How terrible a place is Beijing?

Judging by the lengths the government is going to make Beijing a “nice” place — pretty terrible! Here are some emergency measures being taken to turn this city around for the two weeks APEC will be in town: Pollution: Government officials have promised nice air for APEC, by closing factories and kicking people out of […]

The other side of China

After a reminder from James Fallows, I finally watched “Last Train Home“, a 2009 documentary by Lixin Fan that has won all sorts of awards (and is available on Netflix!). Fan follows an older couple from rural Sichuan as they work in a Guangzhou factory and try to find a way home every Spring Festival […]

China update

Exciting time for China right now, with the annual two sessions kicking off today. Here are loosely related tidbits of news, which I hope will form a composite of modern China for you: The National People’s Congress, one of China’s two legislative bodies (i.e., the ones that are meeting right now), is a shining example […]

The AP, China and taxes

It’s not unusual to find misleading, distorted stories in the media. It’s also not unusual for me to wave off the distortions, because, well, I know better and I can glean something from the story anyway. Today, however, I want to direct you to this AP story about foreigners in China squeezed by pensions, taxes. […]

China is not cheap, part 2

China’s rising cost of living has been dominating the news lately, if not overseas, then definitely domestically. First-half figures just released show that food prices alone jumped more than 11 percent over the first six months last year. When I first came to Beijing, my shao bing jia ji dan was 1.5 kuai; it’s now […]