Internet search giant Baidu and popular forum mop.com jointly launched a campaign with Sina Weibo yesterday, calling on Internet users to expose bad behavior by foreigners in China.
The move came after a British man was detained for allegedly molesting a Chinese woman in Beijing on May 8.
Also yesterday, a Russian cellist issued a public apology for putting his feet on the seat in front of him on a bullet train and cursing a female passenger in Chinese on Monday, which angered Internet users.
"Foreign scumbags should go back to their countries. China is not the place for them to do everything they want," microblogger "yuxiaole" wrote.
However, some users offered different views.
"It's irrational to stir up Chinese hatred toward foreigners. Instead, we should strengthen the law to protect our citizens," microblogger "woxukele" wrote.
On Tuesday, Beijing authorities launched a three-month campaign targeting foreigners who illegally entered China, stay in the capital with an expired visa or work without the proper permit.
According to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, most of the foreigners who illegally stay in the capital do not have a proper job or a stable income, and they have become a major source of crimes.
"With growing exchanges with the outside world, more and more foreigners come to China. The group has become much more complicated than in the 1980s, causing many social problems," Chen Tianben, an associate professor with the Chinese People's Public Security University, told the Global Times.
"Apart from the clash of different cultures, some foreigners behave badly or even engage in criminal activities. Those who violate Chinese laws will also be punished as no one has privilege in front of the law," Chen said.
Government data showed that in 1980, there were only about 20,000 foreigners in China who stayed for over six months. In 2011, the number hit 600,000.
Foreigners entering and exiting the Chinese mainland in 2010 totaled 52.11 million, a 133 percent increase on 2001. The number last year was 54.12 million.
Chen noted that there is no need to exaggerate the misbehavior of some foreigners to stir up anti-foreigner sentiment.
"We still need to keep an open mind to communicate with the world," Chen said.
China has recently adopted several measures to attract foreign talents.
In 2008, the country initiated the Thousand Talent Program to attract 2,000 foreign scholars or Chinese people who had been educated overseas, and encourage them to work in advanced and high-tech industries, as well as start their own businesses in China in five to 10 years, the Xinhua News Agency reported.