A newly proposed law in China that makes it slightly easier for foreigners to get a permanent residence or green card was met with racial backlash online.
The proposed law seeks to attract workers skilled in science and technology, people with large investments in the country and expertise to fill shortages in the economy, by making it slightly easier for foreigners to become permanent residents of China. It allows individuals with high levels of education or wage income, combined with three to eight successive years of work experience to apply for foreign permanent residency.
“From this exposure draft and this broadened eligibility criteria, we see the intent of the Chinese government to attract more foreign talents through a long-term working period in China,” Dezan Shira & Associates, a professional services firm helping companies do business in Asia, recently told China Briefing.
The new regulations — released for public opinion on Feb. 27 — were expected to be finalized following the conclusion of the public consultation period on March 2, but after days of online fury, officials took the proposal back for revisions.
The proposal was met with a slew of racial comments and sexual panic, “with men vowing to defend Chinese women from immigrants, notably from Africa,” the Economist reports.
“Several young women vowed to leap from the Great Wall rather than marry a foreigner,” it states.
The explicit conversations went on for days on Weibo, a widely used Twitter-like site in China, under a hashtag translating to “regulations on the administration of permanent residence of foreigners,” before it was quickly banned on the service by the country’s censors, according to CNBC.
It then picked back up on Twitter under the same hashtag with racist and demeaning language, with many geared toward Blacks and specifically Africans, but the U.S.-based social media company says many of those tweets do not violate its policies. Some still remain online.
One tweet reads: “Firmly oppose the regulations on the administration of permanent residence of foreigners. Chinese people don’t need igger. You don’t need to say “I’m Chinese” in poor Chinese. African cotton garden needs you to go back.”
Another states: “Want to mix Chinglish? Get more expats into China. Open up that green card policy. Let both of ’em talk. Freely. For longer.”
Others were more under control.
Twitter’s hateful conduct policy states users “may not promote violence against or directly attack or threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.
“We prohibit targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category,” it reads.