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Foreigners Are Photo Ops in China


If you’re a tall white guy walking around in touristy parts of China, there’s a good chance you may be stopped by random people and asked to pose for a photo. This strange phenomenon can be seen in this 3-minute video recorded a few years ago by comedian Paul Ogata. It’s titled, “Yes You May Photograph My White Guy.”

Ogata was walking around the Forbidden Palace in Beijing with American comedian Gus Tate, who was living in Beijing. As they went about their business, other Chinese tourists kept walking up and asking for photos with Tate.

“Tourists from remote parts of China come to Beijing to see things they cannot see in their home towns,” writes Ogata. “You know, things like The Forbidden Palace. And white people.”

“While walking around the Palace with American comedian (and current Beijing resident) Gus Tate, I was repeatedly asked by Chinese tourists if they could take pictures with my white friend. It’s a strange world.”

As long as you look like a foreigner, you may find yourself with cameras regularly pointed at you. This can even be true outside China when you run into Chinese tourists. Here are some other videos showing this same cultural oddity:

“On our trip to Malaysia we were surprised that we received so much attention from both the locals and other visiting tourists,” writes SolineSoKawaii.

“So my friends and I were at the Japan Massacre Memorial Place in Nanjing, and were ‘attacked’ by a bunch of Chinese people,” writes Yannick van den Bos. “They wanted to make photos of us, take a look…”