Users of this forum might be interested to know
what visiting China is like. Other than the surprising,
futuristic skyscrapers that stand out, China is
still a dirty, backwards, poor third world country
where most everything Western countries have like
cleanliness, quality, ethics, freedom, comfort,
wealth, or politeness is not easily available. Most
first time China visitors think they have stepped
into the future when they arrive until some retard
wearing a dirty suit and slippers squatting next
to a tricycle shouts "Hello!" and giggles. Vistors
are quickly jerked back to reality that they are
not in Kansas anymore when they raelize that they
have instead fallen into a time warp back to 1900.
Foreigners can live here for years and never adjust.
If you are traveling to China, here are some observations
and weird facts to be aware of to lessen the cultural
1. China is dirty. People eat from
the same dish using the chopsticks they are eating
with. Littering and spitting is common. The air
quality is very poor due to non-existent or unenforced
pollution laws. Kids often don't have diapers and
parents whistle to encourage them to pee on the
street or on the floor of stores. People here often
don't wear or use dental floss, mouthwash, deodorant,
perfume, cologne, makeup, nail polish, eye shadow,
mascara, lipstick, hairspray, earrings, jewelry,
rings, bracelets, or necklaces. Some people go six
months without taking a bath in the winter because
they have no hot water. Most women don't shave their
underarms and some use cloth instead of tampons.
Many men don't shave and grow long pinky fingernails
to clean their ears. Toilet paper is used for napkins
and toilets don't have toilet paper or soap. Toilets
are often squat toilets. Vomiting in public is commonplace.
People cover their noses instead of cleaning up
2. Just about everything
in life is or was once banned here within the last
50 years including education, books, democracy,
capitalism, personal property, free speech, protests,
religion, superstitions, free movement, pets, puppets,
movies, long hair, baseball, rock music, psychologists,
Disney, art, pre-marital *censored*, flunkyism,
sending newspapers abroad,
UFO associations, gambling, world record attempts,
smoking, cooking at home, cosmetics, prostitution,
footbinding, opium, guns, story-telling, opera,
theatre, concerts, acupuncture, Confucisism, feng
shui, dresses, rickshaws, golf, jewelry, and majong.
In just 10 short years, 5000 years of Chinese history,
relics, temples, paintings, buildings, palaces,
books, and art were destroyed. Now China is only
left with poor rebuilt copies of the past and basic,
ugly tile buildings. Life in China was grey, drab,
and dreary. Today, Hong Kong and Taiwan are more
Chinese in some ways than mainland China.
3. Some things that were good in China are bad
now and what was once bad is now good. Warning of
a possible overpopulation problem, for example,
lead to prison for one person and warning of SARS
lead to prison for another man. Both were found
to be correct and policies were reversed.
4. Mental health treatment is not encouraged
or popular here. There are very few psychiatrists
or Western drugs available for the mentally ill.
This may be one reason China leads the world in
suicides. Alcoholics Anonymous is also nearly unknown
5. China has a strict one child policy
where women are forced to have abortions and be
sterilized if the have more than one child. Since
there is very public welfare and sons traditionally
care for the parents, daughters are aborted or abandoned
in favor of sons. China is predicted to have 60
million more men than women by 2014. Sadly, *censored*
education and birth contol pills are very uncommon
6. Chinese people eat almost every kind of food
including snakes, worms, eels, dogs, cats, and all
parts of animals like chicken feet, duck lungs,
and fish heads. Even human meat has been consumed
here. Ironically, however, most Chinese dislike
cheese. Restaurants often have live birds or fish
outside for customers to choose from. Seeing wildlife
like birds, squirrels, and pigeons is rare because
everything gets eaten in China. Most Chinese people
hate uncooked food like sushi or salads and don't
know how to eat with a fork and knife. Meat is cut
into small pieces before cooking and the bones are
usually included in the dish. Diners spit the bones
onto the table while eating.
in China is well-known. Cutting in line, staring,
not holding doors, not saying "thank you", "sorry",
or "excuse me", or shouting "Hello!" or "Laowai!"
to foreigners is common.
8. Many Chinese
guys look like girly-man nerds because they are
super thin, short, out of shape, don't comb their
hair, carry purses, and hold hands with other guys.
There are few joggers or weightlifters in China.
Ping Pong is one of the most popular sports here.
9. The huge population of China and poor
business practices means stores are overstaffed
to keep the population employed. Most stores have
an employee stationed on every aisle to watch customers
10. Corruption is common due to a
lack of ethics in China. Chinese people are generally
much more individualistic than countries like Japan.
11. Ironically in a country founded for
the workers, labor protests are banned.
12. Some Chinese people are so brainwashed that
they are grateful to the government for restoring
their rights to start a business.
a car is rare here. Only 1 out of 100 Chinese people
own a car compared to 75 out of 100 Americans who
own a car.
14. Windows are often opened
in the winter or don't have screens or glass.
15. The annual per capita income of China
is US$5600 compared to US$40,000 for the USA.
16. Only 5% of Chinese have a college degree
compared to 25% of Americans.
17. 500 million
Chinese have never brushed their teeth.
18. Counterfeiting is rampant in China due to low
creativity. How many Japanese, German, or American
brands are there? How many Chinese brands can you
think of? Items like sawdust are too often
in goods like fake milk powder or fertilizer. Even
cars are copied.
19. Elevators are rare
in China since buildings less that nine stories
tall are not required to have them.
Chinese made products in China have very low quality.
Expect products like umbrellas, nail clippers, belts,
shoes, coats, shirts, pens, lighters, furniture,
watches, surge protectors, washing machines, speakers,
clocks, batteries, pants, necklaces to not fit or
to to fall apart in less than six months. Stores
do not have return policies.
fights are more common here.
is very uncomfortable. Beds, stools, and sofas are
often little more than wooden planks with
23. Buses are often overcrowded
24. Male smokers are very common.
Smoking is considered healthy.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... ernational
25. Public welfare is very scanty. Private
domestic and international charities are very rare
in China. Many crippled beggars and old people beg
on the street, as a result. Seeing handicapped people
in wheelchairs or scooters is uncommon.
26. Chinese people seem to be able to sleep everywhere
and anytime including during the day at work.
27. Small store owners in China often bring
their children to work with them.
speech is not encouraged in China. Many websites
29. Prostitution is illegal,
but commonplace. Brothels and streetwalkers operate
openly in many places.
30. Around 30 million
people in China were killed or starved to death
during the Cultural Revolution.
is dangerous in China. More people die in China
on the roads than anywhere else in the world even
though there are a lot less cars here than in the
USA. Running red lights and driving on the wrong
side of the road or the sidewalk is commonplace.
32. Many Chinese live in company dorms and
have no hobbies. Crowds of people watching TV outside
of some stores at night is a common sight.
33. China leads the world in executions.
34. Torture is sometimes used to obtain confessions.
35. Many people have mobile phones.
36. Many Chinese like to squat instead of sitting
37. There are few lawyers and lawsuits
38. Common products like the following
are very difficult to find in China:
salt/tarragon/onion powder/cilantro seasonings
Reese's Peanut Butter
Shrimp cocktail sauce
Easter egg dye
Ice cream cones
Canned pineapple/prune juice
Hot dog buns
Au gratin potatoes
Birth control pills
Campbell's chicken noodle soup
Lettuce, butter, cereal, raisins,
fresh milk, and cheese are very difficult to find
here. Many of the above items may be available in
Asia, but the brand may be not be very good or the
price will be very high.
Maybe some of these
items are seasonal or can be bought in large cities
like HK, but it's still amazing how such common
and simple products are so difficult (impossible?)
to find here. Many Chinese just don't realize how
deprived they are. People looking for dried fish,
cooking oil, noodles, rice, or 50 kinds of tea,
will find China to be heaven. Other people may find
Zhongguo to be a bit boring after a while. Eating
rice, noodles, and dumplings everyday gets old quick.
Overseas Chinese are lucky that they can go to the
local Chinatown if they get a little homesick when
they are abroad. Too bad foreigners can't have the
best of China and the best of their home countries,
too. At least saving money is easy since most things
are cheap and there's not many good things to buy.
Although foreigners in China probably won't
miss these items if they are just coming here for
a little two week holiday, those who plan to stay
longer should consider having someone send them
care packages or packing an extra large suitcase.
The few imported goods already in China
are just a drop in a bucket. Pepsi, Coke, KFC, Pizza
Hut, and McDonald's are fine, but it would be nice
to have Thai, Vietnamese, Middle Eastern, German,
Greek, and Indian food, Italian Garden, Wendy's,
and Taco Time, too. China has been cut off from
the rest of the world for years and they don't know
what they've been missing.
39. Fashion sense
is a often muddled here. People often wear dark
socks with shorts or white socks with suits or two-piece
suits to do construction work or pajamas to go shopping.
Many people only have one or two sets of clothes
to wear everyday. Men usually wear dress pants and
rarely wear jeans. Men often roll up their pant
legs and shirts if it is hot outside.
English is rarely spoken or spoken poorly here.
There are almost no English books or magazines here.
41. There are few foreigners in China.
42. Hot water and heaters are hard to find.
43. Electricity, water, and Internet services
may often have outages.
44. Ice and tap
water are usually unsafe.
45. Western medicine
is very difficult to find.
46. China seems
advanced in some ways and behind in others. For
example, China still uses oxen to plow, yet has
DVD players and telephone cards. China has bullet
trains, but the stewardesses and nurses wear uniforms
from the 1960's. John Denver, The Carpenters, Micheal
Bolton, Celine Dion, and Whitney Houston are very
47. Visitors should also be
aware that China has many pickpockets. Shenzhen,
Guangzhou, and many other cities have gangs that
wait on busy corners and target unaware people with
bags. Be careful!
48. China is very noisy
due to population density.
49. Many grown
men ride tricycles in China. Bulky goods like queen-sized
beds, refrigerators, and televisions are often transported
on bicycles. Very few people have a driver's license
and U-haul and Ryder don't exist here. Occasionally
it's possible to see five or six people on one motorcycle.
50. Car jackings, illegal drugs, food handling
inspections, and background checks are NOT common
51. There is no drinking age enforced
52. Hotels usually don't have
keys. Guests must ask workers to let them into their
53. Odd crimes such as kidnapping
groups of women to be sold as wives or crippling
children to be used for begging happen here regularly.
54. Many Chinese cannot swim. Women wear
conservative swimming suits from the 1950's and
men prefer to wear speedos.
badminton outside in parking lots with no nets is
56. Most delivery trucks are
blue for some reason.
57. Chinese people
do not have many good places to invest their money
since land ownership is prohibited, many banks pay
very low interest rates and are unstable due to
bad loans based on government connections instead
of risk and reward calculations, and investing in
the stock market is risky due to poor accounting
58. Some doors are too short
for many foreigners.
59. China is very poor.
Some people don't have enough to eat and rarely
eat meat or fruit, never had toys, cameras, lawnmowers,
or bikes. Many homes have a dirt floor and no running
water or electricity. Homes in China that have carpet
are practically unknown. Many people had to share
a single public bathroom.
60. Chinese people
needed permission to travel and obtaining passports
was once difficcult. Chinese people often go sightseeing
in groups with their companies or schools. Foreigners
could not visit China easily and still need to stay
in foreigner approved hotels due to government mandated
61. Until very recently,
Chinese people needed permission from their employer
to get married.
62. The government once
assigned work to everyone and Chinese people were
not allowed to choose their jobs.
people prefer hot drinks to cold drinks and drink
much more tea than coffee. Drinking anything other
than alcohol or tea at meals is not very common.
64. Chinese people are generally very reserved
and do not hug and kiss family members or strangers
65. Tipping is not expected in China.
66. There are almost no big box chain stores
like Target, OfficeMax, BestBuy, PetsMart, ToysRUs,
PepBoys, or HomeDepot in China. Parking lots in
China are small and always have a parking lot attendent.
Drive-thru windows or drive-ins are almost unknown.
67. Construction workers live in the building
they are building or on-site in temporary dorms.
Construction sites are surrounding by temporary
brick walls instead of wooden or chain link fences.
Scaffolds are made of bamboo and covered with green
netting. Construction workers sometimes wear flip-flops
instead of steel-toed safety boots and don't often
wear hard hats.
68. Chinese people are very
69. China is mostly a cash-based
society. Checks are not used very often and the
personal lending industry is very undeveloped.
70. Auto parts stores, laundromats, fire
trucks,sirens, funeral homes, car rental agencies,
vacuum cleaners, greeting cards, car stereos, ovens,
and pawn shops are also very rare here.
71. Political correctness and religious sensitivity
and knowledge is not common in China. Racist ignorance
also exists. Sexual harrassment is also accepted.
72. Soap operas set in ancient China are
constantly on TV.
73. Workers in most restaurants
don't wear hats. Cooks sometimes smoke while cooking.
74. Barbers in China do not seem to soak
their combs and scissors in disinfectant.
75. Bathrooms do not have baths or shower curtains.
Water from showers falls on the floor.
Many businesses, including banks, are open everyday.
77. Wiring or taking a lot money out of
China is difficult. Converting RMB to other currencies
is also usually difficult.
78. China's curency
is set by the government and not the free market.
79. People go to the hospital for even minor
illnesses like colds. Appointments are not needed
to see a doctor or dentist.
80. Many banks
require customers to take a number instead of waiting
81. Most people in cities live
in apartment buildings, not houses.
Babysitters are not popular in China becuse grandparents
usually take care of children.
use umbrellas on sunny days and skin whitening lotion
because they hate dark skin and don't want to look
84. Bras are small and usually
85. Most city streets have
86. Holidays like Christmas,
Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and St. Patrick's
Day are not celebrated here.
rings are not popular here and wives do not change
88. Phone books are not free
here and not many people use them.
many people get a lot of mail here.
There are few movie theatres.
meat markets don't have refrigeration. China has
very few buffets and they don't have sneeze guards.
The best things about China is the weather
in Hainan, the thin girls, and the cheap prices,
but as a result of Communist policies, the USA leads
China in almost everything despite having only a
fraction of China's population. China trails the
US in railroads, roads, hotels, income, GDP, life
expectancy, cars, religious freedom, human rights,
free speech, Ph.D's, airplanes, democracy, mental
health treatment, science, dentists, charities,
healthcare, credit bureaus, insurance, credit cards,
mutual funds, ski resorts, and comedy clubs. No
wonder why so many Chinese want to emigrate to the
USA. If you live in a free, developed country, thank
your lucky stars.