Our Harmonious Society

By now, just about all laowai should have heard of our "Harmonious Society".

The first time I saw those words was about three years ago, in Chinese, written in huge font on a billboard along the road just after the Lupu Bridge in Pudong, Shanghai. At the time the sign was an anomaly, but within the last year it's become ubiquitous.

It's on red banners. It's on billboards. It was a major theme in CCTV's 2007 Ch…

Welcome to the “It’s not summer yet” purgatory

It's been pretty hot today: a reported 30 degrees Celsius (that's 86 Fahrenheit, if you prefer to count it that way), coupled with near 70% humidity that is tempered only slightly by a gentle, warm breeze.

No complaints from me whatsoever. Being from the U.K., where the number of summer days can be counted on the fingers of an individual's hands, I consider each sun-kissed day a blessing.

What's got my goat tod…

DisneyMainland: “Disney Is Too Far”

Knock-offs of Disney apparel, toys and, of course, DVDs are so common here in the Mainland that none but the strictest IPR pundits raise an eyebrow about it anymore.

However, Beijing's Shijingshan Amusement Park has got to take the cake for blatant infringement of an endless amount of trademarks. The park, until recently, waved proudly a slogan that stated "Disneyland is too far!", and featured a virtual cornucopi…


There. I just coined a phrase.

I've been doing some reading today (Note: that makes it a good day for me), and I've been seeing many articles and postings published by the China-focused academia or journalism community. Like the Nutty Yale Professor a while back, these articles leave me with a certain sour taste in my mouth. I just can't place it.

I mean, really long articles like this one (I had to go for a …

Ben The Barber: Working Like A Local

When I started this site, and this blog, my intention was (and is) to give foreigners coming to or recently arrived in China an inside look at the country. Of course, usually this means "from an expat perspective". Well, Ben Ross, of Ben's Blog, has taken this a step further:
"As an American living in China, I have spent the last three years of my life enjoying the benefits of being a citizen of a country which is f…

Making the Reddest Square Green

Here's a cool idea: Tear up the gray concrete of Tiananmen Square and turn it into a Chinese version of New York's Central Park. One leading architect is suggesting something along those lines, the Guardian reports (via CDT):
Ma Yansong, an award-winning urban planner, says the grey concrete symbol of China's red politics should be given a green makeover. To heighten awareness about the environment, he believes the…

A religion in need of good samaritans

A couple of weeks ago I saw something that I've been trying to make sense of ever since. Here's what happened: I was on a bus here in Suzhou, which drew up to a set of traffic lights at an intersection. To my right, on the corner of the road, I noticed on old woman had fallen off her bicycle, and was sat in the road, unhurt, but somewhat dazed and bruised.

I'm not sure why the old lady's accident had occurred; but…

Sending packages home? Leave out the DVDs

Anyone who's lived in China for more than a couple weeks has likely amassed a pile of pirated DVDs.

Coming from Western countries where the prices are 15-30x more, it's tough to throw even the worst ones away (I've still got my copy of Benchwarmers for Christ's sake).

Getting them home is one of the things I'm continually asked about, and not one I have ever have a clear answer on. Though most China Post office…

Chinese Protester Crashes The Gates

A supporter of open-source software managed to take the spotlight away from the bazillion dollar man, Bill Gates, during the Windows creator's visit to Beijing yesterday.

The unidentified man waited until Billy was finished congratulating some students at Beijing University, and then stormed the stage brandishing a sign stating: "Free Software, Open Source"

I saw this one first at Ya, I Yee, and read further ab…