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updated 12:00 PM UTC, Nov 17, 2017
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Lauren Zammit

Lauren Zammit

With a passion for writing and determination to pursue a professional career in journalism in the future, Australia born and raised intern Lauren Zammit plans on commencing her tertiary education at Australia’s highest ranking university, the University of Melbourne, majoring in Media and Communications. Lauren moved to Nanjing three years ago, where she developed a deep interest in Chinese culture, customs and history.

Lauren Zammit对写作的热情使她定下决心追求从事新闻业的职业的梦想,在澳大利亚出生并长大,正在南京当实习生的她计划在澳大利亚高等教育排名最高的墨尔本大学读主修媒体和通讯。Lauren三年前搬到南京了,在这里她开发了一种对中国文化,风俗和历史的浓厚的兴趣。

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Reasonable Racism? Beijing Shop Bans Chinese

A clothing store in Beijing has sparked controversy after putting up a sign that read “Chinese not admitted (except for staff)”; the most recent slab of racism in China to dominate news headlines.

Several employees shared with the Beijing Youth Daily why the shop took these extreme measures. One worker told the paper that an incident, in which a foreign man received $5000 in compensation after his wallet was stolen by a Chinese national within the shop, played a significant role in the verdict. On the other hand another linked the act to the fear of rival designers copying the shop’s clothing designs.

However, one employee provided an explanation far more controversial than his colleagues’, suggesting that “annoying” Chinese shopping tendencies were in fact the impetus behind the decision to ban Chinese customers from the store. "Some Chinese customers are just too much," this salesperson boldly told the Beijing Youth Daily. He eventually added that a great deal of Chinese shoppers try on many articles of clothing without intending to purchase goods, which he believes can be detrimental to stores with limited manpower.

Considering its nicknames, “Russia Town” and the “Russian Market,” it is unsurprising that Yabao Lu (雅宝路), the bustling trading hub in which this particular retail store lies, is renowned for its large foreign clientele.

This instance is sadly not the only example of Laowai receiving preferential treatment over Chinese locals in this region. Back in 2003, one business hung a sign which read “open to visitors” in Chinese, but a warm “Welcome” in foreign languages; an instance of Chinese racism which, similarly to Beijing’s current situation, has netizens all fired up. A Weibo user, who was clearly shocked by the event, exhorted "Is this still China?” Meanwhile, others branded the boutique a bully, telling the owners to “get out” of China.

Although one netizen complained that "this type of shop should be closed down,” it seems that such measures can not be enforced legally in China, for this nation lacks laws prohibiting racial discrimination, according to legal experts.

The flip side of the coin, foreigners being discriminated against in China, is another taboo component of this topic. A CNN article published in 2012 titled “Tinted prejudice in China” covers this very topic, as it explores the derogatory cultural bias that many foreigners have experienced in China, simply because of their darker skin colour.

With Chinese nationals being discouraged from entering shops on their own turf today, who knows what ludicrous tale of racism this nation will see tomorrow. It seems that even after centuries of progress toward equality, foreigners still remain a segregated entity in the modern Middle Kingdom, experiencing both positive and negative discrimination. Don’t believe me? Just head down to Russia Town’s little boutiques and witness its disheartening stronghold for yourself.

Singledom in the Middle Kingdom

The big day is finally here! It’s Singles’ Day; a time of year in which China’s bachelors and bachelorettes celebrate their lonesome relationship status in style.

Who are the masterminds behind this wonderful idea? As it turns out, Nanjingers seem to love their freedom more than we thoughy; a few now-graduated university students from Nanjing are the ones that we have to thank for the annual spectacle, which seeks to make up for the pain caused by yet another traumatic Valentine's.

The idea to commemorate singles on November 11th (11/11), a date filled with numerous lonely number ones, came from scholars at Nanjing University in the early ’90s. The holiday’s popularity has ever since this epiphany gained momentum, culminating to the widespread celebration of independency that China has seen today.

Initially a holiday targeting only men lacking a romantic partner, the celebration nowadays also includes women and encompasses a variety of traditions, ranging from the consumption of “you tiao” for breakfast (a deep fried dough stick, resembling the number one) to going out for a celebratory dinner with fellow singles, where one is encouraged to pay for their own portion of the meal to showcase their strong independence.

In 2012, 400,000 people were single in Nanjing. In light of such statistics, Nanjing’s street vendor’s must have been extremely satisfied with today’s “you tiao” sales. Those in metropoles Beijing and Shanghai must have been even more so, for these cities in this same year housed approximately 1 million singles each.

While some gorge themselves on fried dough or luxurious dinners with friends, others will use Single Day as a platform to escape their state of singledom, doing so through partaking in the many “blind dates” and “single parties” organized by entrepreneurs using the holiday’s connotations to their advantage.

Among the most notorious of businesses commercializing Singles' Day is Alibaba’s Tmall Website, which has since 2009 advertised an annual “Singes Day” sale event that has resulted in what was once a reason for single people to gather in celebration to evolve into a hysteric nationwide shopping spree.

In light of the fact that due to the nation’s extreme gender imbalance between 50 to 60 million single men in China may never find a life partner, the question arrises whether in a couple of decades will the 11th of November still be seen as a day to celebrate.

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