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 shock:
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,
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
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.
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
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 here.
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.
7. Rudeness 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.
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.
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
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.
13. Owning 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
16. Only 5% of Chinese have a
college degree compared to 25% of Americans.
17. 500 million Chinese have never brushed
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
used in goods
like fake milk powder or fertilizer. Even cars
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
21. Physical fights are
more common here.
22. Furniture 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.
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.
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.
Free speech is not encouraged in China. Many
websites are censored.
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
31. Traffic 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
33. China leads the world in
34. Torture is sometimes
used to obtain confessions.
people have mobile phones.
Chinese like to squat instead of sitting to
37. There are few lawyers and
lawsuits in China.
38. Common products
like the following are very difficult to find in
salt/tarragon/onion powder/cilantro seasonings
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Shrimp cocktail sauce
Easter egg dye
Ice cream cones
Birth control pills
Campbell's chicken noodle
Macaroni and cheese
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.
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.
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.
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.
40. English is rarely spoken or spoken poorly
here. There are almost no English books or
41. There are few
foreigners in China.
42. Hot water and
heaters are hard to find.
Electricity, water, and Internet services may
often have outages.
44. Ice and tap
water are usually unsafe.
medicine is very difficult to find.
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 popular here.
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.
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
50. Car jackings, illegal
drugs, food handling inspections, and background
checks are NOT common in China.
There is no drinking age enforced in China.
52. Hotels usually don't have keys. Guests
must ask workers to let them into their rooms.
53. Odd crimes such as kidnapping groups
of women to be sold as wives or crippling
children to be used for begging happen here
54. Many Chinese cannot swim.
Women wear conservative swimming suits from the
1950's and men prefer to wear speedos.
55. Playing badminton outside in parking lots
with no nets is popular here.
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
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.
government once assigned work to everyone and
Chinese people were not allowed to choose their
63. Chinese 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 much.
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
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 patriotic.
69. China is mostly
a cash-based society. Checks are not used very
often and the personal lending industry is very
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.
correctness and religious sensitivity and
knowledge is not common in China. Racist
ignorance also exists. Sexual harrassment is
72. Soap operas set in
ancient China are constantly on TV.
Workers in most restaurants don't wear hats.
Cooks sometimes smoke while cooking.
Barbers in China do not seem to soak their combs
and scissors in disinfectant.
Bathrooms do not have baths or shower curtains.
Water from showers falls on the floor.
76. Many businesses, including banks, are open
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.
People go to the hospital for even minor
illnesses like colds. Appointments are not
needed to see a doctor or dentist.
Many banks require customers to take a number
instead of waiting in line.
people in cities live in apartment buildings,
82. Babysitters are not
popular in China becuse grandparents usually
take care of children.
83. Women use
umbrellas on sunny days and skin whitening
lotion because they hate dark skin and don't
want to look like farmers.
84. Bras are
small and usually padded here.
city streets have street sweepers.
Holidays like Christmas, Easter, Halloween,
Thanksgiving, and St. Patrick's Day are not
87. Wedding rings are
not popular here and wives do not change their
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.
Outdoor meat markets don't have refrigeration.
China has very few buffets and they don't have
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