I know you probably couldn’t resist the temptation of asking your Chinese friend if he or she is good at Kung-fu, but believe me, most Chinese people would just find the question ridiculous. We do have tons of stunning wuxia (martial arts and chivalry) practitioners, thanks to masters like Jin Yong and Gu Long, and we are proud of Ang Lee’s movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but despite our admiration for Qinggong (the martial art technique that is usually exaggerated in wuxia works as a gravity-defying ability to move swiftly and lightly), we can’t really fly or beat anyone into the wall. Some Chinese do practice Tai Chi as a way to keep in good health, and that’s basically pretty much the best most of us can do.
The Yulin Dog Meat Festival held every summer solstice in Yulin, southeast China’s Guangxi Province, is so notorious that foreigners have an image that everyone in China consumes dog meat, but the truth is that the festival is as much a pain in many Chinese people’s minds. While the Yulin people insisted on their legitimacy to hold dog meat festivals as a preservation of their tradition, every year there are domestic animal welfare advocates working to rescue the dogs. Meanwhile, on Weibo (the Chinese equivalent of Twitter), there are always heated discussions about whether people should keep their traditions, or whether it’s hypocritical to denounce those who eat dog meat while others still eat other meats.
It has almost become a preset for American high school dramas or movies to have an Asian nerd who wears super thick glasses, has great grades on all his/her subjects (except for sports), and can only hide in the corner, while their white, sporty classmates look glamorous and get all the attention. As much as it might be a good thing to be complimented as “smart,” we don’t enjoy being depicted as people who live in libraries and obsess over getting good grades – we read because we love knowledge. We can be pretty bad at math, just as we can be good at sports; and many of us wear contact lenses in China.
It’s not you to blame for having this stereotype, after all the never-ending legends of rich Chinese tuhaos (loosely translated as “nouveau riche,” tuhao is how Chinese address wealthy people) spending money like water in luxury brands overseas are all true. But the majority Chinese people are just as confused about this phenomenon as you are – despite the fact that China has the second largest group of millionaires in the world after United States, its Gini coefficient, a gauge of economic inequality, was as high as 0.465 in 2016. According to the UN standard, a Gini coefficient higher than 0.4 is a sign of serious income inequality.
We understand it’s difficult to tell between Chinese, Japanese and Korean citizens from their faces, but you have gone too far if you think all Chinese people wear kimonos or eat kimchi. Remember that famous 2013 song named “Chinese Food” by Alison Gold? As much as the unpleasantness many Chinese felt about how ignorant the song’s producer was to equate Chinatown food with Chinese food, it was even more unbelievable for Ms Gold to wear a kimono in a song about Chinese food. (The original music video is not available now, but you can see this Time report for its transcription.)
There are multiple threads and even a viral video online claiming that Chinese girls are easy, and it’s a myth that some male expats wishfully believe after successfully picking up a girl at a bar. People who are open-minded toward physical relationships exist in every part of the world, just like people who are against premarital physical relationships. Anyone who thinks otherwise and travels to China thinking that they will score a beautiful “easy” wife is likely going to be disappointed.