American living in China, here for 10 years now. Even before the current tensions, as an American visiting China, you'd be likely to feel like you've stepped into another planet on entering. China is just so utterly different, and if you are non-Asian, you attract a lot of Chinese eyeballs from everyone from young children to Grandpa's, as they are just generally curious about foreigners. Everyone openly refers to you as "foreigner", like "hey look at that foreigner over there". On top of that, they are security conscious here in China. In 10-years in China, I've never found myself in a place where I've felt unsafe. Frankly, having personally been in serious danger in America a few times and further, my little brother got robbed, shot and killed and died in the middle of a street. I can't say the security here in China is a bad thing. The society in China prefers to be secure and have cameras everywhere, and it seems to be working for them.
So, I think those factors I mentioned above can naturally magnify incidents which are probably just going to happen to a foreigner here in China regardless, especially if the foreigner is already a bit concerned about anti-American sentiment. As far as the anti-American sentiment. I can remember it happening a few times and this is probably the worst it's been for Americans. But, I can remember times where anti-sentiment for Japanese appeared much worse. Locally to where I live, some Chinese nationals vandalized a few Japanese cars and stores. I don't feel like it's come close to getting that bad for Americans, yet. And largely, I feel like the Anti-American sentiment from Huawei and trade tension stuff hit a spike a few months ago, and people have pretty much moved on now.
I lived in Taipei for a while - I am a white blonde woman - and everywhere I went kids yelled HEY WHITE LADY. It was, as you describe out of shock as there were few other white women there. I saw none in my time there. I have never felt so safe as I did there, and, because I am a woman, having people stare or comment was nothing new. What was new was that most of the attention was positive and coming from women and children who wanted to come and look at me up close. It was very instructive for me, especially upon return to Toronto. The white men I know who have traveled to Asia all complained/were shocked by the attention because they are not used to it. In this context, alongside the current trade/media-war going both ways, I expect more and more stories like this to counteract the stories of Chinese folks in America being treated differently, tho I would argue they are nothing the same.
It is hard for me to balance this reality with the general fear and paranoia Americans have about everything, especially in another country, especially when that other country is China.
I know your experience is the most likely, but telling people that they most likely wouldn't be subject to civil rights abuses that they think China is all about is almost akin to stepping on their ego.
Two plainclothes officers asked him to go with them to answer questions. They asked him about his diplomatic status and whether he had diplomatic immunity, the people said. They demanded to see his passport, which he refused to show.
What is the best way to deal with something like this? Not that I'm going back to China any time soon. Just from a curiosity standpoint.
A Black Audi has symbolism in China, it means mid grade official at least (Audi beijg in China much longer than anyone else). Normal police don’t have access to that of course, if you see police in a black Audi wearing suits and sunglasses, they are very elite and are often involved in political crimes (Eg Party enforcement).
As an example, normal police in Beijing walk on egg shells since many people have lots of connections to bare. So a bunch of rich kids smoking weed isn’t something they will go near, so those are busted by the Black Audi people (who have strong enough connections to resist whatever).
Follow this advice. If you are working for an American company bribery is a horrible idea and in a situation like this would likely be used to make a case against you. The only exceptions made for bribes is if you feel like your life may be in immediate danger, in which case you are supposed to report the incident immediately to your employer and the local embassy.
The other downside to bribery is if you have money, you become a real target as everyone will start harassing you in exchange for bribes.
This is very short sighted behaviour on the part of China. Clearly world business will avoid the country if they feel their personal security is at risk due to political interference in the judicial system. International supply chains will now seek to avoid China if at all possible.