Just read some really thoughtful blog posts on being a foreigner in China, by bloggers who ought to know.
The first is Sinostand’s, “Foreigners in China: Weibo vs. Reality,” and it essentially says that despite a few extra anti-foreign diatribes in the last month or so that have gotten much media attention, day-to-day treatment of Laowai has really not changed:
Like with any country, China has plenty of unmitigated racists. But at least for me, they’ve never amounted to anything more than a very rare nuisance in my day-to-day life. So if you’re not in China, don’t get the impression from recent events that the country is a cesspool of xenophobia and hatred. And if you are in China, try not to let the recent coverage of online opinion skew the way you see things. The status quo for Chinese opinion about foreigners has been and will be for a long time more or less the same: Somewhat ignorant, but good-natured and curious.
There are a lot of things that can push living in China to the edge of bearability, but in-your-face nationalism and xenophobia is not one of them. If there is one thing that has made living in China these past 17 years so wonderful, it has been the people I meet. It never seems to get lost in a conversation that there is a difference between an individual and a government. Even at the height of anger over the Belgrade Embassy bombing, the vitriol was never personal: it was about a government’s mistake, not the mistake of a nation. At the same time, it’s incumbent on every one of us living as a guest on this soil to behave as a guest should, and not as an entitled drunken teenager on Grad Night at Disneyland.