Islamophobia is a potent factor, but not the whole story.
By Wang Jin
The Diplomat - June 23, 2017
June 20 was “World Refugee Day,” but the following days witnessed strong
debates over the refugee issue inside China. Many Chinese newspapers
and websites highlighted the news of Yao Chen, who is a famous Chinese
movie and TV star, visiting foreign refugees in both China and abroad.
Those reports about refugees were viewed by Chinese public as attempts
to “create a public atmosphere,” or a sign that Chinese government is
preparing to accept Middle East refugees (an assumption made largely
because of the official background of Chinese news agencies). Countless
discussions and petitions denouncing Yao Chen and the possibility of
China accepting refugees have emerged, not only on social media
sites such as Weibo and WeChat, but also on several leading internet
blogs. Public surveys show that a massive majority of Chinese (in some
surveys, nearly 99 percent) strongly oppose the idea of settling Middle
Eastern refugees, especially Muslim refugees, inside China.