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China Says No To Most Westerners Working In China

Stop sign in Chinese

Stop sign in Chinese

In my previous article, I mentioned why the next wave of internet startups would be outside China.

The flip side is how difficult Chinese government policy has made it for westerners to work in China. While Beijing editorials targeting westerners talk about the virtues of globalization, its employment policies actively discriminate against westerners working in China.

This makes for a very interesting contrast with the US, which has an H-1B visa policy, often called the “genius visa” which is aimed at luring international talent to the US.

At the same time, there has been some hostility to westerners in China, which was highlighted earlier this year by Yang Rui’s famous remarks. Yang Rui seemed to reveal certain feelings which don’t lie far beneath the surface in China, and can come out in a very unmanaged fashion.

In contrast, while there are occasional calls to restrict immigration policy in the US, there is very limited personal anger to immigrants among better-educated Americans. (The exceptions can be deadly, such as the attacks on Sikhs.) There is almost no support for calls to repeal the H-1B visa which come around election time.

So why don’t the US and China talk to each other about how their citizens are treated and employed in each others’ country? Shouldn’t that be part of the globalization conversation?

Added Note: Nicholas MacDonald, an American living and working in Shanghai, gives his personal take on the job situation for westerners in China.