Foreigner and Security Guard Argument Outside of Peking University Goes Viral

Foreigner and Security Guard Argument Outside of Peking University Goes Viral
Jun 17, 2014 Translated by

This article translated from is about a minor disagreement that occurred between a foreigner and a Chinese security guard. The security guard is praised for his good attitude whilst the foreigner comes across as rude and disrespectful. This kind of article is becoming more and more common and it raises question about whether or not it would even be news if the people involved were both Chinese, and how Chinese people react to news about ‘foreigners’.

A foreigner was recently stopped outside the gates of Peking University because he did not possess the proper identification or paperwork to enter the university. The angry foreigner proceeded to use profanities to insult and abuse the university security officer. The security guard replied to the man that, “swearing is a sign of uneducated behavior.” The video of the interaction between the man and the guards soon went viral on the internet. After the video went viral, Xiao Zhang, one of the main security officers in the incident was criticized by the chief of the security guards, who said that this kind of interaction was no good.

A Viral Video: Foreigner Curses, Security Guards Call Him Uneducated

In the video, there is a clear shot of a foreign man wearing sunglasses, dressed in a shirt and trousers and carrying a briefcase. The foreigner is speaking with uniformed security guards. He attempts to use his shaky Chinese to persuade them to let him in the gate, saying, “I want to tell them, but you will not let me attend the meeting.” The security guard, to the side, attempts to use gestures to give the man directions. “I’m not not letting you attend; I’m telling you that the Guanghua New Building is 50 meters to the left of the East Gate.”

Finally, when the security guards would still not let him enter the school gates, the foreign man shook his head and turned to walk away. Before he left, he pointed his finger at the security guard that he had just spoken with and said to his female companion, “Just f*cking go.” The security officer standing behind the man said to him that, “Profanity is not proper speech, and it shows one’s uneducated manner.”

This less than a minute section of the video has gained much attention online. Many Netizens have upvoted and “liked,” posts about the security guard. At the same time, many have criticized the actions of the foreign man.

Viral Video Criticized by Leadership, “This Kind of Thing is No Good.”

Yesterday afternoon, the East Gate security guard from the viral video, Xiao Zhang, was interviewed by reporters. Still wearing his uniform, Xiao Zhang has slightly tan skin and was wearing a pair of black cloth shoes. Xiao Zhang happened to be working the shift at the East Gate again with another colleague. At his post, he checked identification of students and other entering the university and opened the larger gate for cars and other vehicles. A large part of his job seemed to be continually blocking waves of cyclists and telling them to “get off your bike before entering the school gate.”

Xiao Zhang also stopped a male student who had attempted to enter the gate using someone else’s ID card. After his counterpart gave had actual cardholder a call, and the student was able to produce an ID number of his own, they let him pass through the gates. “A lot of things have happened on campus, there have been tests and activities. The rules have become stricter,” Xiao Zhang told reporters. Xiao Zhang had a smile on his face throughout the many tasks and issues he faced on at his guard post. When reporters mentioned the viral video, Xiao Zhang said that he had already forgotten the specific time at which the event took place but that it had been roughly four or five days earlier. 

“Originally I forgot about the whole thing, but this morning my captain criticized me over it and then I remembered,” said Xiao Zhang. His superiors had found out about the incident from the online viral video and criticized him for the way he had spoken back, saying that “this kind of thing is no good.”

As Xiao Zhang remebers it, that day, a foreign man and his Chinese female counterpart were together, were trying to go the wrong way to their destination and enter the East Gate of the university. They were stopped from entering. The man had no Peking University documents and his attitude was not cooperative. “In the beginning they did not say what they were doing, later they said they were going to Guanghua New Building to attend a meeting. I told him that this was not the correct gate.” Following this exchange, the scene from the video began.

Xiao Zhang has worked as a security guard at Peking University for four and a half years. He said that these kinds of incidents do occasionally happen, but he already knows not to take it to heart. “It’s all done according to the established standards, as long as he left my gate, it wouldn’t matter to me,” said Xiao Zhang.

Netizens Admire Quality of Security

Netizens have voiced approval of Xiao Zhang’s response to the aggressive foreign man and criticized the heads of the Peking University security force for reprimanding him.

A chief of the Peking University security bureau told reporters that there is a code of conduct in place for the behavior of university security guards but did not discuss the specifics. However, Netizens believe that Xiao Zhang’s reply correctly embodies and reflects the qualities and values needed to be a security guard at a top ranking institution.


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Keywords: Foreigner argues with security guard at Peking University Peking university guard tells off foreigner


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most of the gate guards I've encountered are pretty freakin' cool. Occasionally there's a real dick; on the other hand, most foreigners I've met are real arses

Jul 09, 2015 22:01 Report Abuse



These kind of news is for distract Chinese from all the shit that's going on in their country. That security guard was so friendly cos the guy was a foreigner, if it was a Chinese it would have been completely different.

Jun 26, 2014 19:35 Report Abuse



What a rambling nonsensical article. The point is what? That some foreigners are ridiculously stupid? That's true. That the security guard was doing his job? Good for him. This article just reports some facts of an incident, yet lacks any statement of purpose.

Jun 23, 2014 19:17 Report Abuse



Chinese just get so giddy over any display of Chinese superiority. I could come up with better ways to insult a person's intelligence off the top of my head, but they're so proud that their "no-can-do-you-shall-not-pass" security guard could insult a visitor in English. Never mind that he had years to prepare for this frequently-occurring situation, and that it's his on-duty responsibility to *defuse* tense situations, not inflame them. For me, it's just another Chinese EPIC FAIL, showing their intellectual and moral bankruptcy yet again.

Jun 24, 2014 13:38 Report Abuse



Why is such a fuss being made anyway? Is there a psychosis on either side? Is China being beseiged by the foreigner? What precipitates this sensationalism?

Jun 23, 2014 11:02 Report Abuse



This kind of article is becoming more and more common and it raises question about whether or not it would even be news if the people involved were both Chinese, and how Chinese people react to news about ‘foreigners’. Fomenting anti-foreigner sentiment through "othering?"

Jun 23, 2014 08:59 Report Abuse



Maybe this is backlash because Chinese people are being limited access to the university in Chiang Mai. They were behaving badly though. Interrupting classes, throwing trash everywhere, shouting. So now they can only enter through one gate and have to be taken around the university. I guess when you behave badly this is what happens.

Jun 19, 2014 06:15 Report Abuse



If he was going to attend the meeting, he must have the invitation card or any other identity doc to get in. If he had one, I don't think so he could have been stopped by the guard. Where does the problem start; already late for meeting, had no identity document but claiming to attend a meeting. I think the guard has been too polite in that scenario.

Jun 18, 2014 17:50 Report Abuse



I don't know what to make of this.

Jun 17, 2014 17:27 Report Abuse



I am always nice to guards no matter where it is. It's funny how happy they'll be to see you afterwards. Treat these guys like people. Be nice to them, chat with them. You'll never have trouble again.

Jun 17, 2014 17:01 Report Abuse



Was told recently by a well seasoned expat who has been here a number of years that it is Chinese custom to "bully" security guards into letting you into places. With his moderate knowledge of Chinese, He demonstrated this feat at the local botanical gardens...getting more and more irate with the guard to let us in with the motorcycle. he finally relented. elite chinese do it all the time. as for foreigners, i guess it depends on the person and venue.

Jun 17, 2014 13:48 Report Abuse



sign the guest book they have with passport number.... make security find someone for you.... Make a huge stink about it.... and profanity is perfect in such a situation. it is part of the language. don't limit yourself because others find some words to spicy.

Jun 17, 2014 18:28 Report Abuse



I was in this exact situation: traveled 7,000 miles, landing in China invited by PKU and absolutely no-one to meet me, and yes I was turned away at the PKU gate. On the other hand, I thought this would make a great story to take home so I took it with a smile. There is never any excuse to use profanity Mr. Foreigner. And in fact, Mr. Foreigner deserves to be turned away. He probably lost it because he was tired, jet-lagged and perhaps unused to local customs. But that is no excuse. I, on the other hand, simply redoubled politeness with the guard(s) on several occasions, and they finally let me in, even though I had definitely no PKU ID card yet. After I got my PKU ID, I was let in without even having to show it. I recognized the guards and they recognized me. It's not about foreigners or whatever, it's about impolite people. Was the guard overzealous? Well, I will answer this question this way: how many Americans think TSA guards at US airports are nice, courteous and easygoing? Good job Mr PKU Guard. Learn your lesson Mr. Foreigner. 入乡随俗 :-)

Jun 17, 2014 10:06 Report Abuse



Why is this big news? Because a "foreigner" swore? Is the worst thing they can dig up about foreigners? Chinese are really getting desperate to distract themselves from their inner-turmoil aren't they? Yes, the foreigner was in the wrong. But if it had been a random Chinese person, nobody would have cared.

Jun 17, 2014 09:55 Report Abuse



It's big news because "foreigners", especially Westerners, have a raging habit of pointing out every single bad habits or ill mannered acts committed by the locals, but they are in fact no stranger to committing those acts themselves.

Jun 22, 2014 02:39 Report Abuse



LOL. I have reached the point that the 'bad' behaviour or habits no longer registers with me unless it is way over the top, or if intrudes on me quietly going about my daily life. Should I ignore the local who goes through my shopping while i stand in line at the check-out? Would I be recorded and posted online if i objected to this?

Jun 22, 2014 11:10 Report Abuse



Chinese people just need to hate someone, tired of hating their own people for so long time, now they need a new target. Anyway, many foreigners living in China always complain about Chinese being rude and blablabla, but then they do the same or much worse... where is the point?, find out who is the politest by being rude and ignorant? For that "diegoelizalde13" saying "Chinese guys commit these kinds of acts every day,but it'e never been on news", yes they are seen on news, but apparently not by you, and the 5 that vote you.Though they don't need to be on the news, you can see Chinese guys beating woman, beating themselves, beating 1 guy when they are 3 or more, beating animals while laughing, bothering people when they get drunk, shitting on the middle of the street, throwing things from their home windows, pushing and arguing with women when they get on the bus or train, well you get the point, these things do not need to be on the news cos they are seen everyday on the streets, and Chinese know them all too well. They just got use to it, and that's what they hope for us, that we can also get use to it.

Jun 26, 2014 19:52 Report Abuse



as usual there is only half the story. Was the foreign guy involved in running the meeting? Did the conversation with the security guard start in a polite manner? Was the guy very late for the meeting and the fact the the building was only 50 meters away from the gate he wanted to enter would ensure he was on time? how long would it have taken him if he had entered through the 'right' gate? While there is never any need to resort to bad-language, there are so many unknowns. And it is typical of people here recording incidents involving foreigners. Articles like this one just seem bent on presenting foreigners in a poor light.

Jun 17, 2014 09:00 Report Abuse



To be fair, the "foreign" guy had it all wrong: 1. went through the wrong gate; 2. had no university identification 3. acted like a total ass. Just because the guy was visibly a Western foreigner, it doesn't grant him privileged access through a secured and controlled gate. Westerners need to get over this, it's not December 1955 anymore. Who knows, he might have been a bad guy who lied his way through to go steal things, commit vandalism, or even worst, physically harm students. The guard was only doing his job.

Jun 22, 2014 02:17 Report Abuse



As I said, it is only half a story. Did he forget his ID and papers? Was there someone inside who could have identified him? All that is being reported is one side. Granted he was rude, but so are MANY people on a daily basis here and they don't get reported: I see this happen every day between local people and guards. Only for the fact he was a foreigner has this story probably been deemed 'news-worthy'. For every foreigner who does this, how many Chinese people behave in a similar fashion? Are they recorded and posted online? True, being foreign to China does not automatically confer privilege, but Chinese people are quick to point fingers at us as a form of entertainment, even if we are going about our daily business in a quiet manner.

Jun 22, 2014 09:49 Report Abuse



This scene didn't get viral because there was simply a foreigner in it, it caught attention because a "foreigner" behaved in the same manner in which the rest of foreigners, especially Westerners, constantly accuse Chinese of. How often do you see and hear Westerners criticizing and looking down on locals because they cut the line, spit and urinate on the street, act obnoxiously etc... as if they were superior beings who were never guilty of the same behaviours? Pretty much hourly. And that scene, amongst many others that have been reported recently thanks to technology, proves that Westerners are no different to behaving in the same way as locals. Also, what's with the defensive reflex of always pointing fingers at locals because the Westerner herd acted in the same wrong way as them? Two wrongs don't make a right.

Jun 22, 2014 13:06 Report Abuse



I stand corrected: Chinese people NEVER spit or urinate in public. Nor do they cut queues, take photo's of foreigners without their permission or treat foreigners as a form or live entertainment in any way by staring at them. Nor do Chinese people try to cheat foreigners by charging them higher prices. These are clearly lies made up by unhappy foreigners against Chinese people.

Jun 22, 2014 16:54 Report Abuse



You are going from one extreme to the other. Classic case of emotional opinion. Fact is Westerns foreigners in China criticize the locals constantly, but are found guilty of committing those same actions. Hypocrisy at its prime.

Jun 22, 2014 17:13 Report Abuse



LOL. my response was ironic. I am not saying all foreigners are saints. But nor do ALL foreigners 'look down' on Chinese people. To say that is a generalization and very unhelpful, and more often than not, to say so has to do with how insecure a person feels about people from other countries. However, things like spitting and urinating in public ARE matters of public health and a matter of concern to ALL people. I don't like being treated any differently from Chinese people, but I dislike being stared at any time I am out on the street BECAUSE I am foreign. I dislike people taking my picture without my permission - something that has never happened to me in any other country i have visited, JUST BECAUSE I am foreign. I don't say everyone does it, but it happens DAILY. I have asked Chinese friends why local people feel they can do this to foreigners with impunity, they have no answer. As I said in my earlier answers, there was no excuse for the foreign man to be rude. But to tar all foreigners with the same brush, like saying 'All Chinese are blah blah blah' doesn't help anything. I don't like the spitting, urinating or staring here, but am i supposed to ignore it?

Jun 22, 2014 17:42 Report Abuse



Deport the arrogant asshole.

Jun 17, 2014 07:01 Report Abuse