I saw this on a tabloid-like Chinese news outlet:

易有料, Yiyouliao, undated, viewed 3-rd April 2020

I translate it to:

Not a small number of Australian ethnic Chinese want to leave, during the "big process" caused by Australia's epidemic situation starting to show signs of breakout, but China's epidemic situation already has effective control, therefore many ethnic Chinese are afraid and only consider China as a place to seek asylum. But they should be clear: if one has Australian citizenship then they long ago stopped being Chinese nationals.

There's two parts in bold I'm particularly unclear on, although the second part is more important.

  • 很大程度上 seems to mean something like "during [上] the big [很大] process [程度]". I'm not sure if this refers to Australia's response to COVID-19, or the big process in fleeing Australia to China (given that currently foreigners are not allowed to come to China, so they have to seek asylum).

  • 恐怕只是把中国当成了一处避难所而已 literally translates to "afraid [恐怕] only [只是] China [中国] can be considered [当成] a [一处] asylum [避难] place [所] and that's it [而已]". I'm not sure if I've understood this accurately.

Question: Does this article claim that Australian citizens of Chinese ethnicity are seeking asylum in China to flee COVID-19?

I'm particularly unsure if the article say it's actually happening, or if ethnic-Chinese Australians are simply considering this as a possibility.

6 Answers 6


程度 mean situation in this context.很大 mean the situation is serious in this context. And 是因为澳大利亚国内疫情开始呈现爆发迹象 is the situation.

恐怕 is hard to translate in this context.You can consider it to be (speculate ,estimate ,guess) but not positive result.

恐怕只是把中国当成了一处避难所而已 literally translates to

many ethnic Chinese estimate that only consider China as a place to seek asylum. 

actually happening?


considering this as a possibility?

considering as a solution


Yes. This article claims that Australian citizens of Chinese ethnicity are seeking asylum in China to flee COVID-19 and yet they failed.

  • 很大程度上 in this sentence means "in a considerable degree". So 很大程度上是因为 can be translated as "this is largely because ... "
  • 只是 …… 而已 means "it's just ... ".
  • 恐怕 is an adverb in this sentence which indicates very likely speculation that means "perhaps" and "maybe", not a verb meaning "afraid" or "fear".

Here are some more examples of 恐怕 as an adverb.


It looks like it’s going to rain.


He probably speaks the best English.


I will translate it to "To a considerable extent". 很大(considerable) 程度(extent) 上(To).

大多数华裔只是把中国当成了一处避难所而已 is a thing that China concern, not a thing that ethnic Chinese concern. I will translate it to "it is afraid that ethnic Chinese only consider China as a place to seek asylum."

The answer is very likely yes. 所以大多数华裔恐怕只是把中国当成了一处避难所而已, this sentence stated it apparently.


“恐怕” in english, should be "i'm afraid that....." for example "i'm afraid your father will kick your ass" 恐怕你的爸爸要踢你的屁股


'恐怕' can be translated in English in a better way: 'be afraid'.

"恐怕不是这样.” 'I'm afraid it's not like this.'


First of all, a proper English translation (based on / manually changed from https://translate.google.com/, try to do it there and you can see the differences):

The reason why many Chinese Australians are leaving is largely because the domestic outbreak in Australia is beginning to show signs of outbreak, while the outbreak in China has been effectively controlled, so most ethnic Chinese may just regard of China as a refuge. However, they should be well aware that since they have long been Australian citizens, they are no longer Chinese citizens any more.


"很大程度上" literally means "to a greater [很大] degree [程度上]".

恐怕只是...而已. Here "恐怕" does not mean "afraid", but in fact it means "most probably", so 恐怕只是...而已 literally translates to "most probably [恐怕] only [只是] because ...., that's it (that's the only reason) [而已]".

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