A Foreign Face Does Not Mean Virus

HERE! would like to address the concerns and behaviors shown by Chinese people towards foreigners. We have gotten reports a small number of Chinese showing xenophobic tendencies towards foreigners in Dongguan from fear of contracting COVID-19.

We ask the Chinese do not lower themselves to the recent behavior shown in the West or succumb to ignorance and fear. The foreigners who live here are proud to call Dongguan their home and the people their friends.

Our Editor-in-Chief Ziv Glikman was surprised on the morning of March 12, when making his usual commute on the subway, and other riders backed away when they saw he was a foreigner in fear he was carrying the virus.

“After living here for 16 years I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. I have to remind myself this is just a small percent of people, and it is easy to give way to fear,” Glikman said.

After posting his encounter on WeChat, others commented on similar experiences saying they are surprised by the fearful behavior. Local friends responded by saying they were sad to hear about their encounters and it only represents a small number of the population.

The behavior is starting to imitate what was seen towards Chinese people in the West when the COVID-19 outbreak first occurred. Most who were profiled against were of Chinese or Asian descent and had not traveled to China. The same situation is starting to be seen with foreigners in Dongguan. Most foreigners call Dongguan their home and have lived here for years. This is where they raised their children.

Anyone traveling to China go into self or medical quarantine depending on the country they came from. Highly infected countries, such as Italy, are locked down and not allowing travel. Anyone you encounter who are originally from these countries have been in China for an extended amount of time and have not imported the virus.

Only one imported case was reported, and it came from a Dongguan local who recently returned from Spain. No foreigner has contracted COVID-19 in Dongguan.