Not long after last week's incident involving alleged sexualharassment by a British man, a Russian has now stirred anotherround of online uproar for his rude behavior toward a Chinesewoman. Oleg Vedernikov, the man behind the outrage, is the principalcellist at the Beijing Symphony Orchestra. In a video more thanfour minutes in length posted on Sina Weibo Tuesday night,Vedernikov was seen resting his feet on the seat in front of him ona high-speed train. In the ensuing quarrel with the woman,Vedernikov didn't make any apology, but instead poured scorn on theirritated woman. The train staff later stepped in but only tried toappease both sides. |
The Beijing Symphony Orchestra released an apology letter fromVedernikov Thursday in its official Weibo account. The letter iscoupled with a video in which Vedernikov personally apologizes. The late apology apparently didn't ease the public's anger. Webusers left comments questioning the weak response of the trainstaff and asked for a tougher punishment for Vedernikov. We don't know whether the principal cellist really reflected on hismistake or only made the apology under public pressure.
Spats on public transportation happen frequently, but train staffapparently lack experience in dealing with such a matter involvinga foreigner. They hoped to end the matter in a "friendly"way, which only made things worse by not stopping Vedernikov'srudeness immediately. Subtly, governance over foreigners often involves another set ofsentiments, especially among China's grass-roots agencies. Forexample, when police stations in some places receive a reportinvolving a foreigner, the police need to notify the localentry-and-exit administration, instead of starting a properinvestigation at once.
In February, police in Wuhan found a Japanese tourist's lost bikein three days, something that rarely occurs in China in such ashort time. Today, giving special privileges to foreigners is still accepted bysome Chinese. But at the same time, many foreign residents havecomplained about convoluted regulations regarding their residencepermits and proper documents required for work. As China opens up, there will be more foreigners coming into thecountry. Regulating foreign residents should be done with a fair attitude,without granting preference, but also without excessively profilingthem.
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