No Dogs or Chinese

no dogs or chinese.jpg

I can see why they don’t all love us. (This is per the request of a commenter in a recent thread.)

Update: Apparently this picture is a fake. And commenters are telling me no such signs ever existed in China. Just another myth?

The Discussion: 46 Comments

Where is that from?

June 13, 2005 @ 8:43 am | Comment

I copied it off a bulletin board (China Daily?) a long time ago; I think they said it was from a park in Shanghai.

June 13, 2005 @ 8:48 am | Comment

I doubt the authenticity of this. Seems more likely to be a mock-up from a movie.

June 13, 2005 @ 8:50 am | Comment

Agree with FSN9.

Looks a bit toooooooo well done.

China Daily?

June 13, 2005 @ 8:56 am | Comment

I think it was China Daily. There were movies made that featured this sign, so it may well be a movie prop. But the saad fact remains, such signs did exist, as they existed for Jews in Nazi Germany.

June 13, 2005 @ 8:58 am | Comment

While we’re at it, let’s post a picture of the sign “No Dogs or Filipinas” signs posted in Tregunter Towers in Hong Kong.

Also, “though the regulations of the International Settlement did indeed forbid Chinese (other than servants and nannies) as well as dogs from the gardens, the infamous sign ‘No Dogs or Chinese Allowed’ never existed.”

June 13, 2005 @ 9:06 am | Comment

Almost certainly a fake or a movie prop.

If it were authentic, it would probably be more grammatically correct. No dogs OR Chinese.

This seems to be a reference to the notorious sign on the gates of Huangpu Park in Shanghai. Unfortunately (for historical accuracy), this sign too seems to be a bit of a myth. There is an excellent article on this at

June 13, 2005 @ 9:11 am | Comment

It’s just that I’ve read a couple of things over the years where Shanghai residents in the 20’s have also questioned the validity of these stories.

Also, the way that the Chinese use this particular story as a bullet in their anti-foreign gun makes me suspicious.

Don’t misunderstand, I would genuinely like to see this sorted out and I would gladly be prepared to apologise for any offence etc.

However, point taken that the 1920’s (nod to 1930/40’s Germany also) were very different than today so it is certainly realistic to imagine that something like the sign did exist.

June 13, 2005 @ 9:12 am | Comment

Liuzhou! Thank you for the link my friend. I’ll pop over and check it out now.

June 13, 2005 @ 9:14 am | Comment


It may not be a legitimate sign now, but I can assure you there was a time in America when such signs were not uncommon. ๐Ÿ™

Where would the railroad system in America be today without the labors of Chinese citizens (forgotten slaves) ?

In fact, I can think of a few countries where such signs might have been prominent. Ironically it would be the same nations that pillaged her.

June 13, 2005 @ 9:21 am | Comment

Orville and Liuzhou are right. The sign never existed. The park was closed to Chinese (not to Japanese) from 1890 till 1928.
Anybody seeking for scientfic verification read:
Robert A. Bickers and Jeffrey N. Wasserstorm, Shanghai’s >Dogs and Chinese not admittedOrville and Liuzhou are right. The sign never existed. The park was closed to Chinese (not to Japanese) from 1890 till 1928.
Anybody seeking for scientfic verification read:
Robert A. Bickers and Jeffrey N. Wasserstorm, Shanghai’s >Dogs and Chinese not admitted< Sign. Legend, History and contemporary Symbol, in: China Quaterly 142 (1995), S. 445 f.

June 13, 2005 @ 9:26 am | Comment

the source is:
Robert A. Bickers and Jeffrey N. Wasserstorm, Shanghai’s >Dogs and Chinese not admitted. Legend, History and Contemprary Symbol, in: China Quarterly 142 (1995), S. 445f.

June 13, 2005 @ 9:31 am | Comment

I’ll make a note in the post about the origins of the sign – thanks Shulan!

Gordon, you’re absolutely right. Hopefully here in the US the signs weren’t this disgusting. Our racism was more “tasteful,” with signs for “coloreds.”

June 13, 2005 @ 9:35 am | Comment

My earlier comments should not be taken to in any way deny that western society was appallingly racist in the not too distant past. Thank goodness the west has grown up to the point that it is generally accepted that it’s a bad thing, even if racism hasn’t been illiminated. There seem to be a number of other cultures out there (which shall remain nameless!) where the idea that there’s anything wrong with it haven’t quite sunk in yet …

June 13, 2005 @ 10:00 am | Comment

if you want to see the movie with that sign, it is in Bruce Lee’s Fists of Fury. When told by a Sikh guard that Chinese could not enter the park because he was Chinese, Bruce Lee jumped and kicked the sign down.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:01 am | Comment

just in case you are wondering, here is the reference:

At the Shanghai Park gate.
Sepoy: Hold it. What do you want?
Chen: I want pass.
Sepoy: Not allowed, I’m afraid.
Points to a sign that says “No Dogs And Chinese Allowed.” A dog walks in.
Chen: And that?
Sepoy: You’re the wrong color, so beat it.
A Japanese official walks by and stops at the gate.
Japanese official: Hey you, come here! You want to get in there? Now, now, tell you what. There’s only one thing you have to do. Pretend you’re a dog and I’ll take you in.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:03 am | Comment

You are welcome Richard.
Just one of these myths that fit in nicely, but nevertheless are myths.
After I just learned that this was in a Bruce Lee movie, I fear it’s to late for clarification and the myth has become reality in many peoples minds.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:31 am | Comment

Shulan … I agree 100%. This story will never go away.

June 13, 2005 @ 10:32 am | Comment

But the “No dogs or filipinas” sign at Tregunter towers (written in Chinese and Tagalog) was an event that was both recent and real, the state of Chinese racism today.

June 13, 2005 @ 11:10 am | Comment

making me feel uneasy, though i know no hostility in it, i really want to kick sb’s ass!

June 13, 2005 @ 11:20 am | Comment

Sorry Henry — the sign is a fake, and that mentality died a long time ago. Please don’t feel bad about it.

June 13, 2005 @ 11:23 am | Comment

it reminds me of the hard times of china, the wars, the humiliations, i definitely hate the war, even think of it, the darkest side of the human being.

June 13, 2005 @ 11:31 am | Comment


whatever did become of that disgusting sign? I hope it was taken down and the persons responsible were appropriately punished.

June 13, 2005 @ 7:32 pm | Comment

What do the Chinese feel about minorities within their own empire?

June 13, 2005 @ 8:03 pm | Comment

I don’t know if the sign in the photo is the original or a photochop, but such a sign did exist. The USAF had a facility at CCK base near Taichung (Taiwan) until the US recognized the PRC. Part of the arrangement with the Chiang regime was that they have a building at CCK to house whatever secret military technology they wanted, and to be sure it stayed secret the building was guarded and strictly off-limits to non-US personnel. An ex-serviceman told me the guards got tired of turning curious ROCAF officers away from the gate and put the sign up.
There is a story that the building was ceded as a US territory like Guantanamo Bay, though I’ve never found any evidence of that.

June 13, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

Mad dogs and Chinamen
National Review, by William McGurn

AMONG old China hands, few more contentious issues exist than that of the “No Dogs or Chinese” sign said to have hung outside the Public Gardens atop the Bund of old Shanghai.

Never mind too that the sign never existed. Countless Chinese schoolboys still grow up with it drummed into their heads, and references continue to pop up in the press, Western as well as Eastern, inevitably to illustrate the wickedness of European colonialism.

Events finally came full circle in Hong Kong recently when it turned out that a luxury apartment building had posted signs banning both maids and dogs from the main elevator. The prohibition on maids appeared in Chinese and Tagalog (the most common of the Philippines’ many languages) and was posted under another sign forbidding dogs.

Although the signs were hastily removed, the spirit behind them lingers on. Just a few days after the story broke, the following note was slipped under the doors of Filipinas living in the building:






It was signed “a group of very angry tenants.”

Reaction was swift and ludicrous. The Philippine consul general lodged a protest and drew parallels with the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi movement. But mostly the war has been carried out on the letters page of the Post, where hostilities have raged between those urging sympathy for the long-suffering Filipinas and those saying the Filipinas need to learn their place. “Yes, we are domestic helpers, but that doesn’t make us less human,” wrote Marrz Saludez Balaoro.

“Although some of them allege that they are college graduates in the Philippines and therefore seem to have a corresponding sense of superiority, they come here to work as domestic helpers, and they should not expect to be treated more favorably than others in their position,” said J. Ong.

But the most priceless letter came from a man who signed his name Robert Thio and was fool enough to append the letters “PhD” after it. The signs, he declared, “were not put up without a valid reason.” He then gave that reason. “I have observed,” said Dr. Thio, “that many Filipino maids speak loudly among themselves in the lifts of the building and on public business (particularly in mini-buses). This is a nuisance and generates resentment among other people.”

Well, the dam burst after this one. Anyone who has heard Cantonese speaking among themselves will concede that they are not exactly Trappist monks, a fact pointed out by the next round of correspondents.

And the infamous sign from atop the Bund? Again, the news is not comforting for those who associate all villainy with the West. Lynn Pan, author of several books on Shanghai, says the source of the myth was revealed to her during a visit to the basement of the Shanghai Museum. In the course of her research for a just-released photo essay on old Shanghai, she stumbled across not one but an entire cache of “No Dogs or Chinese” signs that had been manufactured by Party authorities to parade before visiting foreign delegations.

“People swear until they are blue in the face that they saw it on the Gardens,” says Miss Pan, who fled the city with her family in the 1950s. “But it was never there.”

June 13, 2005 @ 8:36 pm | Comment

Thanks Conrad, I learned a lot from this thread. Of course, the hard-core haters of the West will not believe a single word in the article, as martyrdom is the foundation of their existence.

All that said, the West back at the turn of the century was pretty awful to China, as they were to those in the Congo and just about everywhere else they set up their colonies. Considering hw long ago this was, however, it’s definitely time to get over it.

June 13, 2005 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

Conrad’s post is a perfect demonstration of what I said: for all the racism that exists in the west, at least we’ve finally got the point that it’s wrong. Robert Thio’s comment shows that he just doesn’t get the point.

June 13, 2005 @ 11:56 pm | Comment

Thio doesn’t get it? He is PhD material, I doubt those wretched maids got far past an undergraduate degree, a master’s tops.

June 14, 2005 @ 2:50 am | Comment

Whether the sign existed in that form or not is kind of missing the point. The fact is that during the years of benevolent colonial administration, Chinese were not allowed to walk in parts of their own cities [cue cries of “Shangahi was just a fishing until we came anyway …]. Likewise it wasn’t until after WWII that Chinese were allowed to live on the Peak in HK. Humiliating.

June 14, 2005 @ 5:22 am | Comment


Many thanks for that, it’s much appreciated. I still miss Gweilo Diaries.

June 14, 2005 @ 5:31 am | Comment

The sign really existed, though only for a short time due to the waves of protest of the Chinese residents in the International Settlement.
Such controversy also arose a short time ago in China, but several witnesses came out and comfirmed it. I happened to read about it during my stay in Shanghai.
I’m not surprised that some people would doubt it as it was just an incident lasting a very short time (perhaps a few days, weeks? But the regulation supporting it remained much longer) during the one hundred year foreign administration in the town.
Only sad to see it again be relegated into myths/urban legends.

June 14, 2005 @ 7:07 am | Comment

Leo, how about some evidence?

As for the part about banning Chinese … I made the point before: it wasn’t a ban on Chinese. It was a ban on POOR Chinese. If you were a rich Chinese businessman engaged in profitable trade, you were allowed into the parks etc. The same kind of bans are still in place in China today. Just have a look at how the vagrants are treated.

June 14, 2005 @ 7:38 am | Comment

You folks definitely have your hearts in the right places but I suggest boning up on your history. Until just two or three generations ago these signs were commonplace, regarding Chinese, Jews, Irish and Blacks — in the US. (Of course, in other countries, Europe, Asia, Japan, these types of humans were sometimes simply tortured and killed). Just ask any American (east coast) over 50 — plenty of books cover it too.

June 14, 2005 @ 9:02 am | Comment

PS — after doing a two minute google search I see how readers here became suspicious that the sign isn’t backed up by fact (since as someone familiar with US and Chinese history I know the sign to be quite ordinary). The first 20 google hits of “no dogs or chinese” bring up a bunch of hate group websites (such as ihr, nationalvanguard) that cleverly present themselves as simple news sites. Beware, curious friends, there are lots of racists out there who take advantage of those who know but half the story!

June 14, 2005 @ 9:12 am | Comment

June, no American from the Middle Atlantic or Northeast coast of the U.S. would have seen any such signs in either my own or my father’s (1915) time. Those from the Southeast coast would, of course, have seen “white only” and “colored” signs up until the early 1960s. My half-sister likes to get exercised over the “No Irish need apply” signs, but she forgets we share the same grandparents, and they found no such signs or policies in the early 1900s.

June 14, 2005 @ 9:38 am | Comment

Great point FSN9, yeah, wear the wrong clothes in China and you’re subject to a lot worse than any mythical no dogs or chinese sign.

The difference is, however, that this is Chinese on Chinese prejudice and the world hasn’t quite got it’s head around this concept to date.

Unfortunately ‘prejudice’ often depends on who’s doing it to who rather than the strict defintion of the word. Sad.

June 14, 2005 @ 10:00 am | Comment

The country club (for expatriates) my family belonged to in a Latin American had a sign: “No Women, Children or Dogs allowed” (1970s)

June 14, 2005 @ 10:50 am | Comment

sounds like a moment for…

June 14, 2005 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

Before World War 2, there were signs reading โ€œNo Jews or Dogs Allowedโ€ posted along beaches, hotels and restaurants in Montreal and Toronto. A more polite sign would say โ€œGentiles onlyโ€. I had a Jewish professor who complained about seeing โ€œNo Jews allowedโ€ signs in Montrealโ€™s restaurants. I assure you these signs were quite commonplace in Canada.

June 15, 2005 @ 4:21 am | Comment

I want to say it is another kind of insult against chinese.Yes,I am chinese,I long for see the rascal who pasted the pictures,I would like to assail him”what is your dignity,what is your advantage”.

June 15, 2005 @ 6:49 am | Comment

Somewhere in a book I own is a photo of the sign, but – blast it! – I can’t find it right now. I recall it clearly, as I scanned it and posted it in another forum on this same topic.

The real sign had a list of many things that could not be brought into the park, including nannies with prams and unleashed dogs.

I’ll look again later tonight, if I find it I will send a scan to Richard.

June 16, 2005 @ 7:54 am | Comment

i was reluctant to accept the national review as the authoritative source, so i baidu-ed 华人与狗不准入内.

here is the best link with far too many sources:

here is one that is not hearsay:
according to the May 1916 park rules for Huangpu Park as published by the Works Department:
Rule 2: No dogs or bikes allowed
Rule 3: No Chinese allowed.
So this is a different flavor from a single rule linking Chinese with dogs.

on november 25, 1925, the father of modern china Sun Yat-sen gave a speech titled: “The reasons for the chaos in china”. He said, “The two parks at Huangpo Riverfront and North Sichuan Road in Shanghai still bars chinese people from entering. In front of those parks is a sign: “Dogs and Chinese not allowed!””

there are also lots of quotes from Brits, Americans, and so on.

June 16, 2005 @ 8:58 am | Comment

ESWN – getting back to my first post on this topic, in the earlier thread, that’s exactly the point I made. There was a sign, and it contained a whole list of regulations. It’s also the case, as I’ve said repeatedly, that RICH Chinese weren’t banned.

June 16, 2005 @ 9:12 am | Comment

i know.
it’s the usual thing.
it’s not a racial thing.
they just don’t want the riffraff.

June 16, 2005 @ 11:18 am | Comment

[…] Says who? I've seen it in historical photos You mean a movie: Bruce Leeโ€™s Fists of Fury See The Pekingduck Reply With Quote + […]

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