There’s a school of thought around here that says if you’re a foreigner living in China, you face an ever-present threat presented by jealous and violent Chinese men who outnumber you a million to one.

I’ve been aware of it for more than half a year now but I’ve never kept it in mind because I don’t really believe it to be true. I’ve heard at least half a dozen stories about foreigners getting assaulted outside of clubs or bars as the result of conflict with a group of loud-mouthed Chinese men. The story continues that if the foreigner dares to defend himself from attack, he immediately gets punched in the kidney from behind or struck in the back of the head with a bottle. Even if my own experience doesn’t support these claims, am I encouraging and widening the perceptive gap between our races by not disagreeing?

This question stood on it’s own until two days ago when Jovian and Kensho were attacked on their vacation in Dali. Their vacation south yielded better temperatures and more sunlight than they’ve been used to recently, but possibly also some back luck. Their conflict began in what I’m told is the most common way; a group of Chinese men between Jovian and his Chinese girlfriend Luna in a local bar. When they kept abusing her and didn’t back off, Jovian struck two of them before getting hit in the back of the head with a beer bottle. He’s getting attacked on the floor before he struggles to his feet to see Kensho leaping into the group of thugs to get his own beating; except his is much worse. They retreat into the kitchen of the bar and each of them wield weapons to defend themselves with when the group enters and assails them. They take what they can find: knives. They sit and wait, both bleeding all over the floor from their mutual headwounds. The attack never comes and they go to the hospital after speaking to police.
What really happened in the bar and is that substantial evidence to support the social theory in question? The plural of anecdotal evidence isn’t fact, but maybe this is a trend too common to be entirely disregarded.

I’ve never felt physically threatened anywhere in China. I’ve witnessed fights and been around countless drunk people in almost every corner of the country and have never been threatened. I’ve worked with and talked to plenty of Chinese girls in the presence of the same drunk people, inside and in front of nightclubs and bars, and rarely does anyone not be welcoming enough to say hello. If the lack of scars on my face isn’t indicitave of naivety, then maybe I’m good at staying out of trouble.