As a Chinese living in Europe are refugees?

The Syrian military conflict has lasted for 7 years. According to the UN in 2017, more than 465 thousand people were killed during the war, more than a million people were injured. The Syrian conflict is one of the most serious military conflict after the cold war. 12 million Syrians — half of the total population of Syria — were forced to flee abroad, 6 million of them are refugees under the age of 18 years.

In many countries, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Colombia, the total number of refugees exceeds one million.

Since the beginning of the Crusades war in the middle East hardly stopped. In the nineteenth century, many developed countries had colonies in the region. Inherited from the colonial powers of the middle East countries got the current borders, which is one of the reasons for the continuing regional military conflicts. During the cold war, the United States tried to prevent the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and actively supported Osama bin Laden and the creation of an Islamist terrorist organization “al-Qaeda” (banned in Russia — approx. ed.) for the preparation of terrorist acts throughout the world. After the “Jihad” George W. Bush announced the beginning of the fight against terrorism. Following this, in the middle East appeared terrorist organization “Islamic state” (banned in Russia — approx. ed.), bringing a lot of misery around the world.

“I live 7,000 miles from Syria, outside of Beijing, and it would seem that the fate of these refugees did not intersect with my life. This crisis for the middle East the camp of the time people around me just say “it’s dangerous, we won’t go there travel””.

The face of war and crisis, people are afraid and instinctively try to escape. Last year this fear for the first time touched me.

Syria is 2,500 kilometers from the capital of Italy Rome where is studying now the daughter of my friend — Xiao Tian. She told how in December last year, her classmate Zhang Yao on the way to the immigration office was robbed and killed one of the refugees. According to local Chinese media, she was killed by an “illegal immigrant”. This case caused a great disturbance and panic among ethnic Chinese living in Italy.

This happened in the 2500 kilometers from Syria in Germany. November 16, 2016 Chinese student in the dormitory have been abused by Iraqi men. 31 December 2016 in the German city of Cologne, thousands of people of “middle Eastern appearance” gathered in the city center near the train station on the Cathedral square. On this day, there have been many cases of robbery and rape. The Minister of justice and consumer protection of Germany Heiko Maas said that one should not shift the blame on the refugees, as it is unclear exactly how interconnected all the attacks of that day.

After these cases, Xiao Tian and her friends, every time you walk through the streets or pass by the settlement of the refugee area, look to see if a number of refugees from the Middle East or North Africa. It seems that it is impossible to understand whether the threat to her life this person or not. According to friends of the students, refugees from the Middle East called the “second black”, and when you meet them, try to “run as far and as fast as possible”.

Xiao Tian live far enough away from Syria, and I even further, but nevertheless, I can imagine the horror that she was experiencing. Nowadays globalization has a great impact on the lives of the people: we eat similar food, wear the same fashions, drive cars made in the same country, have similar views on life. Famous photo of the corpse of a little boy from Syria who fled to Turkey have caused us all the same feelings that led us to sympathize with the refugees; the events of 11 September have caused around the world, regardless of age, nationality, region of residence, skin color, the same feelings — we were all scared.

Being at a distance of 7000 kilometers from Syria, this time in Sweden that had just experienced a terrorist act in Stockholm ethnic Chinese Tsun Pai shared his opinion: “In 2013, my wife and I moved to Stockholm for work. After living here for almost five years, I can say that Sweden attracts immigrants to excellent living conditions and high level of tolerance in society. No wonder the human development index of the UN, Sweden is always one of the first places”. He also said that the Swedish society is based on respect for people of other religions, people of other cultures. This is the reason why the Swedes are comfortable with the refugees or immigrants.

To solve the social integration of refugees from other countries, the Swedish government organized a free Swedish language lessons, if they are then able to offset the costs. The teacher asked my Swedish friend and his wife one question: “When you moved here, what you put in your bags?” All of course said that they took clothes, shoes, but a Syrian young man said that my friend would never forget: “I took a pair of scissors.” It turned out that he was a hairdresser and that’s the only thing he managed to pull out of a burning house.

Tsun Pai told me that in Sweden in the 90-ies there were many refugees from Kosovo. The phrase “refugee from Kosovo” was used not without its negative connotation. The acceptance of refugees in the country, the Swedes perceive with a sense of pride, as I know from childhood that it is necessary to help those who are in trouble.

According to many local Chinese, among refugees and displaced persons used to have a lot in common, they often came to large cities to work. They could not pose a threat to society, perhaps the largest confrontation between the local population and Chinese in Sweden is the “struggle for bread” or in a certain position at work.

However, in the Syrian conflict, from Syria left many refugees that Sweden is not able to accept such number of people. Language courses, many refugees began to sit back and live only for material support. Many of them lived in a special camp, forming there “microsocium”. Faced on the street of Syrian refugees Tsun Pai began to experience the same feelings as Xiao Tian in Rome. They began to fear.

Some Chinese believe that refugees have a strong impact on public order. In Stockholm, the yearly music festival WE ARE STHLM. In 2014 and 2015 during the festival, there have been documented cases harassment from the refugees to the young girls. On 7 April 2017, when the truck ran over the people, two people died. The driver of the vehicle was a refugee. Despite this, the Swedish police have been unable to establish the identity of criminals.

However, Tsun Pai is still good to the refugees. He believes that among the people there are always good and bad. Moreover, escaped from the war, people coming to a new country, are in a very vulnerable position, and most of them are good people. Negative news related to refugees, most often cause the Swedes laugh.

After events occurred, the right wing Swedish democratic party (second largest party in Sweden) has proposed to toughen immigration policy, including the ethnic Chinese living in Sweden. This process took a very long time and not completed so far. For example, citizens of Sweden, if you go to work in the UK are required to apply for a special visa.

In addition to cases of harassment and negative coverage of the situation of refugees in the media, the impact of immigrants on the lives of others? The resident of a small town in Bavaria Teresa Parstorfer told me about her neighbor halide:

“Khalid — the girl who fled Afghanistan 5 years ago in Bavaria, does not know her true age, since Afghanistan has never celebrated his birthday. The staff for refugees in appearance and decided that a girl of about 18 years and put the date of birth of 1 January, like other refugees. Khalid with his brother fled through Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and finally reached Germany. A girl from a quite wealthy family, as part of the way her new neighbors were doing on the plane, in contrast to those leaving on the boats.”

Khalid came to Germany in the first two months, when the flow of refugees in Europe was huge. The German government helps them and resolves to visit the school for learning the German language. A lot of people died either on the battlefield or during flight, Khalid believes that she is very lucky. The girl glad lives in a small, quiet town. Few of the refugees were lucky as her. Khalid suffered many hardships and hopes to meet in this town for new friends. However, due to the fact that the girl does not know German language and profess a different religion, she can’t communicate with the Germans. However, Khalid hopes to remain in Germany. While Khalid has no friends, no connections, it is very difficult to integrate into a new society.

Teresa Parstorfer said: “When she first came, she was very thin, and it seemed to me that if I give her to school, instead of two sandwiches 10, then she will eat them”.

It would seem that 10 thousand kilometers it is so far from us and the only way to get in touch with the Middle East is a TV screen. Whether “Richard the Lionheart”, “Lawrence of Arabia,” “American sniper”, all these movies over the last 10 years, cause delight of the audience, namely how the Western characters are going to conquer the East. These films often included pictures showing how local are raped, killed, beheaded. In this regard, the impression is that they are extremely dangerous and need to stay away from them. Thus, Western society puts a stereotype on more than 500 million inhabitants of the Middle East. Fear has become a common weapon of terrorists and right, forcing us on the wave of globalization to evade, and from the other.

When our screen idol says “Look, I’m standing near a refugee”, we immediately think he should stay away and not to go to him because he is unpredictable and dangerous, haven’t we fearful? But if fear begins to control our mind, how we act in times of war or crisis in our country? What choice do we make?

Going back to what is happening beyond the screen, Sweden tightened its immigration policy, Tsun Pai is seriously concerned, as it may be targeted to the return of Chinese to their homeland. The halide in Germany, received a grant for art courses, but she doesn’t know what will happen in the country after the elections and will change whether migration policy. The girl says: “If I one day have to return to Afghanistan, I’m sure me to death stone”.