Foreign Babes in Beijing

What a wild story. No time to blog it — check out the article.

The Discussion: 14 Comments

I have this very book in my book bag, ready to read…can’t wait!

May 12, 2005 @ 11:37 pm | Comment

In my admittedly limited viewing of Chinese TV so far I have yet to see a westerner portrayed in anything other than gross caricature. Is there any show on CCTV that has ever shown Laowai to be anything other than “Western Businessman” and/or sexual predator?

May 13, 2005 @ 5:25 am | Comment

I don’t know the true portraits of Laowai in China but it aint going to be pretty, if look at the often rude, arrogant, condescending, racist, xenophobic, scornful attitudes and behaviors displayed by some Laowai commenters in here. Tracy Ullman has the final words for losers like that.

May 13, 2005 @ 10:32 am | Comment

JR, do you really think the majority of “laowai” commentators here are xenophobic and racist? I don’t.

My understanding is that Jiexi (the character portrayed by the author of that book) became sort of a heroine and a style setter among her viewers. I’m really looking forward to reading the book.

May 13, 2005 @ 11:43 am | Comment

JR, I actually think most of the commenters here are pretty polite. There’s a wide variety of opinion, and usually there is minimal name calling (with the occasional exception, as Lisa learned a few days ago). Some of the rudest exchanges were directed against Bellvue a few months ago; whether he was right or wrong isn’t the point — he was smeared in all sortsof way by those who disagreed with him (and none of whom were Laowai). Maybe some people say things you don’t agree with, but that doesn’t make it rude or racist.

May 13, 2005 @ 11:52 am | Comment

Let’s just not blurr the line between constructive criticism and xenophobic deingration.

May 14, 2005 @ 2:24 am | Comment

Actually Mike, there was a program on CCTV awhile back about and elderly American woman (her name escapes me) who moved to China after she helped develop the nuclear bomb that was used on Japan.

Her and her husband contributed a great deal towards the introduction of modern agriculture in China and she was one of the first foreigners to receive Chinese citizenship.

It was a very interesting segment and she and her husband were portrayed in a very positive manner. Of course, there was a tad bit of propaganda in that broadcast too.

May 14, 2005 @ 10:12 pm | Comment


How can a laowai be xenophobic since xenophobia is a fear or hatred of things that are strange or foreign?

If a foreigner were xenophobic, I don’t think they would be in China.

If anything sounds xenophobic, it’s your comment.

May 15, 2005 @ 12:13 am | Comment

this is my first post on this blog, but I too am anxious to read Rachel’s book. I remember interviewing her way back in 97 or so right after she left Hill and Knowlton, and unfortunately never watched “Foreign Babes” on tv. Her dad is really quite a famous consultant and China scholar and I am sure her insights will be fun to read.

I know of another foreign girl who acted on Chinese tv who was portrayed in a more favorable light and became quite famous (perhaps cuz she was very young at the time) she also went to Columbia after graduating from 55 middle school here and I hear she is now a VJ on CCTV9… last name is MacInnis.

I do however know the name of Joan Rosenberg who is related to the Hinton family. She was a nuclear physicist who became a dairy farmer in Changping county and is a true blue communist. I had heard though an annecdote whereby she was bemoaning how Kraft foods did more for improving the quality of dairy production in China when they arrived here, than all her years and years of admonishments and calls to higher principals.

May 18, 2005 @ 2:31 am | Comment

Does anybody have the name of this TV series in Chinese?

May 20, 2005 @ 3:30 am | Comment

Something like:Yang Niuren Zai Beijing.

I don’t remember the tones.

Great book. I’ve just read it this weekend and made me feel and almost smell the 1996-97 Beijing where I lived, as a typical laowai who couldn’t speak Chinese.

Zai jian!

May 30, 2005 @ 9:16 am | Comment

Hey, thanks Mill. I found it from your clue: 《洋妞在北京》 (yáng niū zài běi jīng)

Article about the show/author (Chinese):

July 13, 2005 @ 7:02 am | Comment

I’m reading the book at the moment, having come home from six months in China last year. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of the TV show but, as another ‘yang niu zai beijing’ I am really enjoying the book. I know a lot has changed in China since the time Rachel was making her observations, but Chinese men still have certain attitudes to foreign babes, even those of us who aren’t particularly like Jiexi.

What I really enjoy about this book is that it is very evocative of Beijing. I don’t know if all the laowai in Beijing are slightly mentally unstable before they arrive, or if that is something China does to you, or perhaps a mixture of both. Whatever, it is not something you can explain to people back home who have never lived in a world where you can only understand half of what is going on.

July 22, 2005 @ 12:46 am | Comment

Isn’t every country xenophobic? White people can be xenophobic and really racist. There are no hate groups in China but there are in America such as the KKK

October 22, 2005 @ 10:25 pm | Comment

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