Expatriates in the province of Xuzhou, Jiangsu, face greater scrutiny and policing in the aftermath of a notorious drug bust school in July. As a foreign resident of Xuzhou, I found response from the city a source of interest, frustration and worry. Here are some ways I feel that the life of expatriates in Xuzhou has changed since that fateful day

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First, let me say that Xuzhou is nothing special. Ie, not only as a Chinese perfect medium sized city third level. Until the economic boom spread to Xuzhou was nothing more than a mining town full of powder and a regional transportation hub. Even now has little to tempt tourists or foreign investment and yet, in recent months, Xuzhou has become one of the most densely analyzed in eastern China.

In July this year, 16 foreign (teachers and nine students seven) were arrested on a drugs raid on a facility of Education First. The story was reported internationally by CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, and many others. In recent years, a story like this would probably have been ignored by the foreign press. However, tensions between China and the West, particularly the US, is any kind of scandal involving foreigners in China is increasingly subject to closer examination. While there appears to be politically motivated drug bust Xuzhou, the international press has naturally placed within the broader political context.

I lived in Xuzhou 2009-2014 and returned the same week as the drug bust. Since then, police raids have been a constant source of rumors and concern among immigrants and businesses that employ them. The school work that has been undergone several inspections by the local office of the Ministry of Education and the issue arises almost every day between foreign personnel. Last month, we were instructed to sign forms declaring want to obey the laws of China, that seemed redundant and tough exercise. If I had not signed, would it be allowed to break the law?

Teachers who work for school in the center of the bust now subject to doping control every six months, according to reports. Rumors also abound on foreigners stopped on the street or withdrew from bars and restaurants and forced to take drug tests and have been told by other expatriates in Xuzhou police have the right to appear at his residence without notice and the demand for a sample. Personally, I still have not been subjected to any of these measures, but even the possibility of finding something like this would be unimaginable in the nondescript town first came 10 years ago.

Two recent interactions really exemplify how life has changed for expatriates in Xuzhou. It was not very dramatic, but each was open my eyes his way. Recently he moved into a new apartment and went to the local police station to register, according to the protocol. When the officer realized he was American, said, "Please do not in any trouble. We do not want to Trump Tweet about us. " He was half in jest, and the president of Trump did not, in fact Tweet about school detention, but it is a statement that I do not think I ever would have done a year ago. It's not just foreigners who are under the microscope, but police and local government authorities, as well. Everyone is just a little on edge.

The second incident occurred two weeks ago when he returned to mainland China from Hong Kong. At customs and immigration in Shanghai, he said the officer, with a raised eyebrow, "Oh, go to Xuzhou." Xuzhou never before been the subject of much intrigue. Never before people outside the city thought much about it at all. Maybe I'm being paranoid and the immigration officer was only interested in my plans, but the fact that I'm paranoid also tells a lot. Even in my mind, Xuzhou is tainted by foreign crime.

repression of foreign workers are apparently on the rise across China, with reports Reuters in August that some law firms have seen a tenfold increase in the number of foreign teachers in search of representation. Closer to home in another city in Jiangsu province, two Americans who ran a recruiting agency were arrested last month and accused of aiding illegal immigration in China. Once again, a story that until recently would not have received much attention has been covered by the New York Times, To the Jazeera, CBS News and many more.

I live here with my wife, who is originally from Xuzhou, and our son, who is an American citizen. We are not the only family in Xuzhou with this dynamic, but I worry that our situation is potentially problematic. If we continue to live in Xuzhou or move elsewhere it is something we have discussed frequently since the raids, such is the unstable feeling in the city. If we stay here, me and my son to continue to excel and possibly be forced to pay for the mistakes of other foreigners.

But this city is home to my wife and where I lived for five of the last 10 years. I think of it as a second home, but now we must also think that is something else. I have to maintain an awareness of the international significance of what was an essentially Chinese city. The new reality is that this place I call home, which still is so familiar, has begun to feel less hospitable. I love living in Xuzhou, but I wonder how much longer foreigners will feel welcome here ... and in China as a whole.

Jiangsu,  Shanghai, 

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