As many of my fellow China blogger friends shared their stories about being harrassed in China as a female expat, I also wanted to share some experiences I had. It is true that just like other fellow female expats, I believed China to be as safe as can be and that nothing bad could ever happen to me.
Well, that’s not true.
No matter where you live, you always have to be aware of your surroundings! Especially as women, we need to be in control of every situation.
It’s true that harrassment is actually quite common in China. I have read many stories of sexual harrassment on public buses, trains or just in the street. It didn’t seem to be foreign girls who were affected though. I always thought Chinese men felt intimidated and never dared to touch me and I still believe that there are some men who feel that way. Western women are seen more independent and “open” in saying what they think. This probably scares possible harrassers away.
However, there are still Chinese men out there who aren’t “intimidated” and want to experiment with foreign women. Especially drunk Chinese men should be stayed away from.
I once had a strange experience in a club in Guangzhou when I first moved to China. Me and my co-worker (also a white female) used to go out every weekend and have a good time dancing at the clubs and meeting people. One time, a table of mid-aged Chinese gentlement spotted us and invited us over to their table. Knowing that they probably have other intentions, we declined their offer. The men, however, wouldn’t accept our decision and kept bugging us.
They even made a waiter bring us alcohol and wouldn’t let him fail his mission to lure us to their table. We kept declining and making gestures of desinterest but they wouldn’t let go. At some point, we decided to move away from them and then it happened: One of the man aggressively grabbed my arm as I was walking away. I stopped and told him to let go and used full force to get away.
We made it away from them without any harm but this experience was still disgusting. These men see women as an object that they can “use” and “play with”. It’s disgusting.
Another thing expat ladies in China should also be aware of, however, are other foreign men. It seems like white women in Asia don’t only raise attention among locals but also men from the Middle East and Africa in particular. Our fair skin seems especially attracting and “exotic” to them as well.
I had another very creepy incident happen to me and the same girl mentioned above in another club in Guangzhou. We had heard from other expats and online forums that certain bars and clubs in Guangzhou would specifically target foreigners to slip some pills into their drinks and rob them when they pass out. Luckily, no such thing every happened to me or my friend.
One night, however, as we were dancing, I noticed two tall, bald white foreigners approaching us and just standing at the edge of the dancefloor watching us. They looked Russian to me and as if they were part of a mafia or gang. It was the creepiest thing I’ve encountered so far.
I kept dancing but noticed how they were watching us – our eyes even crossed and they didn’t look away. They kept their arms crossed and didn’t show any facial expression. I kept on dancing in hope for them to just go away. But they didn’t. I felt really creeped out and something really bad was about to happen. I told my friend about what was going on and we decided to leave. Luckily, that’s the end of the story.
It’s important to share these stories and to speak up because in the end of the day your experience can help others from harm!
Please, if you ever encountered something strange like me or faced harrassment in China, share it with others!
Fellow bloggers already spoke about their experience:
- Jocelyn from Speaking of China who was sexually harassed by a driver in Beijing
- Zhou JiaYi from Shandongxifu who was almost gang raped in Shenzhen
- Ruth from China Elevator Stories who had a creepy stalker