In the Face of COVID-19, Overseas Chinese Students Become the Not Allow to Neglect “Foreigners”

In the Face of COVID-19, Overseas Chinese Students Become the Not Allow to Neglect “Foreigners”

At the beginning of 2020, an epidemic caused by COVID-19 swept the whole world within just two months. People in many parts of the world have gradually stepped into the storm from the edge, and changed their identities from spectators to victims.

As the “highly educated floating population” in the context of globalization, the stories of overseas Chinese students under the epidemic situation have also attracted the attention of Internet public opinion. Some of them suffered from “implicit misunderstanding” when they were beyond the storm. After they became the center of the storm, their anxiety and hope coexisted. At present, many of them are pushing forward “ice breaking” one after another, which push them become the youth force that can not be ignored in the global fight against the epidemic.

Under the circumstances, the Cultural and Creative Industrie Channel of IFENG.COM (, a well-known Chinese media, pays full attention to the thoughts of overseas Chinese students, and collects real case stories from different countries and regions through overseas communication teams and volunteers in Western Europe, East Asia and other regions.

(This series of stories were pnanned by Guan Song, Ruiqi Liu and Zijun Chen, and were writen by Luna Zhuo and Qingyun Lee)

According to more than ten stories collected by Cultural and Creative Industrie Channel of IFENG.COM, these precious cases show the collision and blending of different cultural differences. Besides, this topic has quite positive social significance and humanistic feelings.

Contents of the following articles are extracted and translated from the exclusive report of Cultural and Creative Industrie Channel of IFENG.COM:

1. Daxianer, Documentary Director/Photographer, Graduate of Department of Photography, College of Communication, University of the Arts London

Because of the epidemic, overseas Chinese students have been misunderstood and treated unfriendly. Even many of us would be asked, “do Chinese eat bats?”. So my friends and I began to discuss how to reduce this antagonism and better help Chinese students to deal with the crisis.

Audio visual language is more suitable for my ideas. It’s more direct and easier to understand. And now it’s worth recording. So I quickly made a plan to shoot a documentary, and sent it to the social network, and everyone was eager to help me spread it.

Nearly two weeks from the beginning of the recruitment, we have a shooting team of more than 20 photographers, and someone in charge of subtitle and translation. Most of them are in London, including high school students and worker, everyone is sparing no effort to help.

I think, first of all, we should let everyone know what they are facing, and then know how to deal with it. So the film not only records students’ misunderstandings, but also invites some scholars to tell us about the historical and social reasons behind these events, and gives us suggestions on how to protect ourselves.

At present, I hope to be seen on some foreign channels, and I also want to take this film as an opportunity to establish a dialogue so that Chinese and foreign cultures can have more exchanges and understanding.

(Daxianer was in the supermarket when she was interviewed by telephone. A foreign aunt saw her and walked away in fear.)

  • Nora, 24 years old, located in Japen, “I’m afraid there’s no end to this life of panic”

I saw someone in the moments said that the toilet paper was gone. I feel that some people hoard and resell the toilet paper maliciously. The price of toilet paper on the second-hand reselling website has tripled directly, with a summary of more than 80 yuan. Now the rice in the supermarket has also been emptied.

(Empty shelves in Japanese supermarkets; pic from interviewee)

When the epidemic broke out in China at the end of January, some people had hoarded masks, but the whole situation was calm and not so exaggerated. The real panic was when it was found that the infection rate on the “Diamond Princess” was particularly high, and sporadic confirmed cases appeared in Tokyo.

In Japan, Chinese generally do not trust these figures, and they believe that the real infected people are definitely more than these. For example, there is an employee working in NTT DATA who still takes the subway to work after the illness. The traffic density of Tokyo subway is very high. In theory, many people have been infected by him.

Besides, it’s hard for people to be tested. The standard of examination in health care center is very strict: it must have Wuhan contact history, etc. If the conditions are not met, the health care center shirks its responsibility.

I think there are two reasons why the Chinese people in Japan are very alert to the epidemic: first, the information of the Chinese basically keeps pace with the domestic media, which is much faster than that of the Japanese media; second, the daily work pressure of the Japanese is very high, and they don’t have much energy to care about things outside their lives.

(Epidemic situation in Japan; pic from YICAI)

Now the form is becoming more and more severe, and the local people in Japan have gradually begun to pay attention to it. COVID-19 pneumonia was released in February 9th by NHK, the first outbreak related documentary. The report showed that the COVID-19 pneumonia was reported in 54 minutes, so that we could see the truth of the new crown virus.

The epidemic has greatly affected the Japanese economy and stocks have also fallen. Japan’s inaugural activities (job fairs for new graduates) have also been canceled. This year’s new graduates are particularly afraid that they will not find a job.

Some of them have returned to China for refuge, but many people have already had stable jobs in Japan, or bought houses to settle down and have children. It’s not realistic for them to put everything down and run back to China.

My partner and I don’t plan to go back home either. I usually have the habit of hoarding goods. Although I have enough materials now, I still feel panic. Life will continue, maybe after this incident, we will feel that the usual troubles are not troubles.

  • Luna, 26 years old, Wuhan, Hubei, Glasgow, UK, Ph.D. in Public Health

I have been living in uncontrolled panic and anxiety. Backing in Britain in early January, the outbreak broke out in China. And I caught a cold again. The next day, I contacted a doctor, got nucleic acid test, and began to isolate at home.

The whole testing process in the UK is perfect. Now we can contact the NHS (National Health Service) directly. After asking about the situation, I registered for a preliminary assessment first and then went for the test. The hospital prepared a room for me to check and i was informed that I could go home for quarantine. During that time, I was called twice a day to ask about my progress.

What impressed me was that the doctor took me through the back door when I left. When going out, the doctor said that he would take off his mask and let me be a little far away from him. He walked in front and I followed him. I asked him why he took the mask off? He said he was afraid of causing unnecessary misunderstanding. He didn’t want to disturb my privacy just because of this.

The process of waiting for the result makes us very painful. In the face of the interpretation of social phenomena, it led us from the initial confusion to a mixed feeling of hope and desperation. Although the test was negative, my tutor and colleagues still wanted me to stay at home for another week or two. During the follow-up visit, he mentioned the situation with the doctor. The doctor said it was unreasonable. He wrote a letter of guarantee for me, saying that I had no infectious disease and there was no reason for me not to work.

(Letter of guarantee from doctor; pic from interviewer)

People’s joys and sorrows are different. They can’t imagine a city three times the size of London, where public transport is completely stopped and many supermarkets are closed. What kind of life are people living in it?

After listening to my description, one of my colleagues sincerely said that Wuhanese really made great sacrifices for the safety of the whole world. This feeling makes me feel comforted while I miss my relatives and friends in Wuhan.


MIT Technology Review reported that the COVID-19 is actually an “information epidemic” – social media has compressed information and rumors from all over the world at an unprecedented speed, making it difficult for people to get real information, which has increased panic, racial discrimination and the desire for hope.

However, in the difficult moments, the concept of “human” is particularly valuable. Every individual should be respected as a life, rather than being added to our identity by race and region, etc. We should try to break the opposition and build a bridge of dialogue while protecting ourselves.

This epidemic is closely related to all mankind and each of us can’t stay out of it. At present, “overseas Chinese students under the epidemic” has been spread on the mainstream websites and overseas student communities in China, and has received letters and contributions from many readers from Germany, Portugal, Japan and other countries. It is expected that the Cultural and Creative Industrie Channel of IFENG.COM will continue to adhere to its objective position and actively present the complexity and diversity of the post truth era, so as to attract the attention of global Chinese and audiences concerned about Chinese issues and provide different windows for them to see the world.