


So much for the Golden Triangle – I'd have thought that the local drugs would have been good enough to discourage imports, but then the Police and the Government have been tough on these sorts of things.

I would assume the drugs are not imported all the way from Africa, just that most of the lower level dealers are Africans, in that particular area.

The thing is, while the Chinese government does oppress it's own people this way, what's apparently rare is the harassment of foreigners.
posted by delmoi at 9:43 AM on October 4, 2007




I was shooting a travel show in Thailand a few years ago and we went to a zoo in Pattaya that is very popular with Chinese tourists because of its tiger exhibit. There were plenty of tigers in cages, and some little cubs in a glass enclosure inside. Also inside, in one of the glass cages and dressed in caveman-style animal skins, was a black man. There was a great big scrum of noisy Chinese tourists shoving and pointing and tapping on the glass -- the man just smiled back. It took me a minute or two to understand what I was seeing, and then I had to sit and stare at the scene to really make myself believe it was real.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:15 AM on October 4, 2007


PeterMcDermott writes "Of course, this is precisely what Manchester City Council/Police did when the city was preparing for the Commonwealth Games. Only there were no Chinese despots or shady African immigrants involved. Mostly just homeless addicts and alcoholics."


And Vancouver is going crazy trying to clean up the Downtown East Side in time for their Olympics. No beatings yet that I can recall though.
posted by Mitheral at 10:16 AM on October 4, 2007


Mostly they're white, but I think that's more a reflection on the available pool of seedy foreign actors.

So, you're saying there are some acting-career opportunities there?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:18 AM on October 4, 2007


Racial profiling still exists, especially in China. Quite sad indeed...
posted by fe2dell at 10:35 AM on October 4, 2007


So, you're saying there are some acting-career opportunities there?

Yeah if you are white and you are sociable, eventually someone will put you on TV over there.
posted by BobbyDigital at 11:49 AM on October 4, 2007


Pfft. We’re way ahead of them here in Chicago.

“The slaughtered monks of Burma will haunt China.”
That’s ‘cause they need a permit to reincarnate.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:04 PM on October 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Chairman Mao hates black people.
posted by sour cream at 1:54 PM on October 4, 2007


Chairman Mao doesn't care about black people.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:52 PM on October 4, 2007


Wow, that's nice. I took a few years of Chinese in college, and my teacher once told us about an African foreign student causing riots when he tried dating a Chinese girl.
posted by delmoi at 11:06 AM on October 4


probably the Tiananmen Square Massacre
posted by kolophon at 6:19 PM on October 4, 2007


I thought this Beijing blogger gave the best round-up and some reasonable analysis, including eye-witness accounts.
As others have pointed out above, it's not often the ungloved hand of the bully state here strikes somewhere the partying ex-pat community gets to see, so it comes as a surprise to some. They shot upwards of a dozen villagers dead in Guangdong a couple of years back to little international outcry. The potential for brutality and arbitary abuse is a constant presence in the lives of the poor and marginalised.
posted by Abiezer at 12:27 AM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry but this is yellow journalism. Unbelievable. I saw right through this. written in a menacing tone not unlike someone would tell ghost stories at a campfire. I would not think the citizens of this site would be so easily swayed by trash like this. I just joined two days ago i would hope I see no more of this on here. This could also reaffirm deeply cached prejudices that blacks are a lost race and are a parasite anywhere they are in the world. This is the most careless FPP and most ignorant comments I've read so far. If things continue like this we should expect war no more than 50 years away. and it'll be your kids dying, and for what?. But you know what they're probably doing the same thing , and with recent events in this country regarding the world, Lord knows there's plenty of wood for the fire.
posted by Student of Man at 12:37 AM on October 5, 2007


Student of Man : "I'm sorry but this is yellow journalism."

Racist.
posted by Bugbread at 2:07 AM on October 5, 2007


Student of Man: I'm sorry but that was a careless post. Unbelievable. I saw right through it. I joined years ago and I would hope I see no more of this on here. It could reaffirm deeply cached prejudices that new posters are a lost race and are a parasite anywhere they are in the world. This is the most careless and most ignorant comment I've read so far.
posted by aramaic at 6:59 AM on October 5, 2007


i'm late in on this one, but it's coming from the South China Morning Post, a highly reliable news source.

And no, China 2007 doesn't roll over bar districts with armored cav. For what it's worth, they were actually reporting what was happening in Burma (from a very cautious viewpoint, mind you). I don't think anyone in power thinks what happened in 1989 was a good thing or one that should be repeated.

And this isn't about the Olympics, it's about the National People's Congress about to meet in Beijing and new leaders being picked. There's some pretty tough posturing between the new leadership clique and the old over 5th gen potential successors and politburo positions. Reuters was running a story in their "Oddly Enough" section about push-up bra ad's being banned from TV for the time being.

Everything needs to look nice and tidy before the current power team plays their hand.
posted by trinarian at 11:32 AM on October 5, 2007




My dad is working in China at the moment (on John Woo's ancient Chinese epic, if anyone's interested), and among the other interesting things he's observed as a transplanted Israeli-born American citizen with decades of international travel under his belt was this gem:
[the word] Um… (as in "um… what's it called") in Chinese is [pronounced] niggah. Yes, it's pronounced exactly the same way. It's used very often in conversation, and many Chinese would start a sentence with "Niggah… Niggah…" So, the way I see it, when our athletes come here next year for the Olympics – there's going to be lots of people who'll get beat up.
Ought to be an entertaining summer, eh?
posted by yiftach at 4:07 PM on October 5, 2007


Student of Man: "This is the most careless FPP and most ignorant comments I've read so far."

I LIKE PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SAMMICHES!

That ignorant enough for ya? I can do better.

"I just joined two days ago i would hope I see no more of this on here."

I would hope to see more front page posts about funny webpages and videos of things exploding, and less front page posts about crazy fanatical sociopaths in places of power doing crazy fanatical things with their power.

You see that happening any time soon? NO. I should go to the front page of The Blue right now and picket with a sign: MORE STUPID FUNNY! LESS FUNNY STUPIDS!

I joined MetaFilter over seven years ago and I still don't get my way! You been here all of TWO DAYS? Welcome to the party, pal.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:23 PM on October 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


in Chinese is [pronounced] niggah. Yes, it's pronounced exactly the same way.

No, it isn't - at least not in Beijing dialect. It's pronounced "naygeh," and it doesn't mean anything having to do with race. Loosely translated, it means "that one," and it's used like "um" or "y'know" in American English.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:26 PM on October 5, 2007


Kirth Gerson writes "it doesn't mean anything having to do with race. Loosely translated, it means 'that one,' and it's used like 'um' or 'y'know' in American English."

I think that was covered with this bit:

"[the word] Um… (as in "um… what's it called") in Chinese"
posted by Bugbread at 4:33 PM on October 5, 2007


Oh, is that what that was?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:36 PM on October 5, 2007


Actually, if you want to talk about ethnic-related Olympic goings-on, this kind of thing is likely to be more prominent. A lot of people in China still hold a grudge against the Japanese for WW2.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:27 PM on October 5, 2007


Kirth Gerson : "Oh, is that what that was?"

It took me two or three reads to get it, too.
posted by Bugbread at 2:40 AM on October 6, 2007


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