Why Do Chinese Reject Middle Eastern Refugees?
June 20 was “World Refugee Day,” but the following days witnessed strong debates over the refugee issue inside China. Many Chinese newspapers and websites highlighted the news of Yao Chen, who is a famous Chinese movie and TV star, visiting foreign refugees in both China and abroad. Those reports about refugees were viewed by Chinese public as attempts to “create a public atmosphere,” or a sign that Chinese government is preparing to accept Middle East refugees (an assumption made largely because of the official background of Chinese news agencies).
Countless discussions and petitions denouncing Yao Chen and the possibility of China accepting refugees have emerged, not only on social media sites such as Weibo and WeChat, but also on several leading internet blogs. Public surveys show that a massive majority of Chinese (in some surveys, nearly 99 percent) strongly oppose the idea of settling Middle Eastern refugees, especially Muslim refugees, inside China.