Sinophobia – More than Fear; Political Fear for Some
Do you get anxious when even thinking about China? Do you avoid “made in China” items? Does seeing on television anything related to China or Chinese culture make your heart beat faster, forcing you to shut down the screen?
If the sight of someone with Chinese features brings on a panic attack, you may have sinophobia, the fear of China.
With today’s political and cable news environment it can be easy for some to develop the deep-rooted fear of China and the Chinese people.
Explaining yourself must be difficult. How do you make people realize the terror that grips you at the sight of all things Chinese?
However, don’t lose hope. There are different kinds of phobias, and you can treat almost all with a combination of self-help and professional therapy.
What is sinophobia, its causes, and treatments? Keep reading to find out.
What does sinophobia mean? It is defined as contempt or fear of China, its culture, and its people. The fear also includes the fear of goods made in China or labeled “Made in China.”
Sinophobia is not a new thing. However, the outbreak of coronavirus has amplified the fear.
It’s important to note that sinophobia is a fear people have of China and things related to it. It is not a disgust. This phobia stems strictly from fear.
Sinophobia is an irrational fear that may intensify to a point where one may experience anxiety or panic attacks when thinking about anything Chinese.
Most times, individuals may try to self-remedy the situation by avoiding things that may expose them to the object of their fear. In the case of sinophobia, they’ll avoid travel to China or watching shows or movies that may have Chinese characters in them. They’ll also avoid Chinese products or food.
However, in a world that is no longer limited by boundaries, people of all races can be found throughout the globe. And as such, avoiding is a technique that simply doesn’t work.
Avoidance also tends to worsen the phobia, as it is a justification of the feelings of dread. It makes one even more fearful, which plays out when they come face-to-face with the object of their fear.
Cause of Sinophobia
The definitive cause of phobias like sinophobia is primarily unknown; however, certain factors can individually or in combination cause the development of the phobia.
- Genetic predisposition: If someone has a history of mental illness, especially anxiety disorders, the risk of developing sinophobia increases.
- Experience: If someone had a terrible experience with something related to China or read or watched some bad news, they may develop sinophobia.
- Covid pandemic: The pandemic has played a leading role in fueling sinophobia. People associated the virus with China, which led to worldwide discrimination and violence against the Chinese.
Symptoms of Sinophobia
Symptoms vary from one individual to another and depend on the severity of the phobia.
People with mild cases of sinophobia may experience symptoms like shakiness and sweating, while those with extreme cases may experience panic attacks.
Other symptoms are listed below:
- Muscle tension
- Increased heart rate
- Extreme anxiety when thinking of anything related to China
- Panic attacks
- Constantly avoiding things related to China
- Incapacity to cope with the anxiety
Like most other phobias, there is no particular treatment for sinophobia. However, educating and training the mind can treat this irrational fear and relieve the symptoms of sinophobia.
If you’re facing mild symptoms, it makes sense to try helping yourself first.
- Try to focus on how the fear is irrational and does not pose real threat. Working on this thought will help improve your mental condition.
- Expose yourself to the object of your fear. Do this gradually and be consistent in your effort. Eventually, the fear will not hold the same power, and you will overcome your fear.
- Try relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and exercises. These techniques are highly beneficial for someone suffering from anxiety, as it helps divert the mind to more meaningful tasks. Exercise helps release good hormones like endorphins, which help reduce stress and anxiety.
- Maintain a diary detailing your fear and your reaction to it. Try to find the cues and signals that led to the development of your fear. Note your progression, shortcomings, and areas to work on. This will help you get a clearer picture that will help overcome your fear.
If you are unable to cope with your fear, reach out for professional help. A therapist can employ various treatment techniques to help you overcome your fear of China.
Most commonly, a therapist will try exposure therapy. Here, you are exposed to the object of your fear in a controlled environment in the presence of a professional.
The therapist may also try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which will help you uncover the cause of your fear and help you replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.
For extreme cases, a mental health practitioner may prescribe anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs for symptomatic relief. Once the client starts responding to therapy, medication will be reduced.
Learning to Cope with Sinophobia
Sinophobia can be limiting because those who struggle with it often try to avoid the object of their fear. This can prove impossible. You’re bound to pick up a product made in China at the grocery store or meet a Chinese national on the commute.
Trying to avoid the situation can affect your social life, limiting you and further fueling the fear.
Therapy will help relieve your symptoms, so you can cope with the fear. It is possible to overcome or manage your phobia.
Sinophobia can lead you away from normalcy. Reach out for help. Learn how you can overcome your fear and enjoy life to the fullest.