How to use Chinese online banking with a Mac or Linux computer

Banking in China. Topped only by shopping the week before Spring Festival and pretty much any time spent at a post office; China’s convoluted and largely archaic banking system is, at best, a torturous experience. Long lines of clientele that seem downright surprised (and thus appropriately unprepared) to be banking at all; service with a …Read More

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Tighter visa restrictions or just more of the same?

According to Shanghai Daily, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee is currently discussing a draft law that will shorten the minimum stay for foreigners who come to China to 90 days, with the residence permits ranging in validity from six months to five years. The draft law was designed with the aim of curbing the …Read More

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Foreigners Allowed! – Hotel Registration Tutorial

These days all hotels worthy of the name “hotel”, and most hotels that aren’t, have a network connection and a computer program that allows them to register all guests at the hotel with the provincial Public Security Bureau. For all intents and purposes the system is standardized. I’ve found some small differences from province to …Read More

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Unemployed in China: A response to “Go East, Young Man”

This is a response to Jonathan Levine’s article on working in China, “Go East, Young Man“, published on January 8. After writing this response, I found that someone had written an insightful blog post at the singularly named (written about a month before Jonathan Levine’s). I highly recommend reading said post for more details …Read More

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Paying Taxes

I’m trying to be a good citizen or resident or businesswoman or whatever you want to call me. I figure I use the things that tax money buys. I use the roads and the street lights at night. I use the parks and the heavily subsidized public transportation. So I figure it’s only right that …Read More

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Fast Food in China: Beyond the Golden Arches

For many in China, “fast food” means McDonalds and KFC. To the average laowai, a visit to the nearest burger joint (or a phone call to the bicycle delivery man) is a periodic necessity for those craving a reminder of life back home and a break from their usual Chinese diet of rice and noodles. Even many Chinese consider fast food to be a uniquely foreign –- or specifically American –- phenomenon.

But Western fast food restaurants in China have long been outnumbered by native competitors. For decades, these Chinese chains were mostly small-scale operations limited to a particular city or province. But in recent years, a persistent handful have begun to extend their reach across the country and establish themselves as national, or at least regional, brand names. A diverse group, their menus range from American fast food staples to regional Chinese specialties, and some imaginative creations that don’t quite fit any category. Here’s a guide to five popular and fast-growing Chinese chains you’ll likely come across (if you haven’t already)Read More

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