A new wave of government censorship has coincided with the recent student protests in Hong Kong. As further crackdowns are made against content portraying Chinese politics or allowing users to freely discuss them, Instagram and the BBC are the latest high profile names to be added to the list of websites blocked in China. This comes at a great inconvenience to a high number of foreigners and Chinese alike as even greater portions of the internet are now beyond use. Of course one can simply download a proxy or VPN, but this is somewhat ignoring the issue at hand.
Instagram is now blocked in China
| Harbin Institute of Technology
Living in China is full of real risks and challenges, affecting areas in life needs, personal security, health, privacy, personal rights. Money security is one of the last things any foreigner could possibly worry about, but not anymore! In fact, China has a very strict and complicated banking system and could be considered a highly secure system. Just this past August, an Italian expat in Shanghai was shocked when she found that she lost 220,000 RMB from her account and only 361 RMB left. The account was opened in Guangzhou six years ago.
Advice and Tips
Mosquitoes are a real nuisance if we are living towards the warmer southern parts of China or during the summer and rainy seasons. While this may sound like a sure-fire way of getting nibbled, there are actually some surprisingly effective methods of keeping mosquitoes at bay with minimal effort. In order for these to be most effective, we first need to learn what mosquitoes are attracted to in the first place (aside from fresh blood):
Advice and Tips
A portable mosquito net
Mosquitoes when seen form one perspective, are tiny and feeble insects. But on the other hand, when approaching the core of this issue, mosquitoes are a pretty big nuisance that spread a lot of diseases, hover around our heads with that insane humming and more over thrive on our precious blood. As anyone who has spent any amount of time in China knows, the summer months inevitably bring with them the following things: unbearable heat, frequent ice-cream binges, and swathes of blood thirsty mosquitoes. There is not one place in China where you are completely safe from their high-pitched hum, and here we explore some of the tried-and-tested methods of keeping mosquitoes at bay.
Mantou served with sweetened condensed milk
Custard tarts (èæ) are very popular with foreigners and mainlanders alike. As they originated in Portuguese-occupied Macau, they are extremely compatible with European tastes. They are sold on the street and in smaller bakeries, and are also popular in Macau and Guangdong restaurants. I admit, I even like the ones at KFCâs.
The Chinese Wife Cakes
Tangyuan (æ±¤å) is a soup like dessert made from glutinous rice flour mixed with small amounts of water to form balls, which is then cooked again and served in boiling water. It comes in various sizes, and is often eaten during the lantern festival (Yuanxiao), during the winter solstice, (Dongzhi), or during wedding ceremonies. Its name represents family union, and is thus also popular during family events. In Southern China, sweet fillings are preferred while in the North, fillings are more savory, with ingredients ranging from minced meat to vegetables. Iâm definitely in favor of the sweet version â especially the kind that is found in Sichuanese restaurants. It pairs with spicy food wonderfully.
A kid enjoying her Tanghulu
Do you like sweets? Of course, yes? Who doesnât love sweets! Well, back at home or here in China, even if our preferences have changed a bit, our desire for sweets might not have changed much. But as foreigners in China, it is easy to be, as many of my friends would say, âtrickedâ into buying cakes and other desserts. It only takes a few delusional purchases to realize that recognizable desserts taste very different in China. Of course cakes in China will never be same as those abroad, but following a lot of negative dessert anger, it was time Chinese dessert got a mascot. When satisfying your sweet tooth, donât choose the look-a-likes, embrace the local options. The most typical ingredients for Chinese desserts are glutinous rice and sweet bean pastes, as seen across other Asian cuisines. These desserts are also all rising in popularity across the world, starting with a spread through East and Southeast Asia.
A Chinese bar fight in action
Getting into fights are not a good scene anywhere, no matter whether you are in China or in your home town. And it is a sure shot that the results are going to be ugly if you are not in familiar surroundings since the chances of you getting isolated are extremely high in these worst case scenarios. With a huge number of foreigners in China, mostly foreign students, itâs a popular culture among the expat community to go out and enjoy the night life in its full swing. But, this is where all the actions happen and your chances for getting involved in a bar fight is pretty high, given the people around you wonât be âon their sensesâ as well.Â
A tour group in an overnight train
Notes with names and hotel phone
This one is the most likely problem thatâs going to haunt you during your first days in China. If your Chinese language skills are limited, even getting to the hotel can be tricky. One way to deal with this is have someone write you a note in Chinese, which you can show to the taxi driver or to someone you may be asking for directions. Don’t assume that knowing the name in pinyin is enough, since any tone-deafness on your part will make your words incomprehensible.
A tourist in China
Traveling around China can be a challenge â there are language problems, hygiene issues and, of course, the squat toilets. Its always a new experience and a head on attitude against whatever in front of you can tackle any situation. So, here are some things that you may want to carry with you while travelling to make things easier. At least, being prepared is far better than getting into totally helpless situations.