A large part of the problem, is that some urban Chinese citizens and netizens are totally out of touch with the reality of being a foreigner in China.
Wu Fei's ugly comments are just an example of this. She only sees the privileges. I find it really common that attempts at actually being diplomatic and polite fail so miserably and expose such resentment.
There are 3 or 4 nice things that come with being a westerner (she conflates foreigner and westerner, as many people seem too) in China, and a list of about 30 seriously not so nice things. Its those of us who are tough enough to handle the bad that stick around for the good. Lets face it, most people can't, wouldn't, and wont stick around.
Wu Fei's comments highlight a certain logic, the logic of the misbehaving tourist. There is no question that many tourists misbehave everywhere, while some are overpolite as well. But most tourists in any really large country are FROM that country. They are tourists because they are outside their hometown, its their chance to go nuts, and besides, mom and dad wont hear about their shenanigans. I really doubt that most of the crimes happening in Sanya for example are coming from British English teachers.
I think one of the most intolerable things about living in Chinese cities (I think the countryside is better) is that there is very little sensitivity to the hardships and discrimination, and a ridiculousness exaggeration of the privileges. Also, re: rudeness vs. civility-I would say that if you polled small businesses across the country they would say that foreign customers are the most polite. That is nothing to write home about, but I am just mentioning it as something you would never hear from people who call foreigners spoiled or "kings".
The good things I can think of about living in Chinese cities are:
*It is easy to make acquaintances (though hard to make close friends who really share feelings and who you can trust).
It is hard to create deep,open, loyal and true friendships. Those that you do make, well they are basically the number 1 reason to study Chinese or to live in or visit China. They could last a lifetime I think.
*Like in most places on earth (except USA/UK/France) most (by no means all ) people do appreciate your attempts to speak their language.
*Due to a certain amount of familiarity with westerners, many people are less judgmental about superficial differences (fashion, tastes), as well as faux pas than in the west.
*Strangers may be more likely to leave you alone, and less likely to randomly start a fight with you.
*You might get free drinks from people who are never going to be your friends.
*It may be a little easier for you to get a date, and I mean a date, not a one night stand (not there is anything wrong with those, if that is your thing). Unless you have a really hard time getting dates where you are from, in that case it will be much, much, easier. For most of us, finding people that we actually want to date long term is much harder in most Chinese cities than it is in the west, and may even be a reason to leave the prc.
Everything else I have to say is bad. The list includes things which are quite dangerous, like mobs gathering around you after a small traffic accident and declaring you guilty based on your foreignness.
Of course I am always curious what people like Wu Fei have to say about the behavior of some over zealous Chinese nationals in other Asian countries, such as Burma, or in Africa. She shouldn't have to say anything about it, that is my whole point- but if you follow the examples of those who worry about "foreigners", then she should.
And by the way, the guy who said that Laowai is a term of respect based on Lao (old) Wai (outsider) and then called others out of touch is a real laugh-that is the oldest myth about the term laowai.