fare hopper

Fare-Dodging Foreigners in Shanghai Draw National (and Violent) Condemnation

People respond with threats of violence, deportation

China’s obsession over civil behavior has taken another dark turn as reports of fare hopping by three expat youths on the Shanghai Metro has been met with strong condemnation and threats of violence.

Last Saturday morning, video surveillance caught the three youths entering the Middle Longhua Road Station on Line 7 without paying a fare. What’s more, the trio brought bicycles with them, which are banned.

Reports say that when confronted by a station employee, the three foreigners pretended not to speak Chinese. Furthermore, the trio used foul language and rude gestures to insult the subway staff. They were only persuaded to leave the station after another passenger used English to strongly criticize them for their behavior. No fines were given for fare evasion, or for bringing bikes to the subway.

fare hopper

The Shanghai Metro has had a huge problem with fare evaders. In 2012, over 202,000 people were fined 476,000 yuan for dodging fares on the Shanghai Metro, while Shenzhen said it lost five million yuan in 2013. A popular 2013 video showed 21 people jumping turnstiles at the same Shanghai Metro entry gate within 90 seconds of each other. Just last year, they openly considered publicly shaming violators using social media.

But despite being such a common infraction, this fare-hopping incident has received national coverage from Chinese news organisations. And with China dealing with a glut of news stories about Chinese displaying uncivil behavior inside and outside the country, a focus is being put on similar news stories about uncivil behavior performed by non-Chinese.

Unlike the soul searching that accompanied one recent story about expat misbehavior, this story has attracted outright condemnation. Even the Yangtze Evening Report prefaced its report by writing, “Where are their manners?”

Chinese people were downright harsh in their reaction. Online comments called for severe punishments, deportation, and even violence to be committed against them, emphasizing the uneasy relationship Chinese have with foreigners.

Here’s what some Chinese netizens had to say about the three fare-hopping expats:

Aren’t the three of you afraid of getting drowned to death with such a brazen show of atrocious behavior in the motherland?

Those who have become numb to getting pushed around will get bullied to extreme lengths. These sons-of-bitches should be killed upon sight.

It looks like these foreign dogs have been pampered. They look African, the favortite type for some women.

Why is it that foreigners are privileged?

Chinese people feel inferior way too much; they worship everything that is foreign.

Get out of China, [expletive] your ancestors.

They all look black to me, no wonder that…

Human flesh search the whereabouts of these three people! Let’s go take a visit for ourselves!

Even though I live in a small town, we wouldn’t be able to accept this kind of treatment from these foreigners. Shanghai residents are just second-class citizens. What if three Shanghai people were to try the same thing? The Chinese dream is just something that happens at night.

Foreign trash; are the PSB afraid to deal with this?

Getting the cops to come and take of this matter is the best method. You are too courteous in dealing with this.

Chinese officials and police officers act like castrated eunichs when dealing in foreign affairs.

Where is their inner essence? Where is the inner essence of democratic people?

Aiya! If this were Chinese people doing this, who’d know how bad the outcome would be!!

There are so many laowai in Shanghai, and so many of those are shameless. Why don’t we catch them?

And then? Weren’t they deported? But it’s over like that… This type of action is spoiling these kinds of foreigners…

We don’t welcome these kinds of foreigners.

Why weren’t they caught? Are the security check personel, security guards, and police too terrified?

Don’t say ‘foreigner’, mention their nationality! All yellow-skinned people with bad inner essence outside the country are scapegoated as Chinese.

A news video of the incident can be seen here, complete with scary music.

Charles Liu

The Nanfang's Senior Editor