Chinese Study Abroad Students Told Not To Come Home

Recently there are some posts on Tianya BBS where Chinese study abroad students were complaining about Chinese people in China not welcoming them back to visit China because of the swine flu.


From Tianya:

We are study abroad students, not the scourge. Please understand us

We step onto the ground of our motherland after flying over 10 hours, but before we can embark on the train home, we are looked at peculiarly and kept at a distance by the people around us. As H1N1 influenza cases have appeared in domestic China, study abroad students have become the object of netizens verbal and written condemnation, and abusive posts have emerged all over the internet.

On NetEase, responses to news of flu-infected study abroad students returning to the country have reached nearly 3000 posts, amongst them many are criticizing study abroad students. A netizen from Chongqing said, “With things being so nervous right now, what are these people doing running around [coming back to China]? Isn’t it very nice abroad? Why come back during a dangerous time!?” A Shandong Jinan netizen said, “Why blindly stroll for no reason [why come back to China without a good reason], truly immoral! If Shandong people are infected we will not forgive you!” A Jiangxi netizen said, “Faint, really, these people, what are they doing coming back!” A Jiangxi Normal University netizen said, “These rich kids who do nothing will their family members, destroy the nation’s people!” A NetEase Liaoning Huludao netizen suggested, “Immediately seal the ports, who cares what their reason is, none allowed to return without exception”. A Henan Kaifeng netizen said, “Study abroad student dregs must be quarantined at least 7 days upon returning”.

Very disappointed, we are only very disappointed….

A summary of the rest of the long post:

  • The reaction of the China government is excessive.
  • Study abroad students who feel they go overseas to study and return feel betrayed when they are rejected at the door by their own people.
  • Many students must pay a minimum 150 USD fine for canceling the plane tickets they booked for the end of spring semester.
  • Many students must return or overstay their visa.
  • H1N1 is not really a disease that cannot be overcome. Of America’s 3000 cases, onle 3 people have died so the death rate is only 0.1%, which is less than the 1% for ordinary influenza.
  • An American nursing friend said they are not worried about H1N1 because after a few days in the hospital they can return to their lives.
  • America did not discimrinate or exclude Mexico, the birthplace of the swine flu. “My cute American roommate said, ‘they are just a country that unfortunately produced a disease.”
  • “Everyone says that one does not realize how much they love their country until they go abroad. Truly, those who have never left the country cannot understand how difficult life is for study abroad students oversease. We are not the children of some high government officials, we are also not the children of the rich, we are just the children of ordinary people. Within everyone’s heart is an American dream, because there is a better environement, better opportunity, and better education there. For our dreams, we chose to study abroad. However, underneath the beautiful exterior of a study abroad student’s life, the true harsh and lonely feelings are those only we know. Our bodies are abroad, but a Chinese heart always remains with our native soil separated far across an ocean.”
  • In 2008 during the Olympic torch relay, it was study abroad students who waved China’s flag, protected the torch with their own bodies, sang the national anthem, and chanted “One World, One Dream”.
  • In 2008 after the Sichuan Earthquake,  it was study abroad students who held candlelight vigils and solicited donations from strangers in a foreign land.
  • Has the homeland forgotten that it has children far away? So “why are there so many not understanding, opposing, and even too hurtful voices?”
  • Study abroad students do not want to infect anyone, they know the high risks of dense population and will isolate themselves. They also understand the importance of stable economic development for the country, so they will do their best not to trouble their family or motherland.
  • Study abroad students are understanding of the country, so people need to be understanding of the students.
  • “Our economic growth must also drive the growth of our soft power, especially our citizens’ characters. When a country faces the world as a large country, the citizens must also correspondingly demonstrate the openess and generousity befitting a large country. China’s netizens cannot only be extreme, less nationalism is good, because if it keeps getting bigger, we will only be nervously fearful, becoming today’s isolated/secluded country. China’s ultimate goal cannot be only “not happy”, but rather from its own unhappiness turn towards self-confidence and smilingly overlook the world.”


Some responses:


Stop pretending you are patriotic/love the country.  The study abroad students around me that came back were all afraid of contracting H1N1, saying that May is the busiest season. Was that Shandong Lu XX your so-called just graduated and so-called lost 150 dollars? With so many Chinese study abroad students in America, do all of their visas expire during this time? 150 USD is how much money, RMB 1000? How come you do not care about this 150 USD when you come to Tianya to show off wasting money buying luxury goods in America?

Normally when there is nothing wrong, you all boast all day long about how you are so much better than others simply by being in high-class America, or how your parents all day in front of their relatives about how great their child is being able to go to America. But now that there is H1N1, you start saying how much you love your country, how much you want to come back, how lonely your life is abroad, how lonely it is unable to get your countrymen’s understanding…even grass on top of a wall [people who do not have their own views] do not behave like you do.

Do not say that your ultimate goal for going abroad to study is to learn and come back to help the motherland! Which one of you American study abroad students would not want to stay in America and get a green card to become an American? Yet now during these times you ask your countrymen to understand and tolerate you? Ridiculous!

Yes, you do not know whether or not you are infected, so be good and stay in America and figure out if you have been infected. Do not say anything else, even Americans all say there is no big deal, no one thinks it is a big deal, so if you do not think it is a big deal, why are you scared into running back here for?!

Finally you even bring up our citizen’s character, what is citizen’s character? Before you open your mouth, first ask yourself! For example, your criticism of China for not having democracy, “nervously fearful, become today’s isolated/secluded country. China’s ultimate goal cannot be only “not happy”, but rather from its own unhappiness turn towards self-confidence and smilingly overlook the world.” This is what you call your character? When China had SARS, it was again you people who criticized China’s government for not being responsible and not having strong enough measures. Now it is again you people saying China’s government and the Chinese people are panic-stricken? Everything you say, no matter what we do you people still always think it is wrong.

Always talking about pursuing advanced studies in America, do you have any scientific common sense?! Any kind of virus can mutate! White people and yellow people’s genes have differences, so when the virus is transmitted, can you be sure that it has not mutated? That it will not mutate into an even bigger danger? Do not talk about how those infected only have a 0.1% death rate, because to that 0.1% person, the probability is 100%!
Do not make excuses for your own selfish benefit!


I can understand the study abroad students’ frame of mind.

However, we must also see that all the cases so far in China including Hong Kong were imported, and moreover basically imported from America. Countries like Russia also have cases imported from America. American has already become a source of the disease.

Lou zhu says the reaction is excessive, but if you had lived through the 2003 SARS, you would know that the measures China is taking today is extremely extremely necessary whereas America’s actions right now deserve to be condemned.


Do not talk so much nonsense, first ask yourself whether you would return to the country if there were opportunities to stay abroad after graduation? If your answer is no, then you are not welcome to come back right now.


I just want to say: Please understand, special treatement for special times!


I cannot say about other people, but the study abroad sudents I know in Australia or New Zealand or Canada are basically all the children of corrupt officials. Therefore, us hating them is very normal!

These people with special benefits, I hope you guys will never come back. Without you, China’s future may be even better.


We should stop struggling amongst our internal classes, [we should not fight our own]


I do not think study abroad students are the scourge, and also sympathize with them coming back to seek refuge.

But MLGB, the ZF is not doing its job,

All of those returnees were not quarantined. Even the civil servants putting on a show for the people would have been better than nothing.

The cases we have seen were all from people coming back to the country, all sharing rides home [so this could infect other people], fuck.

J8 hair [penis hair], the more I read, the more angry I get.


Those coming back should be observed for a while, and if there are no probems, then let them go home. I think this would be acceptable.

Everyone should be more understanding to each other.Chinese study abroad students do not deny that there are some black sheep [amongst them], but we cannot damn this entire group of people [study abroad students] just because of a few black sheep.

It is not easy for study abroad students to live abroad, and our country needs them too.


If I wanted to go back to my country
no one would be able to stop me.
Who would pay any attention to those whining stupid cunts?


These days where people rush to condemn study abroad students is truly a bit extreme.
What right do we have to not let them come back? Everyone has the right to return home.
However, after study abroad students comes back, they should voluntarily quarantine themselves for a few days, and make sure they are okay before they come out because this is being responsible to other people.
Do not say the domestic reaction is extreme, we all lived through the horrors of SARS.


How can returning home be not allowed???
This is not even an issue that can be discussed.
Come back, children!


Why is it that everyone still thinks study abroad students’ lives are more comfortable and better than graduates within the country…?
There definitely are some study abroad trash [students]~~ and there are also those who diligently study…
Everyone has their own lives and different pressures~~~

Think about the Olympic torch relay~ around the same time last year~ those overseas supporting were all study abroad students~~~~ do not treat us as if we have forgotten who we are any time study abroad students are mentioned~~
We know how to examine ourselves, and use the best image to represent the Chinese people in front of foreigners~~~


May I ask how many of you are truly thinking of your country, thinking of your motherland’s people? Wasn’t going abroad simply to make life a bit more comfortable for yourselves anyway, but come back because you felt lonely outside? If the motherland was truly in your hearts, you guys would know what to do.


Isn’t the moon rounder abroad than in China? [Isn’t life better abroad than in China]
May each and every study abroad student carry on with their patriotism, and bring the virus to Japan.


From Tianya:

Facing study abroad students, why are we so cold?!

Today, my brother who is attending graduate school in America called home, saying he will not be coming back. My parents were very dejected because my brother has been away in America for over a year without visiting home and was originally going to visit this summer but has again temporarily canceled the plane ticket. He did not say much on the phone, saying it is better to wait more, wait for this storm to pass, and that he will instead go find a summer job to subsidize his living expenses and also earn back the money lost for the plane ticket.
Hearing that he was not in high spirits, I questioned him why on QQ and after a long silence, my brother sent me several screenshots. He said, when he sees people yelling and criticizing [study abroad students], he feels extremely disappointed and sad; when he receives an email from teachers expressing sympathy, he feels a little comfort. However, this only comforts his mood but far from comforts his lonely heart on the opposite short across an ocean.

Some responses:


To be honest, preventing the spread of disease and loving your country are two things.

Fortunately, this disease’s lethality is not very high, because if it were easily communicable and very lethal, then because of individual people’s selfishness, the whole country would be destroyed!


During the Olympic torch relay, study abroad students touched us so much. Now we are not saying for you guys to not come back at all, just that we hope you guys can pay more attention to protecting yourselves and others by separating yourself from others for a few days before coming back.


This is a highly communicable disease.

You are all fucking how old?

Yet need others to teach you?

Do you want to destroy our country’s people?

Be more conscientious. [do what you should do without being told]


I personally hope study abroad students can take into account the high cost of human resources and materials required for vaccinations and the inconvenience caused others, and can voluntarily quarantine themselves or not return to the country. As a domestic citizen, I express my thanks to those study abroad students who cancel returning to the country because of the flu. At the same time, I strongly despise those people who indiscriminately criticize, and have blamed all study abroad students!


If you can avoid coming back then do not come back, so everyone just wait. Besides, are a few days worth it? Even if you come back and stay at home, are you not afraid of infecting your family members? On your way [home], how many people will you encounter? For each discovered case, the country must find several hundred people, even thousands of people to quarantine and inspect. Think of how much the country must pay for you as one person? If your brother infected your entire family, would you still say anything?


Not everyone criticizes/blames study abroad students, I very much sympathize with the study abroad students’ situation.
I definitely suggest the country’s leadership, representing the entire country’s citizens, use an open letter or similar method to comfort and express concern for the lives of study abroad students, regardless of whether it is a country where the flu has broken out or not. There is no need to mention the problem of whether to return or not, but expression concern is necessary.


Is it really that scary?
I think it is the same concept as seasonal flue.
Moreover, those first two infected people who came back have already been confirmed to be fine now.
This shows that this can also be cured/recovered from, right?
The most important thing is to exercise your body and strengthen your body’s immunity.
Do not just sit in front of the computer grumbling and swearing.
It is useless, and it hurts the feelings of our compatriots.


Obviously a very small thing, so why make it so that all study abroad students are treated the same? I myself am also a study abroad student, but aren’t study abroad students simply Chinese students who are studying abroad? It is not like we are foreign organisms~~
Wasn’t it the same during SARS, with Guangdong and Beijing people being avoided by people from elsewhere?! Why bother, everyone?~ Who knows where the next epidemic-stricken area will be?~


Want to know why Chinese people do not have pride in being Chinese?
When facing a disease, I think any country would take certain measures, and the citizens can accept this.
However, only China, the moment your motherland needs you, you must contribute/sacrifice. The moment you need your motherland, sorry, not treating you like the scourge is already being generous enough. Helping you is basically impossible.
Look at American citizens’ sense of honor/pride, their country can send the most elite troops halfway around the globe to rescue hostages, as long as you are an American citizen. China? You are basically waiting to die.



Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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