Working in a "third rate province in a third rate city at a third rate University" would mean that if I choose to do anything else in China, like get an internship at an environmental technology firm or something, would be impossible. That I wouldn't be able to make any connections at this school or in this city; that it would actually look worse on my resume to work there than it would if I didn't work anywhere at all.
It seems to me she initially gave this advice because she IS Chinese. For us foreigners we live/work "outside" their cultural system and really don't have to worry about this sort of thing too much. Back in your home country, no one would probably know place "A" from "B" unless it was a famous city name, even if you pointed it out on a map.
The only problem I could think of that could happen "off the bat" is if for some reason they never asked for your pic during the hiring process, and when you showed up you weren't white (or at least non-asian) and they made up some excuse to fire you the first week. Otherwise it would be fine, but probably, as mentioned, really boring in a remote area.