How to Alienate Your Chinese Colleagues in 7 Days

How to Alienate Your Chinese Colleagues in 7 Days
Sep 06, 2023 By Malgorzata Modlinska ,

There are many foreigners working in China with various jobs, personalities and experiences. One thing that we all have in common, however, is the ability to alienate our Chinese colleagues very quickly and very easily. In a bid to give you some advice we hope you don’t take, here’s our guide on how to alienate your Chinese colleagues in just seven days.

Chinese colleagues

Day One: Be over-confident and bossy

So you’ve only just arrived in China or started at a new  job, but don’t let that stop you from throwing your weight around. Make sure you enter the office like you own the place on your first day, giving off an air of over-confidence and making no effort to win the hearts and minds of your local colleagues. Help them realize that they should be thankful that such a rare and talented laowai like yourself has decided to join the team. Boy, do they need some guidance!

As soon as you get to your desk, demand office supplies, complain about the temperature and the speed of the internet and roll your eyes whenever someone tries to talk to you in broken English. Make no effort to introduce yourself or speak Chinese. Let them come to you!

Day Two: Demand a VPN

Continue with the winning attitude from your first day but add to it by getting very loud and annoyed about the fact that the company doesn’t provide a VPN for each and every computer. If some of your colleagues don’t know what a VPN is or why you need one so badly, make a ‘duh?!’ face and proceed to lecture them about how the Chinese internet is not the real internet.

For bonus points, start a loud debate about Chinese history and politics and quiz your colleagues about what they do and don’t know about their own country. Make sure you bring up the most controversial subjects you can think of and call anyone with a differing opinion ignorant.

Day Three: Complain about the pollution

This part is really crucial and effective – look out of the window and comment on how horrible and polluted the air is. If it’s a high AQI day, the chances are your colleagues will have the windows open to ‘allow the air to circulate.’ Point out how this makes absolutely no scientific sense and they’re all idiots.

Follow up with a monologue about how dirty China is and how horrible Chinese habits are. Remember to give your colleagues priceless pieces of advice like, “Stop being so greedy,” and “Get rid of all of the factories.” Don’t forget to tell them how clean the air is in your own country without acknowledging the fact that everything you own back home is made in China.

Day Four: Call out your colleagues

Start paying close attention to how your colleagues (and perhaps even your superiors) are doing their jobs and loudly point out all the mistakes they’ re making if you think they could do better. Don’t worry about the silly Asian notion of ‘losing face'. It’s important that everyone else in the office hears you giving this precious feedback. They all no doubt have a thing or two to learn from you.

If your unwitting mentees fail to implement your suggestions right away, talk loudly with your foreign colleagues about how China is backwards because local people are unwilling to learn from sophisticated Westerners.

Day Five: Badger your colleagues to help you out with personal tasks

It’s day five, so you should now feel comfortable enough to start badgering your Chinese colleagues to help you out with your Chinese life admin. Have them buy 10 different things on Taobao for you, translate your messages from the bank, give your ayi instructions and talk to the lunch delivery guy on the phone. It’s really the least they could do because, instead of using a normal alphabet like most of the rest of the world, stubborn Chinese people insist on sticking to their insane language system, which you quite simply don’t have time to learn.

Day Six: Rant about work-life balance

You’ve been starting later than your Chinese colleagues and finishing earlier every day, but today you’re asked to go beyond the exact scope of your contract. Maybe the boss needs you to sub in for a Chinese colleague who is sick or stay late to get a proposal off to a client on time.

Make it clear to everyone how unacceptable it is that you’re being asked to put in a few extra hours or take on something beyond your usual remit. Rant about how disorganized everyone in China is and tell your colleagues that in any developed country there are clear rules and a strict order in the workplace. Anything else is exploitation and beyond contempt. Don’t forget to mention how “little” you’re being paid. Never mind the fact that its probably a lot more than your Chinese colleagues are getting.

Day Seven: Mock every aspect of Chinese society

Don’t delay quizzing your Chinese colleagues about their life choices. Why did they get married so early? Why did they have a kid so young? Why do they live with their in-laws? Why are they saving up to buy their parents a house? Tell them how fabulous, free and fun your life is in comparison.

While you’re at it, bring all your general complaints about China to the table. There are too many people on the subway; nobody cares about personal space; some people have terrible breath; your ayi doesn’t clean the floor the way you like it. Be sure to stress the fact that you’re only here because your spouse was sent here/your company sent you here/or you came for the high laowai salary. Tell them you can’t wait to get back to a civilized country ASAP.

So that’s how to alienate your Chinese colleagues in just seven days. We hope you take this article in the tongue-in-cheek nature it was intended and in fact do none of the above. Perhaps take some tips from this article instead: 6 Ways for Foreigners to Make Friends in the Chinese Workplace. You’ll probably get on much better.

Hot New Jobs recommended for you
Foreign Editor (English)
  • 15,000 - 25,000 CNY /Month
  • Beijing
  • Full Time
Urgent!Primary PYP Homeroom Teacher-2024
Beijing Royal School
  • 29,000 - 38,000 CNY /Month
  • Beijing
  • Full Time
ESL for Grade 1-12 &KG Homeroom Teacher
Beijing New Talent Academy (BJNTA)
  • 25,000 - 30,000 CNY /Month
  • Beijing
  • Full Time
Foreign Private English Tutor
37 Interactive Entertainment
  • 20,000 - 30,000 CNY /Month
  • Guangzhou
  • Full Time
Account Manager(German/French preferred)
Swedbrand Ltd
  • 10,000 - 11,000 CNY /Month
  • Shanghai
  • Full Time
Part-time Native English Teacher
The Bridge School Beijing
  • 230 - 250 CNY /Hour
  • Beijing
  • Part Time
English Teacher
Meiyin Education Co.Ltd
  • 200 - 280 CNY /Hour
  • Guangzhou
  • Part Time
Overseas Service Regulations Management
  • 15,000 - 30,000 CNY /Month
  • Shanghai
  • Full Time
ESL Foreign Teacher
Shanghai Xinxiang Education Technology Co., Ltd
  • 17,000 - 30,000 CNY /Month
  • Shanghai
  • Full Time|Part Time
Preschool Teacher
Longitude International Education
  • 28,000 - 34,000 CNY /Month
  • Guangzhou
  • Full Time
View More Jobs

Warning:The use of any news and articles published on without written permission from constitutes copyright infringement, and legal action can be taken.

Keywords: Expat workers in China


All comments are subject to moderation by staff. Because we wish to encourage healthy and productive dialogue we ask that all comments remain polite, free of profanity or name calling, and relevant to the original post and subsequent discussion. Comments will not be deleted because of the viewpoints they express, only if the mode of expression itself is inappropriate.