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Is Kunming Racist?

zitony (7 posts) • 0

Hi Guys
This is my first post here. I'm sorry it's on a fluid and somewhat dicey subject but as someone who's never been to China (and Kunming in particular) so far.I am nonetheless intrigued enough by the country to consider visiting. My impressions are extrapolated from the interactions I've had with Kunming Chinese while trying to find a place to study Chinese. Maybe I'm over-reacting but I also don't intend to be flippant or provocative. I've just been adequately disturbed to ask myself this.

Here's why.I made my mind a while back to come to China and Kunming in particular to study Chinese and experience the country for a number of reasons ( climate, cost of living, diverse culture etc). So I started contacting schools I found on this website. First was Keats. I spoke to a youngish Chinese lady on the phone to inquire about specifics of studying at her institution beginning September (this was early June). The first thing she asked me was where I am from. I said I'm from Uganda in East Africa. She then told me they aren't accepting new students anymore. I thought it strange coz in my estimation and from some stuff I'd read on here, I figured I'd inquired in good time. I tried to ask when they'd accept students again, she became intransigent brushing me off with an 'I don't know'. So I hang up but with a nagging feeling that there was another reason for this reaction. I decided to try and confirm. The following day I called back. Same lady, same first question.This time I adopted a Cockney accent (I live in Camden, North London) and said I'm from England and voilà! All my questions were answered and I was enthusiastically invited to apply for September! Of course I wasn't going to apply to Keats after that.

I've had a near same experience with Kunming University of Science and Technology. I called, was asked where I'm from. Now paranoid and fearing another 'Keats' experience that would see me not getting the info I was seeking, I said England. My questions were answered and I decided to put in an application. 3 weeks went by and with no response I called to ask if they did at least receive my application. Same first question- 'where are you from?'. 'Uganda'. The lady immediately said she didn't receive my application ( I sent it by email). I asked if she needed my other details, like name so she can confirm/check. She said she is sure she hasn't received it. I asked if I should send another one. 'I don't know' is what she actually told me!

I thought there was a pattern. Like I said maybe I am over reacting. To be fair, KCEL were receptive (even tho' the lady quoted me a jerked-up tuition fee) but by then my romanticized/idealized view of Kunming had evaporated. I eventually got accepted by Nankai University and will be arriving on 30th. I would still like to spend part of my time in China in Kunming and Yunnan tho', hence this post. I realize most people on here are probably white but I am hoping a person of colour (an African- I realize an African American might probably have different experiences) or anybody else can offer me some kind of insight or interpretation of these experiences. In as much as I would love to visit the place, I don't want to pass by if I'm not welcome. Probably wouldn't matter one jot and is entirely my loss but hey! I'll appreciate your views. Cheers

GoK Moderator (5096 posts) • 0

My guess would be that the school has found it difficult or impossible to get a visa for students from some countries in the past. They may also be reluctant to say this.

Citizens of some countries do find it very difficult to get a visa for China.

BTW, I have travelled to many countries on 4 continents, and have yet to find anywhere without racism.

zitony (7 posts) • 0

Thanks. That would make sense (tho' I would have thought getting a Visa was going to be my responsibility).

I do agree racism is everywhere and even those within same borders discriminate against each other based on their differences. I am not assuming there is no racism in Tianjin for example. It's only that this was my first contact with these people and it didn't go that well for dubious reasons. I found that kinda predictably disappointing. It turns out that maybe there could be a more logical (even if not entirely sensible) explanation to it all. I am willing to give it the benefit of doubt

GoK Moderator (5096 posts) • 0

When you apply for a student, business or work visa you need to get the equivalent of a sponsor for the visa. This involves work on the part of the school/company etc. to get the relevant paperwork, which will then be sent to the student (you) who can then to apply for the visa. This paperwork is not always forthcoming.

I am a westerner, I don't feel guilty, I am not an apologist and I am not a fan of PC. A lot of officials here are lazy don't like to waste time. Nobody here likes to give bad news, and so finding the real answer is often difficult.
Accepting 'any kind of bollocks in the name of PC' is an oxymoron.

TICexpats (207 posts) • 0

To answer the question honesty, Kunming/ Yunnan is probably the most UN-RACIST place in China.

If you've got the money for a years tuition up front and can assure them that your not going to engage in anything illegal (drugs, prostitution, etc) for your profit or the schools embarrassment (legal problems), you should be ok.

Sorry not a PC answer, but some of your continents "ambassadors "(students/ businessmen) have ruined it for the good ones.

As others from others continents do to, I see "Gangsters, losers and missionaries" every day undermining every nationality/ ethnicity, every week in China.

The problem is they don't care that there individual behavior, is effecting us all.

zitony (7 posts) • 0

I might sound pedantic but is it racism or laziness then? Or is it that the former somehow induces the latter, in which case it is an excuse. That is a 'virtuous' act ( 'don't like to waste time') conveniently wrapped around the not so virtuous act to make it acceptable? I can understand how guilt would come in then and I really think it is the mind that legitimizes its bigotry with such kind of counter-intuitive fallacy deserves pity. There is something from this episode that tells me that the Asian (Chinese) strain of racism (or bigotry) is deadlier and uglier than strains found elsewhere (both for the perpetrators and those at the end of it). Of course I will only find out after I've lived in China.

Btw tiger, are there any black Africans in Kunming? I gather there are black African enclaves in Guangdong and Tianjin. Not sure about Kunming

zitony (7 posts) • 0

@ TICexpats
It's ok to call the spade what it is and I get your point which kinda proves mine. I wonder if when some Brit is caught smuggling crack into Bali or Bangkok or wherever, a native out there enounters the next white guy ( not necessarily Brit) and clinks 'smuggler'. It's not the same for you when one (or gazillions) of your own (sorry) screw up. You get your own brush. It is that sort of thing that I find disturbing. IMO western racism, if I may call it that, long moved beyond such crudeness (as in it is kinda nuanced). So is African racism but that is to be expected when you're bottom of the shit pile i guess. ha ha

YuantongsiYuantongsi (717 posts) • 0


Kunming PSB in general does not give student visas to people from Africa. I found this out when asking for another African person who wanted to study here.

This policy doesn't reflect the average Chinese persons views so I hope you don't think the average Chinese people are making these rules up,,.

Many Africans were getting visas in Kunming then moving to Guangzhou etc to do business, so the PSB started to make it very difficult, I did think the Science and tech Uni here would give a visa if you paid a security deposit though.

There are some Chinese cities where the Universtities are targeting African students for enrollment, it just depends on the PSB policy for the city.

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