Take a look at what the nightlife of China's 1% is really like.
- The Sobering Experience of Partying With China’s Rich
- Photos: Abandoned Factory Town on Poyang Lake, a Real Chinese Ghost Town
- Fengcheng: Shanghai’s Quixotic Spanish Town
- Chinese-American Movies and China’s Global Soft Power
- China’s Disposable Cities
- What Becomes of China’s Ghost Cities
- The Impact of the Rotten Meat Scandal on Western Fast Food Chains in China
- Watch: Chinese Electrofishing
Trains Out of Shanghai Cancelled for Typhoon
After years of traveling in China, I stepped up to the boarding gate for my train and found myself in line alone. Trains going south from Shanghai were cancelled because of a typhoon.
- Why McDonald’s in Shanghai Had No Food
Navigating Chinese Bureaucracy, pt. 2
When it all doesn't add up, just go for the ride. This is the only way to get through Chinese bureaucracy.
5 Chinese Ghost Cities that Came Alive
As China's so-called ghost cities fill up they are forgotten by a mainstream international media that is hungry for sensational stories, not rational takes on what is surely the most expansive urbanization movement in human history. Here are five new cities in China that have filled up with people and commerce since being heralded as ghost towns.
Doing the Dance of Chinese Bureaucracy
Dancing through Chinese bureaucracy is a Kafka-esque endeavor, a mashing of contradiction and a collision of mutual exclusive parameters. But something can be both black and white here, so you keep dancing.
Nanhui, China’s Unbelievable Ghost City on the Coast
Nanhui is a full scale, independent new city that is being completely built from scratch 60 km outside of downtown Shanghai. It is being constructed to house 800,000 people, but is currently in the ghost city stage of development: hanging somewhere between being deserted and coming alive. This is the story of what I found there.
- Petra Update: How an American Child Learned to Speak Fluent Mandarin Chinese in Two Years
- Travel: A Closer Look at Guangzhou
Listen: Wade on Radio 6PR Perth Talking About China’s Ghost Cities
I was recently interviewed by Chris Ilsley on Radio 6PR about China's ghost cities and my new book, Ghost Cities of China, which will be out soon.
The Lack of a Security Culture in China is Refreshing
As a foreigner in China you are often an intrigue or an annoyance, but you are seldom regarded with suspicion.
- China’s Gold Plated Sheraton Hotels
- KFC Restaurant in a Traditional Chinese Style House
- Laowai Comics: The English Teacher Stigma
The Wisdom of the Traveling Life
Testing the bounds of the benefits of travel and teasing the edges of the disadvantages of living abroad.
- Look Inside China’s Medical City
- 13 Insane Ways to Fix China’s Air
- Laowai Comics: Chinese “Microaggression”
- 28 Doses of the China Experience: Tom Carter’s Unsavory Elements
Broke in China
Being broke isn't necessarily an undesirable state of affairs; working isn't just to make money. If I want to keep on this path, I need to try something new.
Chinese Folk Knowledge vs. My Wife: How to Make a Boy Baby
A cross-cultural showdown between Western science and Chinese folk knowledge over how to properly produce babies of a desired sex.
Wade Shepard Interviewed About China’s Ghost Cities On RadioRoaming
I was interviewed yesterday by Steve Collins for the Australian based internet radio channel RadioRoaming.com. We talked about Xiamen, China, and about my new book Ghost Cities of China, which is due to come out some time soon. You can listen to the interview below or head over to RadioRoaming.com to listen to it and [...]
- Harvesting Happiness: The Huxian farmer paintings of Shaanxi, China
- Excellent High Paying Teaching Jobs Available in Shanghai and Beijing
- How to Travel Cheaply — Anywhere
- The Disenchanting World of Chinese Costume Photography
- A Wake Up Call From The New China Generation
- Traditional Chinese Breast Massage Giving Women Bigger Boobs?
- Interview: What You Should Know About China’s Copycat Architecture
- Duchang: A Normal Day of Traveling in Normal China
- Laowai Comics: How Loud is a Chinese Restaurant?
- Chinese Woman Gives Birth to Baby in Toilet of Train, Leaves it There
- The Myth of China’s Big and Crowded Cities
- Check Out These New Chinese Desks To Reduce Near-Sightedness
- LAOWAI COMICS: Creating the Chinese New Year Experience
- China Doesn’t Have a One Child Policy
- Can Chinese Shopping Malls Become Centers of Culture?
- What Life is Like Inside A Shanghai Migrant Worker Village
- Kau Cim Fortune Telling, Another Ancient Chinese Custom That Lives On
- This Photo Got Me Arrested in China
- Fog (Not Smog) Covered Xiamen, and it was Beautiful
- The Bermuda Triangle of the East Mystery Continues
- What Happens When China’s Largest Lake Disappears
- Chinese New Year in China is Probably Not Like You Think
- Why the Chinese Hang Their Blankets in the Sun
- Take a Virtual Tour of China’s Ghost Cities
- Free Trade Zones in Shanghai are Nothing New
- How to Travel in China During Spring Festival
- The Traditional Chinese Street Barber
- Chinese Street Food in Video and Photos
- The Best Show in Travel
- Dyed Tiger Puppies Sold in the Streets of China
- Swastika Tattoo on Tibetan Man
- Ice Block Transport Cart in Shanghai
- What Those Gecko Lizard Things on Cars in China Mean
- Nanchang, Jiangxi Has What’s Good About Travel
- How Buying a Computer Turned into a Lesson on How China Works (or Doesn’t)
- Chinese Fat Guy Underwear
- Train Xiamen to Nanchang
- Travel: Poyang Lake Environmental Impact Investigation
Humor: What My Daughter Learns in Chinese Kindergarten
My daughter is learning many new skills in her Chinese class in kindergarten, but I never would have guessed this was one of them.
- The Chinese Christmas Experience
- Taizhou Forced Eviction, CMC Travel Notes
- There are No Clean Air Cities In China
Why so Many Chinese Women Want to be Accountants
For years I've been bewildered by how often I meet young Chinese women who want to be accountants. Now it's becoming clear.
- Why I’m Thankful for the Twigs, Cocoons, and Cicada Moltings in my Soup
- Wind and Solar Powered Street Lights in China
- What Did Travel Change? The Life of a Chinese Wandering Musician
- Laowai Comics: Who is Really Going to Eat That Puppy?
Hong Kong Film Exposes the Pitfalls of National Education
Ho Tat Tsim’s film The True Story of Ah Poon is a reaction against National Education in Hong Kong.
- What is National Education and is it Indoctrinating the Youth of Hong Kong?
- Guangzhou and the Pearl River Delta in Timelapse
- Laowai Comics: Life Outside of the Expat Bar
Why 80,000 Hong Kongese Took to the Streets to Support a Television Network
What is so important about Hong Kong TV that 80,000 people would demonstrate against the government's decision to deny them a broadcasting license? It's more about what this scenario represents in a rapidly changing Hong Kong.
China in Motion 2013 Timelapse Video Is Amazing
This Friday's timelapse video comes from 56 photographers who took and assembled over 200,000 photos of 49 different cities across China without ever meeting AFK. It's called China in Motion 2013, and was made by the Union of Timelapse China.
- The Things (like condoms) Some People in China Throw Out Of High-Rise Apartments That Smash Other Things (like car windshields)
- Laowai Comics: Married with Moutai
Aggressive Protesters Surround Hong Kong’s Legislative Council As HKTV Vote Is Delayed
Tens of thousands of protesters rallied outside Hong Kong's Legislative Council Complex as HKTV supporters clashed with pro-government demonstrators.
New Chinese Video Explains Why Americans Shouldn’t Kill All the People in China
Yes, the kid on Jimmy Kimmel who said "kill everyone in China," was taken seriously -- as least as far as certain groups could use the statement to push their own agendas.
Will Hong Kong Become an “Ungovernable Place” in the Struggle for Universal Suffrage?
As protests for universal suffrage get set to heat up again in Hong Kong, will civil disobedience bring the city to stand still?
The End of China’s Giant Yellow Rubber Duck Era?
Taiwan's giant yellow duck's rear end blew out, Beijing's was deflated and shipped on to its next destination, and Hong Kong's had an inglorious death before being resuscitated and sent to Pittsburgh. Is this the end of the giant yellow duck era in China?
Protests to Continue in Hong Kong Over TV License Dispute
Massive protests are to continue in Hong Kong over HKTV being blacked out by the government and for a free(er) media.
- The Worst Ebike Driver In China Crashes Head On Into Van Then Splashes in a Vat of . . .
- How A 4.5 Million Person City Was Named A Ghost Town
- Shanghai From The 23rd Floor Timelapse Video
Beijing Police: Women Can’t Drive
“Some women drivers lack a sense of direction, and while driving a car, they often hesitate and are indecisive about which road they should take,” stated a post on the Beijing police department's official microblog account on Tuesday. This, and other useful tips like, [women drivers often find that] “when they’re driving by themselves, they’re [...]
- You Know You’re A Laowai When . . .
What Is The Laowai Freeze Out?
It's called the Laowai Freeze Out, or LFO for short, and it's one of the most irritating things about being a foreigner in China.
- What is Gutter Oil and Where Does it Come from?
- The Future of the Miao in the Face Of Mass Relocation and Assimilation
Renovating Traditional Chinese Buildings as an Alternative to Destroying Them?
Can China's few remaining historic communities continue existing in the face of rampant progress?
- Beijing’s Penis Building Soon To Be Clothed
- Tofu Doesn’t Crack: Authorities Say Crumbling Railway Bridge Is A-OK
- Chinese History: Cultural Revolution Slideshow
Demolition Of Ancient Communities Still Going Strong In China
The ancient neighborhood of meandering alleyways and centuries-old grey brick homes that occupied this area for hundreds of years had already been demolished, cleared away --effectively erased from the slate of modern China. There was only one reminder that this ancient neighborhood ever existed at all, and that was the house I was standing in.
Why Starbucks In China Is So Expensive
Starbucks in China is expensive, but they are not just selling fancy lattes, funky teas, and crappy coffee, they are selling what the Chinese really want.
It’s A Qing Dynasty Fresco Not A Coloring Book! Another Botched Restoration
Not everything should get a fresh coat of paint (ancient frescoes included).
- Looking For An Apartment In China Is A Good Cultural Exercise
Chinese Zoo Culture: Animal Abuse Or A Lack Of Cultural Relativism?
While it's generally bad form to go into another country and start flinging around the morality of your own culture, there was something at the Nanshun Crocodile Park that tweaked even my worn out sense of cultural relativism.
Getting A Chinese Health Certificate For Residency Permit While Hepatitis B Positive
A question from a reader who is a chronic carrier of Hepatitis B who is wondering if he will fail his mandatory health exam and be denied a Chinese residence permit because of it.
SIGHTS OF CHINA: Chinese Children And Their Sweat Rags
Maybe you've seen them hanging off the back of Chinese kids like bibs put on backwards and wondered what these strange accessories were. No, they are not yet another way that adults here cute-ify their children, to the contrary they serve a very functional roll: they soak up sweat.
The Symbolism And Status Of License Plates In China
I think of all the things that thousands of dollars could buy, and an auspicious license plate does not come to mind. A license plate with a string of a few 8s in a row does not seem worth 100k to me -- then again, I am not a nouveau riche Chinese.
- The Security Of Perpetual Travel Is The Ability To Leave
This Is What A $300,000 House Looks Like In China
It is an understatement to say that apartments are expensive in China. Look at how a $300,000 apartment in Xiamen compares with residential properties of the same price around the world.
- What’s The Value Of Overpriced Things?
Watch Chengguan Goon Squad Beat Up The Chinese Military
Not even the People's Liberation Army is immune from the violence of the chengguan.
Outrage of Forgotten Foreign Property Owners in a Chinese “Dead Projects Society”
Paying a million dollars for an apartment in China is not a sure shot bet to avoid the tangled web of Chinese politics.
The Interesting Thing About Shanghai’s Scandanavian Town
Luodian is Shanghai's Swedish town, but there is something about it that's different that this city's other foreign themed developments: this place is alive.
A Journey To China’s Italian Ghost Town
A look at Shanghai's strange Italian ghost city.
Fenghuang: Another Ancient Chinese Tourist Trap
For hundreds of years Fenghuang was a backwater of China, now it's one of the countries biggest tourist desinations. How did this happen?
Missing The Toilet Now Illegal In Shenzhen
How else can the Chinese government improve aim? Fines? The pee posse has been rounded up in Shenzhen.
Hiking Into The Hills Of Xiamen
The social landscape of China changes with the physical. Look for the hills to find the old communities and a way of life that doesn't consist of driving a Porsche to Walmart.
- Cross-Cultural Impasse, Or A Barbarian In Civilized China
The Bulging Crotch In Advertising In China
Walking through a Chinese shopping mall is like running a gauntlet of . . . bulges?
Wish Sticks Wedged Between Rock Strata In China
What are those sticks that are wedged between the strata of rock outcrops in China?
“Do You Have Pizza Hut In America Too?”
I'm sometimes asked by Chinese people if popular international fast food restaurants are in the USA too. This isn't as foolish of a question as it at first seems.
- No-See-Ums: Small Insect, Big Travel Problem
A Look At The Two Million Person Relocation In Guizhou, China
2 million people are being cleared out of the hills of Guizhou and moved to cities. But is this really happening?
Typhoon Trami Makes Landfall But Seems Pretty Tame
Typhoon Trami hit mainland China this morning, but it doesn't seem to be doing much.
- How Much Food $5 Gets You In China
- Why I Set Up In Xiamen
Watch: Cormorant Fishing
Cormorant fishing is still practice in China, but for how much longer?
Shanghai’s Dutch Ghost Town
Shanghai's One City, Nine Towns project also has a Dutch town, find out why it's been dubbed, "Such a pity."
How Cultures Clash As China Urbanizes
As hundreds of millions of Chinese flood into cities the culture is bound to change. Enjoy public pissing, shitting, and spitting while you still can.
- Explaining China’s SkyCity One: The Vertical City
- China Has Turned My Daughter Into Alpha Kid
Therapeutic Tattoos In China: An Ancient Tradition In Modern Times
I was walking through an uber-modern part of a uber-modern city and saw something truly ancient.
Anting: China’s German Ghost City
Anting New Town is a completely modern German city in the outskirts of Shanghai. It is also one of China's most notorious ghost towns.
- Learning Foreign Languages Should Be Challenging, Even For Kids
Signing Contract For Xiamen, China Apartment
The rental agreement is a done deal. We landed a base of operations in Xiamen. The kid goes to school, the wife teaches, I look at maps (uh, I mean, I paint walls).
Renting An Apartment In Xiamen
Renting an apartment abroad means that you sometimes need to just go along for the ride.
- Travelers Don’t Paint Apartment Walls
Ghost Town? Replica Town? Shanghai’s British Town Remains A Facade
A visit to Thames Town, the British themed architectural knock-off and ghost city.
Watch: Boating On China’s Canals
A boat is almost an essential piece of exploration gear in China. There are just too many navigable waterways in this country for a traveler to ignore.
Riding The Fastest Train In The World, Shanghai’s Maglev
The experience of riding the fastest train in the world.
How Chinese Chickens Get Defeathered (video)
Check out this crazy chicken defeathering machine.
Guizhou Tongren: Is This What They Mean By “The Real China?”
"The real China" is the places you've never heard of.
- Ferrari, Maserati, And Porsche Feed China’s Status Hungry Market
China’s Ethnic Minorities And The Gaokao University Entrance Exam
China's ethnic minorities are often put at a disadvantage when it comes to the gaokao university entrance exam, here's one reason why.
Inside Manzhouli, China’s Russian City
It is called "In Manchuria," and this name about says it all. Manzhouli is China's Russian city, a border town that straddles east and west.
Hitchhiking China: Harbin To Nowhere, Inner Mongolia
A story of hitchhiking into the depths of Inner Mongolia.
Milk Tea, Homemade Yogurt, and Dried Milk Chips: A Mongolian Snack
Mongolians have simplified the food pyramid down to one lump category: animal food. They consume milk and animals and some noodles and that's about it. They say their diet is what makes them so strong.
Inner Mongolia: Clean Air, Blue Skies, Coal Plants, Smokestacks
Inner Mongolia is now China's coal epicenter, but what has this down to the grasslands this region is known for?
- Mongolian Culture Struggles To Survive In Changing Inner Mongolia
- The Film and the Reality: Inside Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansions
Has China Exaggerated The “Leftover Women” Problem?
Is China's leftover woman problem really as big of a deal as it's made out to be?
Bohai Economic Rim: A Chinese Super City For 3% Of The World’s Population
If you thought the Pearl River Delta Into One project was of mind blowing proportions then check out the Bohai Bay Economic Rim initiative. Hint: it's proposed to be 260 million people big.
- Dao Wai: Old Harbin, Good Harbin
- Harbin: Visiting The Ice City In the Summertime
The Train To Harbin
24 hours on a train is paradise for me. I sit back, drink beer, and watch the scenery move by totally encapsulated from the world while moving through it.
Travel To The Far Northeast Of China: Harbin And Beyond
I'm traveling to Heilongjiang province in the far northeast of China. Assist with this trip remotely and contact me with any tips or ideas about what to check out and report on.
What To Say If Chinese Men Ask How Big Your Penis Is
Foreign men have a reputation for having incredibly large wieners in China, but this seems to provoke more curiosity than insecurity. Watch out.
Behind China’s Closed Doors: Scale Model Builders
Scale model building is not particularly popular in China, but there are groups engaged in this hobby in the backrooms on the fringes of this society.
Spicy Food and Revolutionaries in Hunan
As Mao once said: people who consume diets heavy in hot peppers are natural revolutionaries. An exploration into the "hot pepper spirit" in Hunan.
Fields Of Gold: The Jiangsu Rapeseed Harvest
The countryside of Jiangsu province was covered in a blanket of gold. It was rapeseed, and it was one of the most beautiful agricultural events I've ever observed in all my travels.
A Sense Of Community Survives In Chinese Apartment Complexes
China is covered in forests of high rise apartment complexes, but there is still a strong sense of community that survives throughout.
- Why Customer Service In China Is Different Than You’d Expect
I Watch Wheat Being Separated Again, I’ve been in China For A Year
I watch the cycle of life repeat itself in Jiangsu Taizhou. My travel strategy has certainly changed.
- Chinese Sedan Chairs Or Litters Being Used To Carry Lazy Tourists Up A Mountain
Mountains And Rivers Without End: Zhangjiajie Forest And Wulingyuan UNESCO Site
I decided to find the place that influenced Chinese landscape painting, so I went to Zhangjiajie in Wulingyuan.
The Other Use Of Ting Bu Dong – Chinese Language
All foreigners in China quickly become familiar with the phrase ting bu dong, but there is another way to use it.
I Get My Bicycle Fixed For 45 Cents, China Still Dirt Cheap For The Basics
I get a flat tire on my bicycle repaired for a ridiculously small amount of money. China is still a very cheap country to live in.
- Woven Bamboo Baskets Used As Child Carriers
China’s Obsession With Foreigners And The Experience Of Kanye West
Living in China made a 10 year old Kanye West feel like a celebrity, and the attention that foreigners receive here has yet to simmer down. Why does China obsess over foreigners?
Traditional Old House On Taizhou Canal
I daydream about the sedentary life as I watch an old couple do their daily chores in front of their old, traditional style house on a canal in Taizhou.
If You Build It It Will Fall Down: Taizhou’s Wanda Plaza
A new, ultra-modern, high end shopping mall opened up in Taizhou. Unfortunately, it seems to be falling down already.
An Interview With Traveling Engineers
Engineers are seriously all over the world, living permanently on the road, going from project to project. This is one of the best ways to travel and work concurrently. Watch an interview about the lifestyle and work of the traveling engineer.
- Changsha Is Typical China And This Is Good
Changsha, Where’s The Sky City?
It is looking like the unbelievable Sky City One may have succumbed to reality.
From Farm To City: Check Out Changsha’s Meixi Lake Before The Skyscrapers
An uber-modern, state of the art new city and business district is being built where there were only farms before in Changsha.
- The Catalysts of Chinese Counterculture: Ryan Lee, Traveling Musician
A Glimpse At Wuhan And The Train To Changsha
A peek at Wuhan as I connect to another train and head into the heart of China.
Why Chinese Men Grow Long Fingernails
Find out why it is trendy in China for men to grow incredibly long fingernails.
- Getting Lost At San Yue Jie, One Of The Biggest Temple Fairs In China
The Train From Taizhou To Wuhan
A night train moving across China is perhaps travel at its best.
Another Journey Across China: A Predepature Ramble
Starting off on another journey across China, trepidation turns to excitement once the wheels of travel begin spinning.
China Demolishes An Old Neighborhood, Then Builds A Replica Of It
An old neighborhood in central Taizhou is having its 100th anniversary this year. To commemorate the centennial it is being demolished.
Ordos: The Land Of Many Palaces, A Talk With Filmmakers Adam Smith And Song Ting
Two filmmakers are out in Ordos Kangbashi -- a mythical new city in the middle of a desert in Inner Mongolia -- trying to understand the rise of the New China. Listen to the podcast: [powerpress]
Marriage In China: What’s Love Got To Do With it?
Like most things in modern China, marriage is complex, and the country's youth are caught in the middle of tradition and modernity as they seek the Chinese Dream.
- Rice Stuffed Lotus Root: An Interesting Chinese Street Food
- Bird Flu Kills China’s Poultry Industry
Looking For Freedom From The Chinese Education System
What are high school students doing getting out of class at 10:30 on a Sunday night? Take a look at life inside China's education gulag.
Traditional Mongolian Writing Is On All Signs In China’s Inner Mongolia As A Language Struggles To Survive
Traditional Mongolian script is written everywhere right next to Chinese in Inner Mongolia, but that's no guarantee that anybody is going to read it.
- Look Inside: Ordos Kangbashi, A Ghost City No Longer
- Check Out This Chinese Popcorn Stick (Mihuagun) Machine
Kill All Birds: China’s Avian Flu Prevention Measures Go Extreme
It's humans vs. birds in China. The order has been sent: kill all birds. A war has been declared against anything with two wings and a beak to inhibit the spread of avian flu.
What Do Chinese Officials Fear Most? Shuanggui
What do Chinese officials fear? Shuanggui. This is the counter-balance to the power that Communist Party members wield.
Bird Flu Rumors Spread Through China: “We Don’t Know What To Believe”
12 people have been arrested in China for spreading reputedly false bird flu rumors. But in a society that tends to be skeptical about its government and media being transparent, where else can people turn for information?
How The Chinese Deal With Bird Flu
Bird flu has again torn across China, people are dying, and new cases are being confirmed almost daily. So why does everything seem so normal?
The Fall Of The Hong Kong Lunch Singer
As Hong Kong's economy rises, many of it's old traditions are fading away. Lunch singing, a type of lounge act that is performed in eateries, is one such tradition that's on the verge of disappearing for good.
- Look Inside: Yujiapu, China’s Manhattan Replica
- China Is Too Big, Vast, and Complicated For Singular Media Narratives
E-Bike Accidents In China Are Rampant And I Have No Idea Why
E-bike accidents are incredibly common in China, even though most cities are lined with special lanes for bikes and, ultimately, provide a relatively safe riding experience.
Rich Kid Carrying Bricks Shines Light On China’s Post-90s Generation
A college student in Chongqing toiled for eight days moving bricks on a construction site to pay back a loan he took out to buy an Iphone and unwittingly became a symbol for China's post-90s generation.
Inside A Chinese Hospital: Are Those Trays Of Blood?
A tray of blood pushes me to the brink of cultural relativity.
- China’s Manhattan Knock-Off Aspires To Be Bigger And Better Than The Real Thing
- Tour A Chinese Ghost Mall (Photo Gallery)
Easter In China
Though regulated, Christianity in China thrives. Going to Easter mass was as easy as walking through an open door.
One Cool And Innovative Clay Oven Street Kitchen
Innovation is perhaps the driving force behind the rise of China, and this is evident from the streets up to the highest skyscrapers.
A Journey To China’s Largest Ghost City
Earlier this month, 60 Minutes claimed that Zhengzhou's New District is a ghost city, but that's not what I found.
- Absurd Racism Claim And Attacks On Chinese Culture
The Sights Of China: Whipping Tops
The parks of China often start filling at 6AM. By eight, they are a fury of elderly people doing tai-chi, calisthenics, dancing, and walking backwards. I met a group of old men who were whipping spinning tops in the big, spacious, and nearly deserted central park of Xinyang's Shanyang new area. All around us were [...]
Welcome To Xinyang,The Chinese Ghost City That’s Not Even Built Yet
A massive exhibition center stood vacant next to an equally desolate museum and theater, forests of high-rises reached up into the sky but sheltered nobody, and a sea of uninhabited buildings stretched out in all directions as far as I could see. I was in Xinyang's new district, in the south of China's Henan province, [...]
Helpful People And Efficient Public Transportation Makes China A Breeze For Travel
3,000km, five locations of interest, 7 provinces, 2 provincial level municipalities, 8 days, sleeping on trains, reporting from a bicycle, investigating China's ghost cities. I'm currently at the halfway point of this tour, and what I've found is perhaps more intriguing than any city without people could be. But I won't offer a spoiler here, [...]
Traditional Trades Live On In The New China (For Now)
There are two modes of production that exist in China virtually side by side which stand in polar opposition to each other. There is the world of mass-manufactured goods, which consist of synthetic things with switches and buttons and lights that are shot out the end of factory assembly lines, and then there is that [...]
Not Deserted! This Chinese Ghost City Is Peopled
There were people in that city. There were walking on the sidewalks, driving cars, riding electric bicycles, talking on mobile phones, slurping noodles in restaurants, sipping cappuccinos in cafes, playing with children in parks, and doing exercises on the stadium's track. There were people in that city, but there shouldn't have been: I was in Dantu, one of China's [...]
Pollution Masks For China
The most insane thing about modern China may be the fact that it's not out of the ordinary, strange, or conspicuous to walk through city streets wearing a mask. The Chinese wear these masks for many reasons, one is to filter out pollution. 2013 has so far been a record year for air pollution in [...]
What’s Good About China?
It is too easy to rag on China. This is a country that has the world's worst air quality, where contaminated food and water scares are common; a country that has an incredible gap between the rich and poor, a totalitarian government, and a heinous human rights record; a country that's ravishing its own environment [...]
China’s Air Pollution Is A Daily Catastrophe
I got out of bed this morning after a sleepless night of coughing, wheezing, and going through the rounds of some kind of head cold/ respiratory infection nightmare. China's air pollution is taking another hit at me. This is an ongoing affair for just about anybody who lives in this country. Among other hazardous chemicals [...]
Chinese Spear Fishing
A man with a tri-pronged steel spear attached to a bamboo pole is looking intently down into the murky water of a heavily polluted canal. He is walking down the bank slowly, with absolute focus on something he saw flinch beneath the surface. He slowly raises the spear over his head and lets if fly into [...]
Hot Dog Pastries – “Food” of China
Walk into a bakery in this China and you're bound to see a wall of danishes, muffins, donuts, rolls, and croissants that have hot dogs baked into them. Who would take a perfectly good pastry, stuff a hot dog in it, and wait until it gets cold to eat? The Chinese, of course. Though I believe [...]
Train Travel In China During Spring Festival
An older peasant woman tried to elbow past me and usurp my position in the line leading into the train carriage. I stopped her short with a stiff arm and some sharp words. Around a hundred anxious passengers were in line behind us and I wasn't going to let them trample me. But as soon [...]
The China English Teaching Experience
We decided to come to China for a variety of reasons. Wade has spent years here before and wanted to return, Mandarin Chinese was one of the languages we wanted our daughter Petra to learn on her travels, and we wanted to make some money. I am a preschool teacher and working at as an [...]
Will Public Urination and Spitting Fade Away With Other Traditions in China?
TAIZHOU, China- I bought a drink at a cafe in a mall and moved to take a seat in the single booth that was provided for customers. There were two women already sitting there, but it's OK to crash someone's table here when no others are available. But I stopped short: One of the women was [...]
Imported Foods: A Band Aid For China’s Contaminated Food Problem?
The international food aisle is something that's becoming more and more popular in supermarkets throughout China. Where they once were obscure outside of the major cities, they have now become a common sight throughout the inner provinces. The expat communities here can pat themselves on the backs and proclaim that their tastes are being catered too, but [...]
China’s Magic Travel Weapons: Body Stands, Ostrich Pillows, and Neck Braces
Everybody who has ever traveled has been here: You're riding on a bus or in a seat on a train for a long journey. You begin getting a little drowsy, your head starts to teeter, and all of a sudden you feel your face fall upon either the shoulder of the passenger sitting next to [...]
Laowai Comics: Expat and Traveler Life In China
If you're ever wondering what it's like to live in China, cut right to the point and go to Laowai Comics. Twice weekly, this site presents us with the comedic fodder that make us expats and travelers in China exclaim: "It's true! It's really like that!" They are the product of a long term traveler that [...]
Traditional Chinese Music: Old Songs From Old Times
I heard the squeaking of a Chinese fiddle and the screeching of a female Chinese voice as I walked through the streets of an old neighborhood in Taizhou. Though people have been living here for millenia, this community just had its hundred year anniversary. The houses were arranged in hutong style and everything was constructed [...]
Sights of China: Funeral Processions In The Countryside
You can often hear them coming before you see them. Their horns are blaring and their drums are pounding. Then you see the line of people wearing little white hats marching with a two foot high, colorful, paper palanquin. This is a traditional funeral procession, which is now often only seen in the villages of [...]
China Is Still A Cheap Country To LIVE In
I was recently asked by a friend how much it costs to live in China. I had to think about this for a moment, and then replied, "China is incredibly cheap to live in, but it's not so cheap to travel in." No matter what country you're in, living there or traveling there puts you [...]
Chunyun, The Largest Human Migration In The World, Has Begun
Chūnyùn (春运), China's Spring Festival travel season, where the country sees over 2 billion journeys within a 40 day period, has begun. Starting 15 days before the lunar new year, people all around China rush home to be with their families for the holiday. As the people of this country have now been scattered all [...]
Tibetans Have Passports Confiscated And Not Returned
Being told that the would be given updated, biometric passports that would allow them to travel easier, the Chinese government lured Tibetans in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) to give up their old travel documents last year. Not only did they not receive the new passports but their old ones were not returned. Due to [...]
The Sights of China: Burning Joss Paper
Even as China modernizes at a pedal to the metal pace, certain elements of its old traditions and beliefs remain relevant and important throughout the society. Though formal religion took a major hit during the Mao era which it will probably never recover from, ancestor veneration is still alive and well. It's purpose is to [...]
Sky City One Postponed?
The sky city is an urban engineering concept that essentially consists of building a single super structure that could literally house an entire city. Homes, workplaces, stores, schools, and recreation areas would all be in the same colossal building. The idea is seen as a way of dealing with population density issues in various places in the [...]
China’s Air Pollution Index: Just Like Checking The Weather
Air pollution in China has gotten so bad that it's become an element of weather. You get up in the morning, sit down with a cup of coffee, check the weather, check the smog. Like weather reports, the air pollution report changes by the day. The strange thing is that the two are not coordinated, [...]
Shanghai’s New Air Quality Mascot Cries About Pollution
Shanghai's Environmental Protection Bureau has a cute new mascot on their website to convey to the public the quality of the air they are breathing each day. It's a little cartoon girl with pigtails who lets us know how much PM 2.5 particulate matter is in the air with her emotions and hair color. When the air [...]
The Smog In China Is So Thick That Ferries Can’t Cross The Yangtze River
I wasn't expecting much to stand in my way as I was riding my bike from Taizhou to Zhenjiang in order to check out the Dantu "ghost city." Least of all was I expecting smog to stop me short. The trip was going fine as I rode down past China Medical City and Gaogang. It [...]
Travel Plan: Bicycle to Dantu Ghost City
Early tomorrow morning I should be getting on my fold-out bicycle and peddling from Taizhou to Dantu, which is a district of Zhenjiang, on the south side of the Yangtze River. A 70 kilometer trip -- not bad. My estimated time of departure is 5 AM, and I aim to be there around nine, but [...]
Live Roosters Used As Archery Targets At Jilin Ice Festival
Hit a bull's eye? Nope. How about a rooster's body? At the Ice Festival at Jilin live roosters are hung upside down on a big block of ice and used as targets in an archery game. Tourists pay for a chance to skewer the hapless birds with arrows. From QQ, translated by China Smack: 2013 [...]
The Sights of China: Older People in Parks Playing With Yo-Yos
You can often hear a whirling, buzzing sound while walking through the parks of China. It sounds like a cross between an angry hive of bees, crickets at dusk, and someone tuning in an old radio. It come from people playing with Chinese yo-yos, or Kongzhu, the precursor to the diabolo. Kongzhu are essentially just [...]
China’s Interactive Zoos: Come Pelt Lions With Snowballs
We've reported on the behavior of visitors in Chinese zoos on numerous occasions -- from feeding garbage to monkeys in the Nanjing Zoo to giving cigarettes to macaque and baboons in the Taizhou Zoo -- but it is our impression that the photos that surfaced on China's social media networks of a mob of men pelting lions with snowballs in the Hangzhou [...]
Chinese Rescue 1000 Cats Instead of Eating Them
A truck carrying 1,000 cats crashed in Hunan province on its way to restaurants in Guangdong. A police officer sent out a call via Weibo and dozens of volunteers showed up to rescue the poor cats and treat the ones that were injured. The group then paid the driver of the truck for the "livestock" [...]
How to Prevent People From Cutting In Line In Front Of You
Many years ago I was standing in a long line at the immigration office in Hangzhou. Everybody there was going through the arduous rounds of Chinese bureaucracy -- which leaves nobody in a pleasant mood. All of a sudden, two big Pakistanis tried to walk right up to the front of the line. Everybody tried to pretend [...]
The Traveling Chinese Opera
I was lured in by the music, by the singing, the thumping of wooden blocks, the plucking of strings, and the striking of gongs. It was the traveling Chinese opera.
8 Lessons Learned About Giving Birth In China
Having a baby in a foreign country can be difficult challenge in most countries, but it’s a extremely difficult challenge in China. I should know, my wife and I had baby #3 here in China a few weeks ago.
Airpocalypse! Another Smog Storm Covers China
The east of China is again engulfed in a blanket of smog so think in places you can hardly see down the street. Children have been ordered to remain indoors, and the people have been ordered to take measures to protect their health.
Inflatable Boat For Travel
An inflatable boat would be the perfect way to navigate some countries. I discover that this is not a new idea in exploration.
Chestnut Roasting Taken to the Streets in China
As autumn turns into winter street vendors come out across China cooking chestnuts in the streets with interesting roasters attached to motorcycles and tricycle carts.
Shenzhen, China: Where Your Stuff Is Made
The World's Factory grew up with the globalization era in the Pearl River Delta of China's Guangdong province, but what is its future?
Macau: Welcome To The Most Crowded City On Earth
Amid all the overcrowding, traffic, and congestion of Macau there is a hidden, genuine, old-China essence.
Zhuhai, China: The Vices of a Boom Town
When booze, girls, and people from around the world with too much money come together in a SEZ boom town you get China's take on Pattaya.
New South China Mall: An Update On The World’s Largest (Ghost) Mall
It was supposed to have been the greatest shopping center ever built on the face of the earth. They built it and nobody came. The New South China Mall is still 99% deserted.
China’s Knock-Off Cities and Western Architectural Copycatting, What Does This Mean?
Throughout Chinese history the appropriation and reproduction of architectural styles has occurred. Today, this copycatting is being taken to extremes.
A Visit to Hallstatt, China: An Austrian Village Cloned
For the first time in history and entire town has been replicated. In China's Guangdong province there now stands a clone of Hallstatt, Austria.
Modern Toilet Restaurant
Modern Toilet: the restaurant that showcases both sides of food.
Student Abuse Hysteria in China Puts Teachers in a Hard Place
The student abuse hysteria continues in China as teachers are put on the social chopping block.
Street Food Kitchen on Bike Cart in China
A street food tricycle cart in China. It's just a pot with a coal fire inside topped with an iron lid. Innovation or Jerry-rigging?
Christmas in China
China absorbs other cultures and makes them its own, and Christmas is no way immune to this appropriation.
The Cultural Impact of Borders
A two mile stretch of water separate two cultures that used to be one. How did this happen?
Old, Western Style Houses on Kinmen Island, Taiwan
An enclave of old Western buildings rise near the port on Kinmen Island. How did they get there and who built them?
Continued Travels Around the Hinterlands of China
I've probably spent more time in China than any other country on earth besides the one I grew up in. China is so big, diverse, and ever-changing that it's impossible to ever truly have your bearings here. Constructing a concept of this land is like trying to nail a piece of jello to the wall: it just can't be done. Like India, the USA, Mexico, or Russia, you can never "do" China. The size and cultural/ political/ economic dynamism are just too much. But I can say that I'm more familiar with this country than any the 50 or so others that I've experienced.
Traditional Chinese Musical Instruments Used in Religious Ceremonies
Examples of traditional Chinese instruments that are used during religious ceremonies and celebrations.
Religion in Kinmen, Taiwan
Religion is virtually ubiquitous on Taiwan's Kinmen Island, and it is an interesting mix of beliefs and faiths.
Swallowtail Roof Photos
Photos of swallowtail roofs, a traditional architectural feature in China's Fujian province and Taiwan.
Kinmen: A Taiwanese Backwater or the Gateway to Mainland China?
Is Kinmen Island a Taiwanese backwater or the gateway to China?
Fan Tuan Sticky Rice Roll
Tuan Fan is a very popular breakfast food in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Kinmen Island: China Without Communism?
Is Kinmen Island and the rest of Taiwan what China may have been like without communism?
Kinmen Island, Taiwan: What Is This Place?
Kinmen Island is an outpost of Taiwan which has been teetering precariously a few miles off the coast of mainland China for the past 60 years.
China’s High Speed Trains
Chinese new high-speed rail network sets the bar for ground transportation, other countries try to play catch-up.
Hongqiao Station, Shanghai: The Future of Train Stations?
Hongqiao station is the largest train station in Asia and Shanghai's new hub for high speed train transport.
Portable Sweet Potato Oven: Another Side of Chinese Craftmanship
A metal box, some racks, and a chimney = a truly ingenuitive portable sweet potato oven.
Old-Fashioned Chinese Pressure Cooker Making Pop Rice
An old man makes pop rice with an old-fashioned pressure cooker. Tools and devices such as this are fast becoming forgotten relics in a China racing for the future.
Urine From Public Toilets in China Used to Make Medicine
Human urine is collected in the public toilets of Taizhou, China to be made into medicine.
Oriental Windsor County: European Village Created in China
Developments designed after European villages are being built in China. There is one at the CMC, a planned medical research city hungry to attract foreign business.
Chinese Zoos: An Intercultural Experience
Visiting a Chinese zoo is truly a practice in cultural relativism.
What is a Human Flesh Search?
The human flesh search has become a defacto public watchdog system in China that is geared to react against anti-social behavior, fight crime, and expose corruption.
Chinese Net Fishing
Net fishing in China is an ancient practice that is still continued today. Here are some of the various types of fishing nets and methods.
China Absorbs Other Traditions and Makes Them Chinese
China absorbs foreign influences and traditions and makes them their own.
Personal Space in China: If There’s a Free Space, Take it
Personal space becomes common property in crowded China.
Chinese Netizen Reaction To Their New Leaders
What's the reaction in China to the new leaders? Netizens can't say, but they can allude.
Women in China: Professional Gender Lines, Work, and Family
An investigation into professional gender lines, the rise of salary women, the pressures of family role, and the "third gender."
China Reveals Its New Leaders
The Chinese Communist Party selects China's new leaders as the princelings come of age and ascend to the throne.
What Chinese Train Numbers Mean
Train numbers in China tell what direction a train is traveling in and how fast it goes. This article shows how.
China’s New Leaders Rise to Power as Beijing is Locked Down
Beijing is locked down as the CCP selects its new leaders. Heightened security, intensified censorship, and red arm band wearing citizen patrols remind us that the more China changes the more it stays the same.
180 Million Single Chinese Celebrate Singles Day . . . Everybody Else Goes Shopping
There are now over 180 million single adults in China, and a holiday just for them.
Woman Has Finger Cut Off for Littering in China
A fed up sanitation worker takes the fight against littering into his own hands, and cuts off the finger of an unsuspecting litter bug.
Visiting Old Mutianyu Great Wall of China Without a Tour
A trip to the great wall without a tour. Just take the local bus and walk in, cheap and easy.
China Selects It’s New Leaders Amid Scandal, Corruption, and the Year of the Dragon
China begins selecting its new leaders today. How? Nobody on the outside really knows.
American and Chinese Relations: How We View Each Other
A new Pew Research Center infographic shows how American and Chinese people view each other.
China to Build a Car Free, Green City
China is building a completely new, fully green city where cars will not be necessary. Too good to be true or a move towards the future of sustainable urban living?
Same Sex Marriage in China: A Sign of a Changing Culture?
Are these gay marriages in China for real? They answer seems to be both yes and no.
Kinmen, We’re Not In China Anymore – Or Are We?
An enclave of Taiwan sits right off the coast of China. It's called Kinmen Island, and it sure is a strange little place.
A Chinese Birthday Party
Like most things in China, birthday parties are 100% . . . Chinese.
Children Being Abused in Schools in China Becomes a National Issue
A series of incidents of students being abused in kindergartens in China have provoked national outrage.
Bicycle Travel In Xiamen and Fujian
A journey gets turned around by one simple thing: the making of friends. This is a tale which shows the reason why we travel.
Another Bridge Collapses in China
China's bridges are falling down. A look at 'tofu bridges" and other faulty construction projects.
Bicycling in China’s Jiangsu Province
A bicycle journey through Jiangsu province: broken pedals, factories, camping on the sly, traffic jams, right-wing Chinese, and more.
When One Expat in China Does Something Stupid All Expats Feel the Effect
When the term "foreign national" is used in the Chinese media, all expats and travelers in the country tend to cringe.
Monkey Street Shows in China
Travel street performers doing monkey shows is something that is straight out of Chinese history that continues today.
What Can Cause A River To Run Red?
The Chongqing stretch of the Yangtze River turned blood red last month, and nobody still knows why (or they're not saying).
Arguing Over the Diaoyu Islands Can Get You Killed
Saying the wrong thing in the wrong place can get you in big trouble when traveling.
- 6 Strange Things That Are Done to Dogs in China
How the Chinese Make Their Eyes Look Bigger with Contact Lenses
Circle lenses give wearers the illusion of having larger eyes, which is a much sought after beauty trait in East Asia.