Publication Date

1999

Abstract

This paper explores the origins and evolution of a xenophobic tendency towards Westerners in China, and the effects on current Chinese-foreign relationships. My interest in this topic arose out of my own problematic experiences as an 'outsider' living in China. China's historic distrust of foreign ideas and people and belief in its own cultural superiority has limited its scientific and technological growth. Its future growth will depend on its willingness to explore a 'real' open-door policy where the best of Western concepts are integrated into Chinese society. In searching for answers to the above questions, I have used a combination of research methods: a literature review, in-depth interviews with intercultural couples, and on-the-spot interviews with 'average' Chinese people. I also have added some of my own experiences as a two-year resident in China. An historical analysis has given me an in-depth understanding of the context under which foreign-Chinese relationships developed, while conducting interviews has given me a detailed picture of real-world foreign-Chinese relationships. Intercultural couples were an especially useful source of information as they represent a microcosm of the greater context of foreign-Chinese relationships. This paper is intended to be the basis for a documentary film which targets two audiences: the Canadian public and the Chinese expatriate community along with certain eclectic Chinese circles. It is my hope that this documentary can act as a catalyst for discussions between foreign and Chinese communities in China and begin to breakdown the historical stereotypes and distrust that dominates their relationship.

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