A local official from Yangzhou, East China’s Jiangsu Province was in the center of public debate after he visited a foreign woman who delivered a baby unaccompanied by any friend of relative in a local hospital, raising questions about foreign people’s preferential treatment in China.
Chapepa Sharon Tendai, from Zimbabwe, gave birth to a baby boy in Yangzhou on Saturday night. Tendai’s childbirth drew the attention of Yu Ting, deputy mayor of Yangzhou, who visited the woman “despite the heavy rain” on Sunday, local newspaper Yangzhou Evening News reported.
It said that Yu, accompanied by other officials, visited Tendai with baby clothes, milk powder and other things. Employees from the city’s foreign affairs office also said they would notify the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe to help Tendai’s mother apply for a Chinese visa.
The report was later removed from the newspaper’s website. However, it sparked wide controversy after being posted on China’s social media.
“It’s very normal for a foreigner to give birth in China. However, it is strange that her childbirth attracted the attention of a deputy mayor, and the media reports praising the mayor’s gesture sounds weird to me,” netizen Xiaomogu said on Zhihu, a Chinese question-and-answer website.
Apart from the deputy mayor, Tendai also got help from the medical workers. Zhou Jinjin, the doctor, accompanied Tendai the whole time, after she knew that Tendai has no one there to take care of her, said the report.
By helping a foreign pregnant woman who has no one to rely on in China, the local government probably aims to build a good image for the city and its officials, Hu Xingdou, a professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology, told the Global Times.
However, Hu noted that local government should take less controversial move to build its image, such as focusing on the measures of how to improve local people’s life.
Some netizens also contrasted Tendai’s experience with another pregnant woman in North China’s Shanxi Province.
Police in Pinglu county, Shanxi Province, apologized on WeChat on June 23 for blocking a pregnant woman on her way to the hospital, saying “the officials from the county are sitting in the car behind you. You have to wait until they pass,” the pregnant woman said on her WeChat, according to the Beijing News.
The preferential treatment of foreigners is also seen in public services. In 2012, police in Ningbo, East China’s Zhejiang Province went through five tons of stinking garbage to find the lost passport of a Russian businessman, local news site zjol.cn reported.
“I lost my 6,000 yuan ($870) mobile on a bus and called the police. All they said was that I should wait, so I waited for two years, and nothing happened,” wrote Sina Weibo user yuechuyi. — (Global Times)
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily