Students Returning to China Are Subject to Discrimination and Abuse

Author: Doco文鼎

On June 9, a group of international students took Air China’s CA878 flight from Copenhagen to Beijing and landed at Shijiazhuang, the first point of entry. However, to everyone’s surprise, the moment when the plane landed at Shijiazhuang, bad lucks seem to haunt them.

疫情下的成长,加拿大华人女留学生分享各自生活经历-新华侨网

After the international students got off the plane safely, the bus took everyone to Xiyuan Hot Spring Hotel, a quarantine point in Pingshan County, Shijiazhuang. However, the environment of the hotel is very different from that promised by the government.

According to the feedback from one of the students, thick dust accumulated on the bathroom sink, and the black table was full of yellow mud. After opening the faucet of the bathroom sink, the water flowing out is yellow, even after you flush the water line for a while. As you can see from the picture, the sink is filled with yellow water.

The inner wall of the kettle used for drinking water is extremely disgusting, and there is a large amount of unknown brown residual liquid inside, which is completely unusable. Students have no way to boil water (in China the running water is not meeting the standard of being used directly as drinking water and people have to boil water to drink routinely for safety reason), and if they want to buy mineral water, they must pay a high price.

In addition, there are pests everywhere in the hotel, and even geckos can be seen on the walls. The ground is filled with unknown liquid, and the walls are damaged to varying degrees.

As an appointed isolation location for international students returning to China, this hotel looks like it is severely undermaintained. So, what are the fee standards for such a harsh isolation environment?  We learned from www.Ctrip.com that the hotel’s previous pricing ranged from ¥168 to ¥250 ($25-35). At this circumstance, during the isolation period it increased to ¥350 ($45) a day of accommodation (the living standard and cost in China is much lower than US)! It is ¥100 ($15) more expensive than the highest-priced room on weekdays. At the same time, the ¥350 ($50) accommodation fee does not include daily meals. Hungry? Ok! Pay an additional ¥100 ($15) every day. The hotel requires international students to pay a lump sum payment of ¥6,300 ($850), which is 14 days of accommodation and meals fee, before they can receive the room key and check in.

What kind of meals will be provided after charging you the ¥100 ($15 dollars)? According to the description of international students, the quality of meals is extremely poor, with only a few spoons of sad rice and flavorless sides. In addition, you will be very concerned with the sanitation and food safety with the variety of small bugs in the food. In summary, even though it is an designated quarantine site, and people need daily necessities, or food, it is hard to justify that it costs ¥450 ($65) per night.

The students complained and defended their rights to higher authorities, but the answers they received were only to shirk their responsibilities and pass the buck. The concerning departments indicated that they would relate it to other departments, and then you never heard from them again. At the same time, students gave feedback to hotel managers. The result is insults and further discrimination.

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It is not the first time for international students to return to China to receive poor accommodation. Some students even lost their government and school issued documents and luggages during isolation (some were allegedly burned without the student’s permission or acknowledge), and in the end these losses were not compensated. In China, there are countless high-end hotels, and flight control is strictly enforced. Why are they not allowing international students to arrange a comfortable environment for isolation? It is important to point out the that those international students were charged nearly ¥30,000 ($5000) for one-way ticket back to China by Air China. After returning to China, it is not welcoming arms that are waiting for them; instead, they must not only accept high isolation fees, poor accommodation, but also be subject to discrimination and abuse. This should not be the way to treat anyone, including those highly educated talents. The Communist Party of China has continuously promoted serving the motherland and after returning from overseas, students should devote themselves to the great cause of building the motherland. But on the contrary, how does the CCP treat their own students coming home with higher education?

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Cover photo shows a student returned from Italy. Photo credit: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images, from https://www.ntdtv.com/gb/2020/05/04/a102838058.html

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