03 July 2010

Racist Chinese?

Dear TCG

I'm a British Born Chinese my parents are originally from Kowloon. I get the impression that my parents give to me that they are racists, not just against clearly different people but against other Chinese people too especially mainland Chinese people, Taiwanese and other Southern Asians whats the deal?

Is what I am experiencing normal?


Dear Chan

Chinese are prone to racism as much as any other ethnic group. I found that Chinese like to differentiate themselves as Hongkies vs Mainlanders growing up. And this view remains to this day as HK people consider themselves to be a tier above the mainland Chinese. And consider the mainlanders to be bumpkins or terrifically backwards. This infects the expats too as BWG makes un-flattering remarks about mainlanders sometimes. Those that venture out of the Gweilo ghetto of the mid-levels that is.

Though some of them are completely deserved of course, as stereotypes are often grounded in some form of reality. The way Mainland Chinese are incredibly wasteful. You hang around Beijing and you see cars with their air conditioners on yet the windows open. Or way back in Hangzhao when I managed to stay there for a week. The guy I lived next door to was nuts.

In winter he would turn the heating on, nothing abnormal about this right? But he'd just twist the thermostat to maximum. Still nothing wrong with that either. Yet when it got too hot he turned on the air conditioner again to maximum and again when the air conditioner lost the battle opened the windows. Some very strange behaviour is reported by others too when they open windows and turn on the air con unlike us westerners with high electricity bills that shut the windows and keep the cold air in. And yes this is Representative of what I've seen in China

Anyway as an anedote from one of my friends "As I began working overseas, I saw segregation between Malay, Singaporeans and Hongkies, while South and North China are prejudiced towards each other, and don't get me started vs Taiwanese!"

But all of Chinese (esp gals) tend to extend otherwise unjustified high-regard for Gwailo. White supremacy. Likewise, anybody darker-skinned (Indian, SE Asian, black) are lower-class. It's like their world is monochrome.

Answer then is: Yes they are racist, but this is simply human nature tbh.

However I don't think it's limited to a Chinese phenomenon. People of the same race but from different geographical locations always have hatred and rivalries.

In the UK for example:

  • Mancunians (Manchester) and scousers (Liverpool) hate each other.
  • Geordies (Tyne Side) and Scots hate each other.
  • People from London seem to hate everyone north of the Watford gap, etc.
  • Aussies always rip the British. British hate Americans etc.

  • Sunni Muslims hate Shiite Muslims
  • North Koreans and South Koreans hate each other even though they are the same people.

Even in Hong Kong itself. The Cantonese hate the Hakka but hate the Mainland Chinese more.

The Mainland Chinese hate us S.A.R types as we come over as snooty cunts to them.

The Hakka pretend to be Cantonese but bitch about the Cantonese in private and hate some of the Mainland Chinese.

Curiously there are even more subdivisions.

The Hakka are split between the fishermen and the farmers, they used to hate each other and celebrate completely different festivals. While my dad's village the village next door hated them and vice versa.

But that's just human nature.


  1. Still, the stereotypes hold a kernel of truth.

    I'm an ABC: American Born Chinese. I used to think that maybe mainlanders aren't all that bad. Well, the ones I've met at school seem decent....their language usage is kinda rough, what they use daily would qualify as vulgar/low-class in Hong Kong language.

    When I went to Hong Kong with my mother to visit some family members, there occurred 2 incidents that gave me a pretty bad impression of mainlanders.

    1. As we were walking down the street my mother was suddenly pulled back by a mainlander woman. Yes, pulled back, as in suddenly jerked back. She immediately asked for directions in that Beijing accent, and after receiving them all she said was "Xing!" C'mon, maybe a "thank you"?

    2. After a hard day's shopping we returned to our hotel; my mother and I were holdings lots of shopping bags, and this mainlander businessman-looking guy walks in. He's holding nothing, but he gives us a glare and orders, "PRESS 9!" Of course, my mother explodes and gives him a tirade that he should be the one pressing buttons since we're all weighed down by bags.

    I've noticed that there's an increasing number of mainlanders in TVB's more recent TV dramas; I personally like Fala Chen.

  2. I wouldn't kick Fala out of bed on a cold night!

  3. Its not human nature to hate and mistreat people just based on what they are, and nothing that they've done. If so you can say that what Hitler, The KKK, Neo nazis, et al, are did and are doing is just typical behavior. Just because many people do it, doesn't make it normal. Just like the other deviances like theft, murder, rape, etc. are normal just because many people do it.