Hey look! Another foreigner in China has decided to leave the country! This morning, CNN Money published an account by Mac van der Chijs, a Dutch entrepreneur and co-founder of the video-sharing website Tudou, and a person who has decided to leave Shanghai for the unknown wilds of Vancouver, (ostensibly to sit under blue skies and feed Mandarin ducks, as Beijing Cream's Anthony Tao wryly put it).
van der Chijs' reasoning is pretty simple. He's leaving China because a) it's really polluted and b) food safety is questionable and c) doing business in China can be difficult for foreigners. If this sounds familiar, these are pretty much the exact same reasons that Mark Kitto gave in his own farewell essay, published last summer to great fanfare in Prospect Magazine, as well as those of blogger and documentary filmmaker Charlie Custer at around the same time.
Not that any of these reasons are illegitimate; in fact, they're quite understandable to anyone who has spent much time in the country. But the question is this -- why does the departure of a handful of foreigners elicit attention from mainstream media publications? Is there, dare I say, a trend? Are foreigners in China fleeing a sinking ship?