Many Chinese women have shrugged off the spy warning—but say relationships between Chinese women and foreign men are anything but smooth.
It is certainly much more common for Chinese women to date foreign men than in my parents’ generation, thanks to Chinese nationals heading overseas for schools and foreigners flocking to Beijing, Shanghai, and other big cities to learn Mandarin and add Chinese experience to their resumes.
Jean said her ex always criticized the Chinese government “with a set of democratic thinking,” and without putting the discussion “in the historical context.” When talking about the 1937 Nanjing Massacre, in which China claims 300,000 were killed by the Japanese army, for instance, her ex said “the Chinese government is not completely innocent.” He went on to challenge the death toll, even after Jean cited official documents, which annoyed her. “I understand democracy no less than him,” Jean said.“In his eyes, Mao was a horrible figure,” she said, “but he doesn’t know our parents’ generation still thinks he was amiable and respectable.” Many Chinese people in their fifties or sixties still sing “red songs” to pay tribute to Mao, and carry out memorial ceremonies for him annually, so he shouldn’t just identify Mao as a “dictator,” she tried to explain to him. A 21-year-old college student in Beijing, who would only like to be identified as Jean, tells me she dated a guy from the US two years ago.The relationship lasted for just six months, because Jean found they “couldn’t communicate” because of their “different standpoints.” Jean’s ex-boyfriend was nine years older than her, and a graduate student in international relations at another Beijing university.Some students said they joined the activity because they feel bored alone and regard being in a relationship as a kind of skill.Some participants met about 500 people through the event.