At last, the Aileen Tang fiasco is over, with her being found guilty of holding the court in contempt for taking photos of the jury during a trial of the 2016 Mongkok protesters. Rather than showing genuine remorse for her ignorance of the laws in Hong Kong, Tang continued to be contemptuous of this city-state’s already ailing judicial system: accusing the system of not being transparent enough in its forbiddance of public photographs being taken in court (which is something that is also forbidden in legal systems around the world, including China), demanding that the magistrate converse with her in Mandarin, even though English and Cantonese are the official languages used in the Hong Kong legal system, providing false personal details such as her address for bail, and refusing to pay that bail. What’s more absurd is that she managed to escape her 7-day jail sentence because she was able to use “time served” for breaching her bail conditions to offset that sentence, and was sent across the border back to China having yet to pay her fines and court costs. Her refusal to see the errors of her ways is more than just the fault of an individual, but a much more pervasive problem common amongst the Chinese.
During her defence, Tang once brought up the fact that she is Chinese, as if that alone can excuse every transgression committed. This attitude is prevalent amongst Chinese in general. Whenever a news report comes up that highlights anti-social behaviours committed by Chinese around the world, the Chinese’s knee jerk reactions have always been that 1) arguing that the offenders in question were targeted because they were Chinese, 2) playing victim by accusing the offended of being a racist. For example, a report that recently went viral was regarding two Chinese women being told to leave by a restaurant in Japan. According to the restaurant staff, the two not only overstayed the time allotted to them as part of the conditions of the all-you-can-eat menu, but that they also made a mess by littering prawn shells all over the floor. The staff member was filmed saying, in Japanese, that he had never seen such a lack of table manners and utter disregard for other patrons at the restaurant. It was reported that the restaurant even refused their payment, just wanting the two women to be away from the restaurant – the cashier even chased behind the two in order to return their money. Yet, rather than reflecting on why they were kicked out, the women posted their experience online, accusing the Japanese staff for discriminating against them because they were Chinese and speaking in Mandarin. Not for one moment did they even consider whether they themselves had been in the wrong.
What happens then if the offended party is Chinese as well? Do the Chinese still act this way? Yes they do. Early in June, a Chinese female blogger by the name of Li Jusi posted her recount in Kyoto, describing how she went around dressed in traditional Japanese yukata in her sightseeing. Li mentioned that on one occasion, she overheard two middle-aged Chinese men making very disgusting and sexist comments about women who wore yukatas. Li recounted how the two men discussed their plan to kidnap and rape one or two of these women in yukata, noting these women would be unable to flee while dressed in such restrictive clothing. Li described how nauseated she felt upon hearing such disgusting remarks made by these guys with an unidentified accent but surely from China. Not long after though, her blog was swamped by other Chinese critical of her and condemning her recount, making claims such as:
“Every country has these low-lives; why are you specifically targeting our country?”
“As there are more Chinese touring Japan, naturally there will be more of these uncivilized people.”
“What you eat and wear all come from your own country; how dare you criticise your own people! If you are so appalled then leave!”
Similar to the incident at the Japanese all-you-can-eat restaurant, hardly any Chinese criticised the two men who made such disgusting remarks. Instead they hounded and pressured the blogger to apologise or delete the post. Li did the latter, or perhaps the blog site censored its posts.
A few weeks back, I was part of my church group’s camp trip. One night, a Singaporean Chinese asked me why I hate the Chinese so much. She naturally came up with the usual defence of “yes, there are Chinese with these problems, but not all of them are like this. Who are you to judge them?” Yet what is going to happen if we become indifferent to these Chinese transgressions, armed with such “non-judgemental” attitude as displayed by this Singaporean Chinese Christian?
Late in May, a British man sent his photographs to the British consulate in Cambodia, describing how he was attacked by a gang of Chinese men while vacationing there. According to other reports online, this British man married a Taiwanese woman, and on one drunken occasion he had the Chinese words 臺灣 (meaning Taiwan) tattooed on his forehead. During his trip to Cambodia, he ran into a group of young Chinese men. Upon seeing the British man’s tattoo, the Chinese men responded with “Taiwan, China”, to which the British man replied “Taiwan, Taiwan”. The gang of Chinese insisted that Taiwan is part of China and demanded the British man to respond in kind. When the latter refused, the gang assaulted him. Being severely punched and kicked, the British man finally relented and said “ok, ok, Taiwan, China. I just want to leave.” When the news broke, many Chinese criticised the British man, accusing him of offending the Chinese people and violating their sovereignty, and claiming he deserved every hit that came to him. The reason why the Chinese can be so brazen in their commentary and their actions is that no one bothers to stand up to the Chinese, all deferring to the “tolerant” attitude displayed by my fellow Christian during the camp trip. The indifference to their gross antisocial behaviours results in the escalation of Chinese aggression, not just in its government and the military, but in their civilian population as well.