Newspapers and News Outlets in China: What Options do People Have?

Newspapers and News Outlets in China: What Options do People Have?

This extends on a question I recently answered on Quora, about alternative news in China. Included here is a huge list of news outlets, mostly in Chinese. For English versions, from within China and out, see the China news wall

All journalists in China must have a license, and in getting a license you must vow to uphold party values. Also, journalists are required to do a training session in party ideology. There are some recent new rules which are reviewed here at Xinhua 国家新闻出版广电总局:禁止记者和记者站未经本单位同意私自开展批评报道-新华网 . As for press freedoms, according to Reporters Sans Frontieres, they are ranked 176 out of 180 for press freedoms in the globe Reporters sans frontières. read more

The Big List of TV Channels in China

The Big List of TV Channels in China

Whether living in China or just holidaying, your probably going to turn a TV on at some time, so, here’s the big list of local Chinese TV channels. In the apartments where I lived the TV was set up through the internet. With a twelve month package, you could choose from different packages with more expensive packages offering extended channels which often include a select range of subtitled English programs. The different packages really depend on the local provider offerings.

If you are an expat, you will come across many people offering IPTV set-top boxes to access international content that’s not widely available by other means. There’s also satellite packages for sale too. You can also buy set-top boxes on Taobao which provide access to large range of  on-demand movies and TV series. If I was setting up in China again for a long stay, that would be the way I’d choose. read more

China’s Top 10 Video Sharing Websites (aka YouTube Equivalents)

China’s Top 10 Video Sharing Websites (aka YouTube Equivalents)

Youtube’s Chinese equivalents were born on hosting ripped content from overseas, such as popular western TV series and movies, and grew from humble bootlegging websites into fully fledged internet companies.

So popular in fact, from tapping into a massive Chinese netizen audience, that many listed on the stock markets of the US (yes, there is a certain irony). Most content nowadays is licensed, and many of the popular sites are self-producing local shows. Of course, there’s still the regular uploads of daily life and crazy antics from Chinese netizens, news bulletins, documentary, opinion, DIY videos and everything you could imagine. read more

The Cost of Living in China – for Travelers & Expats

The Cost of Living in China – for Travelers & Expats

How much does it cost to go to China? Take a look on the travel forums and it’s one of the most common questions there is, so, let’s break it down.

Just like anywhere, there’s a big difference between holidaying and living for extended periods so let’s tackle it in two parts.

Holidaying in China: The Costs

It is a bit like how long is a piece of string, it depends on the level of comfort your seeking and where you want to go and what you’d like to see. For this example, lets’ focus on Tier One cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou. read more

Stark Realities of Life in Regional China

Stark Realities of Life in Regional China

Going to China and exploring the well worn tourist trails is one thing, it’s another thing again to live in one of China’s major urban cities for a period of time, and it’s very much another thing again, to live outside those urban cities. It’s a journey that can push you to explore all of your social conditioning and values, while considering those of people who have grown within different cultures.

1. A Hierarchical society – people have to work hard to claim a position in society and without it, it’s a VERY difficult life. To have wealth, or status that’s afforded by a high position in a company, especially within government, ‘greases the wheels’ and smooths the way of every step in life, and maintains your acceptance into groups, or your ‘Guanxi’ network. Everything is done by recommendation, without a network of friends, to find a job is difficult, to find a partner is difficult and so on through the steps of life. The more powerful your network, the smoother your existence. In a society that doesn’t have a well developed social system it can also mean the difference between eating from a table or eating from a bin, and at the extreme, life and death. I’ll never forget the facial expression of doctor I was visiting frequently while attending to some kidney trouble. Over tea, he explained that he had just witnessed a girl jump from the roof of the hospital. She was a cancer patient who didn’t have the money to stay in the hospital, when told of the costs the family simply walked away, without payment for the hospital bed, the staff had to ask her to leave. She walked to the roof. You’ll perhaps understand why Chinese are so determined when it comes to education, passing the all important entrance exam, Gaokao, which can mean the difference between a good life and a difficult existence, perhaps it also explains their ruthless determination in business, and get rich at any cost attitude. There isn’t a floor, unless you make it yourself. read more

Migration Nation: What does it look like when 1.3 Billion people go on Holiday?

Migration Nation: What does it look like when 1.3 Billion people go on Holiday?

The Spring Festival Travel Season, or Chunyun (春运), is well underway as people race home to chow down on dumplings and set the country ablaze with crackers and fireworks.

Of course Spring Festival and Chinese New Year is much more than overeating and going deaf or possibly being blinded, but we’ll talk about that another day, today it’s all about travel chaos, as millions pour into China’s transport system try to make it home.

The 2016 Spring Festival travel period runs from January 24 to March 3, a total of 40 days with peaks around February 5 and 7, and again between February 11 and 13. Here’s a number to scare you, it’s expected that a staggering 2.91 billion trips will take place according to the NDRC (more here). It probably doesn’t scare ticket sellers or petrol station owners though. read more

4 TCM food remedies for Weight Loss

4 TCM food remedies for Weight Loss

Carrying a few extra pounds, I’m bypassing the local dim-sum restaurant and went on the hunt for local solutions for weight loss and here’s what I come up with.

Firstly, everyone agrees, you can’t put in more than you give out, meaning, you need to burn more calories than you eat. Damn, I really do have to do exercise.

Interestingly, I’m not a big eater, had dropped bread from the diet some time ago, don’t drink soda and stuck to just one or two cups of tea or coffee each day. Where was the weight coming from? read more

Conquering Southern China – the Documentary

Conquering Southern China – the Documentary

In this documentary series, the two vloggers ride their hand built 125cc bikes from Huizhou in Guangdong Province to Kunming in Yunnan Province. Along the way they tackle the toughest roads, meet fascinating locals, try weird food and witness breathtaking landscapes; it’s China like you’ve never seen it before.

According to Shenzhen Daily, editing should be completed by mid 2016 and hopes are for it to be picked up Nat Geo or the like. Can’t wait to watch the full adventure.

You can also find the preview/trailer on:
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_186193499_type_99.html read more

2016 China Holiday Dates

2016 China Holiday Dates

Here are the unconfirmed dates for public holidays in China, 2016.

Holiday Name Statutory Days of Holiday 2016 Date 2016 Day of the Week 2016 Days Off (TBC) Summary New Year’s Day 1 day Jan. 1 Friday Jan. 1–3 The beginning of a new year based on the Gregorian calendar. Chinese New Year 3 days Feb. 8 Monday Feb. 7–13 Also called Spring Festival Qingming Festival 1 day Apr. 4 Monday Apr. 3–5 Tomb Sweeping Day May Day 1 day May 1 Sunday May 1 – May 3 Labor Day. Dragon Boat Festival 1 day Jun. 9 Thursday Jun. 9–11 Dragon Boat racing and Zongzi. Mid-Autumn Day 1 day Sep. 15 Thursday Sep. 15–17 Chinese family reunion National Day 3 day Oct. 1 Saturday Oct. 1 – 7 The founding of the People’s Republic of China.
How to: Using WeChat Pay to Simplify your Daily Life in China

How to: Using WeChat Pay to Simplify your Daily Life in China

If you have been in China more than a day, you probably have WeChat on your phone by now. But, it’s much more than a social sharing and messaging servicing, it can really simplify a lot of necessities in China daily life.

for foreigners, WeChat Pay can simplify a lot of daily tasks such as buying Mobile Recharge/Top Up, ordering a taxi via Didi Dache, buying tickets and importantly, in your circle of Chinese friends, Lucky Money and the infamous Hongbao.

What can I do with WeChat Pay?

Some of the services offered via Wechat Pay: read more

Inside a Walmart in China – Here’s five things you probably won’t see in a US Walmart

Inside a Walmart in China – Here’s five things you probably won’t see in a US Walmart

Supermarkets in China can be an eye-opening experience, I remember going to buy some chicken when I first moved here and, lo and behold, there was live chickens, pulled from the cage, beheaded and plucked before your eyes, it. Talk about fresh. Walmart is fairly tame, in comparison to the more traditional supermarkets, of which I’ll add some photos up in future posts.

Walmart is popular here, perhaps due to it’s perceived US prestige, but also by delivering quality goods, hygienic environment and high service standards, it has consumers trust. The US chain has done well to tailor itself to the local market and there’s a lots of interesting stuff you probably wont find at your local US Walmart: read more

2015 Public Holiday Schedule

2015 Public Holiday Schedule

Official Chinese public holidays for 2015:

  • New Year’s Day January 1st to the 3rd off with weekend shifted, and work recommencing on the 4th (Sunday).
  • Spring Festival/Chinese New Year: February 18th (Chinese New Year’s Eve) to the 24th off with weekend shifted.
  • Tomb Sweeping Day: April 5th off, with day off on the 6th.
  • International Labor Day: vacation starts May 1st combined with the weekend.
  • Dragon Boat Festival: June 20th to 22nd.
  • Mid-Autumn Festival: September 27th.
  • National Day: October 1st to 7th off, with work recommencing October 10th (Saturday).
  • read more

    Taobao Alternatives in China

    Taobao is China’s undisputed king of online shopping malls in China, and is the local equivalent of ebay in many ways. Traders can list their products online and reach out to a large audience who can easily locate and compare goods of just about any type.

    Whilst prices can be cheaper at Taobao, as you would expect due to retailers not needing to pay rent and so on, many locals will tell stories of being duped, poor quality, receiving fakes or copy goods, not receiving things at all and so on. My experience has been mostly good, I try to buy from sellers with a strong reputation and those that are keen to keep their rep. Buyers in China place a lot of importance on comments and ratings left by previous buyers before they make a purchase. One bad comment can apparently kill a product so genuine long term sellers will work hard to keep a good rep, even so far as offering inducements for positive feedback, which probably corrupts things a bit, but anyway… read more

    Let the Migration Begin – Spring Festival and Chinese New Year 2014

    Let the Migration Begin – Spring Festival and Chinese New Year 2014

    It’s that time again, when a whole country goes from ON… to OFF. The Spring Festival Travel Season, or Chunyun (春运), which goes for 40 days is well underway having started Jan 16 and will finish Feb 24. Many people wont finish work until tomorrow leaving them little time to get home for the all important re-union dinner on new years eve. Most will get around 7 days off, which is a mix of official days off and days accrued from working extra days prior. Some people will take extended leave and some even stay in their hometown for the month. read more

    Understanding Chinese Society through Ancient Sages

    Understanding Chinese Society through Ancient Sages

    Chinese philosophies, or if you like, doctrines, religions or cultural practices include Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Over thousands of years they have all played a major role in shaping Chinese culture, albeit sometimes falling in and out of favor with rulers over the centuries. Through an understanding of the different philosophies, even if only a brief look through the window, can only work towards helping to understand the nature and way of such a large society.

    One page on a blog is never going to cover a subject so vast as three philosophies, or their role in Chinese history, but let this try to be an introduction for those who have no knowledge at all, a bit like the writer. Ever so briefly I will try to introduce the three philosophies, some of the main characters, a few interesting quotes and maybe some new understanding. read more

    My First Chinese New Year

    My First Chinese New Year

    The Spring Festival is a fifteen day celebration where most Chinese people have at least seven days holiday, and within the festival is the beginning of the Chinese New Year. It’s a very special time for Chinese.

    For my first year in China, my first Spring Festival began in Shenzhen where I witnessed the effects of the mass migration of workers back to their home cities (see:). Also in Shenzhen I was lucky enough to watch an unimaginable display as every city block was alight with fireworks, with a roof top view, for as far as the eye could see, all that could be seen was a sky filled with color. read more

    Spring Festival Travel: China’s Annual Migration Begins

    Spring Festival Travel: China’s Annual Migration Begins

    Without a doubt the most important date on the Chinese calender – the Lunar New Year and the beginning of the Spring Festival. This year it falls on February 3. Most all workers will get 7 days off work and head home for celebrations and reunion with family.

    More about the festival itself later, but the actual lead up to the beginning of the festival has to be, in terms of scale, one of the planets most staggering migrations. There’s over 1.3 billion people live here and they all want go home at the same time! read more

    China and it’s now ubiquitous ‘Cycling Device’

    China and it’s now ubiquitous ‘Cycling Device’

    Chinese love their bicycles, ranging from the standard push bike through to home made three wheelers, they are absolutely everywhere. China has the largest fleet of bicycles in the world but as history tells the story the Chinese where quite slow to catch on to this thing with ‘two wheels connected by pipe’.

    So the story goes, at the suggestion of the British, a Chinese diplomatic mission went to several western countries in the mid 1800’s and came home with reports of all kinds of wonders. From their translated reports after visiting France they wrote of a “cycling device” explaining that: read more

    It’s Christmas in China…

    It’s Christmas in China…

    Chinese people love celebrating things, and not only there own traditional festivals but also western ones too, and Christmas especially. Here in Shenzhen all the retail shopping malls have grand decorations throughout including themed displays, large trees and big custom made models of Santa, reindeers and the like. Even smaller shops and markets are dressed up with tinsel and decorations.

    Restaurants throughout the city also get into the festive spirit with many, particularly the popular buffets, putting on western style Christmas menus offering up roast turkey, hams and all the trimmings plus some. read more