'Ask a Laobeijing' is a regular series where we chat with a laoren about their thoughts on different issues. This month, we meet meet Wang, 54, sitting outside his home on Wudaoying Hutong.
What are your thoughts on interracial and intercultural relationships?
It’s fine. You simply have to see what kind of person the other person is. If the girl or boy is good and trustworthy, it doesn’t matter where they come from or whether they happen to be a foreigner or not.
As long as they are not a liar. For example, a foreigner shouldn’t be with a Chinese girl for a few months for a bit of fun, and then leave to go back to his home country. Nor should he be with a Chinese girl when he has another girlfriend or wife back home. When guys lie to young Chinese women – that’s a bad situation.
Of course, from the start, two people from different cultures will have had different upbringings and customs. Even the food they like will be different! Each must have a proper think about this – and the issues that may arise from these differences. People can’t just reason: ‘I’m in China, I’m going to have a Chinese girlfriend’ or ‘I’m in America, I’ll have an American partner.’
In China we are more traditional: One husband, one wife. So you do have to think about these things. I have a 27-year old child whose partner is Chinese. But if my child were with a foreigner I would consider a range of factors, like what country they were from, their character, education and family background.
It doesn’t matter if two people from different cultures have a child. The child’s disposition will depend on both of its parents – as long as the dad and mom are both good people, the child will be fine.
I have more of an open mind about these issues because I am of a younger generation – I was born after 1960. But I think older Chinese people would be less accepting of interracial relationships.