HomeChinese AmericanGlobal Times: ABCs Treated as Foreigners in China

Global Times: ABCs Treated as Foreigners in China

Photo by Jerry Cal
To borrow a phrase from Kermit the Frog, if you’re an American Born Chinese (ABC) working in China, you may find out its not easy being green.
So say some Chinese American expats who in China are known as huayi (foreign citizens of Chinese origin).
Several talked to the Global Times about their experience in the Asian country.
“In the teaching industry, there are companies that explicitly claim they won’t recruit ABC or other huayi. Europeans and Americans [without Chinese heritage] have a better advantage in getting a job in terms of their cultural backgrounds, foreign looks and purity of language,” said Eric Liu who works for Foreign HR, a recruitment firm for foreigners in China.
Albert Chen came to China to launch a start up company after working in Silicon Valley.
“Many people have told me I don’t understand Chinese culture,” he said. “The government does not make it any easier for us to get visas or employment. Because we were born in the US, we are treated as foreigners.”
Documentary film producer Carol Liu sees advantages and disadvantages of being Chinese American in China.
“Problems arise when Chinese people assume I am not American enough, for example, when someone defers to my blonde American friend for American business advice when I would have been more qualified to answer the question,” she said.
You can read about the experience of other ABC in China in the Global Times.


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  1. RE: ABCs treated as foreigners in China: try working in a Chinese owned company here in the US as an ABC….they think you’re worse than dog sh*t, especially if you’re not fluent, skinny, don’t sweat in 100% humidity.

  2. RE: ABCs treated as foreigners in China: What’s the big deal? ABC’s get treated as foreigners in the US also and we ‘re born here. Ironically, we’re treated as Whites in Canada and many countries in South America.

    Progress is being made as ABC’s aren’t thought to be Japanese any more and nobody in the North asked us when are we going back.

    God bless the United States of America

  3. RE: ABCs treated as foreigners in China:I think it’s rude to go to another country and not know some
    of the language and cultural beliefs beforehand. ABCs can only blame ourselves, we choose to
    pursue the lie called the ‘American Dream’ while abandoning centuries of our
    true ancestry, now we’re trapped between worlds.


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