Why Would You Want To Go To China?

Shot of a globe in rainbow colors, focused on a yellow map of China
When someone asked me why I wanted to go back to China, I couldn’t help wondering if it was curiosity, or something else. (Photo by Ben Earwicker, www.garrisonphoto.org/sxc)

Why would you want to go to China?

I didn’t come to that pioneer museum in America’s West to lay my own future out before the public, like the covered wagons, shotguns and washboards on display. But all of a sudden, this elderly woman started talking to me, and couldn’t help notice that my Chinese husband didn’t look or speak likew an American. So then came the questions about where he was from — and, of course, where we would live after he finished his work in the US.

I said that China’s developing economy meant extraordinary opportunities for his career, as well as mine. I told her I had lived there before, and enjoyed it. But when she continued to give me a puzzled look, I couldn’t shake the feeling that her words were some kind of veiled suggestion — that going to China was a bad idea. When I left, how I wished I had shot the question back at her and her own home state. (Why would you want to live in Pennsylvania?)

I know my choice isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, it’s better to stay in your home country, or even your hometown. But the very mention of China made that simple conversation in the museum feel anything but simple to me.

But maybe that’s not because she disliked China, or was a curious busybody. Maybe, in fact, we had two different questions in mind all along. While she wanted to know why I would go to China, I thought of it more like this: why not go to China? 😉

Have people ever questioned you about going to China?

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53 Replies to “Why Would You Want To Go To China?”

  1. A few people assumed that me moving to Taiwan would be awful for me and that I wouldn’t be able to wait to get back home. Actually the reverse is true – although I love NZ I’m absolutely thriving here in Taiwan. There are so many opportunities and cool things to see/do/learn that life is brimming over with cool stuff. I think it stems from a lack of knowledge or understanding about what places like China and Taiwan are really like. Half the time I feel like I’m some sort of TW ambassador, explaining and proving to people exciting, beautiful and interesting this wee island is. I’m sure if these people knew what we knew their question wouldn’t be “Why” it would be “Can I join?” 🙂

  2. Many times I hear from my mom that she have talked to other people, and they have been wondering why I left Finland to go somewhere so far as China. Maybe they are thinking what they would do if their kid would go so far away from home.

    I also remember this about 30 years old woman that worked for a company that offered prep courses for university. She basically laughed a bit when I told her that I’m studying Chinese and recommend it to others too (it was a event for high school students to figure out their future). She laughed and then said that there are other not so exotic language as well in the universities. So she haven’t heard that it’s actually good for your career to learn Chinese?

    But this is really a hard question. Since I was 12 years old or something I had this dream to go to China. I’m not sure why I had this dream, maybe because my parents used to live in Beijing before I was born. China just was and is my biggest passion and so a year ago I came here!

  3. This happened to me a lot also. A mother of my friend asked “Why would you want to go to China?” and then asked, “Are your parents okay with it?” What does it have to do with them? And of course they are, they get to come visit me!

    After I got robbed and stabbed in Xingping, everyone in the States expected that I would leave China and come home, which never crossed my mind. I think that America generally considers itself the best place to be and the center of the world. There’s just not a lot of consideration for the outside world and different ways of life.

  4. I haven’t even left yet, and am already considering how to not leave, stay in touch, or get back asap… I must say, notwithstanding all the (more or less true) anti-China rhetoric in German media, it seems to me that the usual reaction in Austria and Germany is more along the lines of “wow, what an adventure,” with only a slight bit of “really?” thrown in…

  5. I don’t live in China (although it’s a place I would definitely consider moving to), but I live outside the US. I was not prepared for the amount of resistance I encountered when I announced I was leaving the States. My family members won’t visit (some of them are so mad they won’t even write or call), and my friends keep saying, “You know there’s no shame in coming back if it doesn’t work out.” Quite the vote of confidence, right? You would think from the way they act that I’m living in Somalia or North Korea.

    I don’t see myself moving from here in the immediate future (I’m actually happier here than I have been in years). If an opportunity presents itself to move to China down the road, however, I will weigh my options and make a decision. I’ve lived abroad twice before, and don’t see myself going back to the US for a long while, if at all. Of course, I’m open to whatever life brings me, but if I had to lay bets, I’d say I’m on my way to ex-pat status.

  6. English girl here in Singapore. No jobs in the UK. Anticipating big changes in migration laws and capping of skilled migration my company moved its global HQ to Singapore from London in 2009 and basically gave me an ultimatum. Move to Singapore or loose your job. I moved a week later..never regretted it even once..life is fantastic here. Very safe for a woman to walk out at night and yes I have a Singaporean Chinese bf who I met courtesy of the Singapore Government. I dont think I will return to the UK to work.

  7. “You would think from the way they act that I’m living in Somalia or North Korea. ”

    May be you are living in the Middle East or Asia…as far as many Americans are concerned all Middle East is like Somalia and all Asia is like North Korea. Know a young white woman from poor a coal mining town in West Virginia living in Singapore. Family members still speak with her but dont visit and dont like her living in a “developing country” (yes, they should talk about living in a developing country). They are going to faint or at least throw up when she tells them that she is going to get engaged to a Chinese-American guy from Hawaii who is also working in Singapore

  8. Most people just can’t comprehend leaving their home countries. That goes equally for most people in most countries. Even my Chinese students, who all plan on going to university in America, still ultimately plan on moving back to China, and while there are plenty of Chinese who do immigrate to other countries permanently, a lot of them only did so because they felt there was no other choice. I think it is fairly normal for people to feel like their own country is most likely the best country on earth. Those of us who actually leave our countries and live elsewhere are few and far between. I think the reaction would be the same whether you said you were moving to Russia or Peru or Morocco. Granted, China has been in the news a lot and a lot of older people especially still have some cold war ideas about her, but I don’t think the objection is so much to China itself as it is to the idea of moving away in general.

    That said, my parents are moving out here this summer and almost everyone they know has been incredibly supportive. I suppose they know that we’re here and my parents are not young people just starting out, but rather older folks who have already accomplished most of what they want in life so I think in people’s eyes that entitles them to a bit of an adventure.

  9. Well, China is as far from most Western countries (physically) as it gets, which translates into mucho dinero in airfares. It makes keeping in touch all that much more difficult than if you were to move from, say, the US to Mexico.

  10. I’m 56 years old, emigrated to the U.S. from Hong Kong 39 years ago and found a better life that I could have had back home. So I understand why some people feel that there’s absolutely no reason to leave this country. Over the years, standards of living in Hong Kong and China are catching up to the West. Anyone who thinks Hong Kong (or Singapore) is “developing” needs a reality check. Yet, I believe most Americans still see China through the lens of movies made in the 50’s and 60’s. My sons would rather live in Hong Kong, if they can afford it. China is not quite there but in 10 to 20 years, who knows! Just think, what was it like 20 years ago?

  11. “Well, China is as far from most Western countries (physically) as it gets, which translates into mucho dinero in airfares. It makes keeping in touch all that much more difficult than if you were to move from, say, the US to Mexico.”

    Cheaper to fly from US to China than to Argentina.

  12. For many people moving has become a necessity. I am pretty sure parents and relatives will have no problem with their son or daughter leaving for China or anywhere else if he or she had been sitting at home without paying rent for about six months to a year. One lady whose son just moved to Mongolia told me that a year ago they would have been peeved about their son moving far away but after he sat in their home for eight months eating free food and enjoying their hospitality at the age of 35, they said good riddance after he got a job with an international organization in Mongolia. In fact, I live with my sister..I pay her rent and food expenses..at the market rate…she will be very happy to see me move out soon! She sill say good riddance!

  13. @Henry Yeh: Only if your idea of the world includes only that half north of the equator. New Zealand is about as far as you can get from England, France and Spain without either sitting alone on a subantarctic island, going for a very long, cold swim, or leaving the planet. And why do Americans talk of popping up in China if they dig through the centre of the Earth? That makes no sense at all. They’d actually pop up somewhere in the Indian Ocean well south of the equator, or perhaps coastal Western Australia if they’re lucky (desert, bushfires…. but at least you’d be on dry land).

    @Jocelyn: Your story reminds me of an old guy I met on the platform of Paremata train station not long before I first came to China. We got to chatting – he was one of these old school Kiwi blokes happy to shoot the breeze with whoever he happened to be sharing a bench with, not one of these modern day city slickers who wouldn’t give you the time of day even if you offered to pay them for it – and I mentioned I’d soon be moving to China. His reaction was just as much “What on earth would you do that for?” as the elderly woman you met, but he then went on to paint a picture of China that came straight out of newsreels from 1966. I thought, fine, but that was a long time ago and all the news reports these days suggest China is changing very rapidly, so I’m kinda looking forward to the adventure. Then my train came, we wished each other the best of luck, and went our separate ways.

    More generally, it depends largely where you’re from and where you’re headed to. New Zealand has a tradition called OE (Overseas Experience) in which 20-somethings spend a few years working and travelling abroad, and a very large diaspora. Of course, most Kiwis head first to Australia, then North America or Europe, and, as I’m sure Kath can attest, your average Kiwi remains woefully ignorant of Asia even though it’s so much closer to home than London. I don’t think you’d find too many Kiwis getting upset at their friends or family choosing to move to Australia, North America or Europe as that is almost expected. They certainly can get confused or surprised about different choices, like Asia, and a large part of that is their own ignorance. Likewise, I don’t think you’d find too many Irish people getting upset about their friends or family moving to the UK or North America, or even Australasia, for similar reasons.

    As for those Americans who’ve talked about family getting upset and even angry at your decision to leave… wow, that’s just incredible. I’m sorry you had to put up with that.

    I would argue that:
    a) Those who come from countries with traditions of expatriation have an easier time explaining their decision to leave simply because leaving is more ‘normal’.
    b) Those of us who go to ‘unusual’ places like Asia, especially developing countries or countries that only recently achieved ‘developed’ status have a harder time explaining our choice of destination. For one thing, we’re taking much greater risks and moving much further out of the cultural, linguistic, economic and environmental comfort zones we were raised in.

  14. Grace, actually I’m in Latin America. Where I live has better crime statistics than virtually all major US cities, but my family still won’t visit because they (and this is their wording) don’t want to have a gun held to their heads. Much of their prejudice comes from overblown media and sensationalist news stories.

    Henry, I don’t find it much different communicating between here and China than I did in the US, but I guess it depends on where in Latin America you are located. I can’t travel to another country on my visa status without returning to the US anyways, so going directly from here to China isn’t even an option. Fortunately for me, it’s a relatively quick trip back to the States to get flights to other countries. As far as cost of phone calls, texting, etc. goes, I suppose it depends entirely on your mobile plan. You can set up an online number, however, on Skype that will facilitate international calls at extremely low rates. Of course, if the other party has Skype, you can chat for free.

  15. I get puzzled looks a lot when I mention I am studying Chinese and spend part of this study in China. In those cases, almost always I can read the prejudice and ignorance in their eyes. Before I know it, I am defending China, even though I am critical about a lot of things when China is concerned. I guess shooting back the question sounds like a good idea. I should do that more often too. 😉

  16. Here is something interesting. I am a native Chinese. I always thought that China is a place where people don’t get much access to other countries. Plus holding a Chinese passport is so hard for you to travel overseas. But after traveling and living in Australia, Europe and South East Asia, I feel that I am more international than many foreigners who come from countries have better information accessibility.

    I was 17 when my parents sent me to Australia to study. I was on my own from the very first second after boarding for MU561. Many of my Chinese classmates and friends had the same experience. And they are now living and working in different countries. Visiting a friend in another country seems so normal as there is no better way to meet our friends. As my generation (born in 80s) started to enter the work force in China, it is almost inevitable that China will change her personality.

    20 years later, “Why Would You Want To Go To China?” may be rarely asked.

  17. I have been asked this question regarding my move to China, and my plan to stay here with my now-husband. But I also have been asked the same question regarding almost anywhere I’ve lived, no matter how close to home. I have high school classmates who have never moved away from our tiny hometown – my idea of a nightmare.
    I think we have to remember that there are different kinds of people in the world – those who are comfortable where they are and those who aren’t and go looking for something else. Neither group is wrong, because each have their own reasons for feeling that way, but it does seem that it’s tough for the two groups to truly understand each other.

  18. Me and my boyfriend are planing to go to China next year when I finish my degree We haven’t decided how long we are planing to stay there but a lot of my friends both Chinese and Irish have asked me Why do I want to go China?

    Well to be honest the main reason for me is I think both me and my boyfriend will have better career chances over there.

  19. “Me and my boyfriend are planing to go to China next year when I finish my degree We haven’t decided how long we are planing to stay there but a lot of my friends both Chinese and Irish have asked me Why do I want to go China?”

    I guess you are from Ireland and the way the economy is going over there you may stay in China (or elsewhere) for many years to come! Historically more people as a proportion of population migrate out of Ireland than any other country in the world including developing countries…there was one period when it was not the case…between 1995 and 2007! I dont think those days will easily return!

  20. People still question me about going to China. I tell them that I want to explore the world. Chongqing is where I want to go the most(I have a lot of friends whom live there, and I have people to stay with.)

    and then people ask, “Why Chongqing?”
    Because I want to go? haha~

    1. Well welcome to Chongqing if you ever get here. My wife is a local and of the past 5 years I’ve spent in China most of it has been in Chongqing. You’ll find it a much more sanitized version of the mountain city that I came to love all those years ago. The streets are cleaner (kinda) than they were, but then again a lot of the local style has been washed away as well.

  21. Hey there , sup? i jst have landed on ur article randomly. and somhow I’m a little bit stoked that u hve a chinese husband.
    btw, i’m woody wu, a uni student in New zealand. i jst noticed that so much asian girls go out with white guys, but not much asian guys got white girls? actually asian guy really like white girls( esp me, only like white girls , lol).

  22. When I was in college, I read a very convincing Terry Eagleton essay on this topic as it pertains to the Mid East. If they’re genuinely curious, they phrase the question as “Why China?” or “Why not [your cultural heritage/major in college/nation in the news].” He maintained that people who say this really mean “Why would you go to a country where you can’t date anyone?” but don’t want to sound racist.

    If I remember my Oxford English professor speak: “the ‘would you want’ is designed to promote the superiority of the in-group and shame the person whose individuality threatens it into silence.” Or something equally obtuse yet correct.

  23. Most people see China as a threat. The very view people have of China is almost exclusively based on what they watch in exotic movies and/or the news.

    In my years with my Chinese husband, I have been asked about geishas (?), about judo (?), about my husband’s penis, whether we’d through our kid away because she is a girl, they have warned me because my girl might get kidnapped, and worried that I may become a brainwashed communist.

    Sad but true.

  24. “about my husband’s penis”

    Boy they have the gall. My Indian friend used to say that his dad was always asked about which of his children did well in school when they lived in India and he used to think of all the gall these folks have. This is far worse!

    “whether we’d through our kid away because she is a girl, they have warned me because my girl might get kidnapped, and worried that I may become a brainwashed communist.”

    The ask the same thing from Indians…would you kill your baby if it were a girl? Another stereotype!

  25. @Chris – Very true. It’s kind of a given that young NZers will take take off for a year or two and head to mainly London or a part of Australia. Which is all good, but it does seem that it’s more unusual for them to land anywhere in Asia on a permanent basis. I wish they would, to be honest, living in these parts has so much to offer.

  26. @Kath “…it’s more unusual for them to land anywhere in Asia on a permanent basis. I wish they would, to be honest, living in these parts has so much to offer.”

    Very true, and I totally agree. Besides, why go to London when it’s full of Kiwis? Kinda drastically weakens all the cultural opportunities, I think. But that’s a rant for some other discussion.

  27. “It’s kind of a given that young NZers will take take off for a year or two and head to mainly London or a part of Australia. Which is all good, but it does seem that it’s more unusual for them to land anywhere in Asia on a permanent basis. I wish they would, to be honest, living in these parts has so much to offer.”

    The Aussies I met in Singapore and Malaysia are the most selfish folks I have seen. They have no problems crowding into Singapore to work in high paying jobs, but let Singaporeans ask them about working in Australia, they complain about overcrowding in Australia. Most of these folks supported Abbot in the last elections and wanted to restrict Asians working in Australia….hiding behind sustainability..but no problem overcrowding Singapore. LIke many they believe migration should be a one way street..but the Aussie attitudes (along with the Brits) are the worst when it comes to migration being a one way street!

  28. “Very true, and I totally agree. Besides, why go to London when it’s full of Kiwis? Kinda drastically weakens all the cultural opportunities, I think. But that’s a rant for some other discussion.”

    Only the mentally deranged will go to London when the Brits are coming to Asia as well…the white Brits who come to Hong Kong to seek employment are called FILTH…Failed in London try HongKong…more accurately it should be called LIFTH..London Is Failing Try HongKong!

  29. I get this a lot. people are shocked if I tell them I study chinese and lived in china for half a year. most of the time they are curious how i come to the idea to go so far away to a totally unknown part of the world which is oh so dangerous and they would never have the courage to go there. reminds me of this parody map about how americans see the world with unknown countries named with “here be dragons” only the german version (I live in germany). But I love their shocked expressions for some reason. I love the stares I egt when going out with an asian guy, coz then I can stare back at them and pity them on missing out on so many great expiriences! I always tell them, that living in beijing was the best thing I have done so far and I would have stayed there if I could.

  30. @Grace – I’m sorry if you have had negative experiences with some of the Australians you have met. I’m not Australian and I was talking about Kiwis but can I just offer at least one counterpoint. I work with am Australian gentleman who has been living in various parts of Asia for the last 20 years or so. The last 10 years he has been in Taiwan and he is fluent in Mandarin and is the absolute opposite of racist. There are many more like him. Please don’t characterise all Australians based on the few unfriendly ones you’ve met. I’m aware that not all Aussies are model citizens of the world but they’re certainly not all right-wing racists by any stretch of the imagination.

    The same goes for your comments about the Brits and London. How can any of us expect racism and stereotypes to decreases when both sides are just as guilty as the other. It’s not about us and them. No-one is better than anyone else because of their race.

  31. Know what…

    This is probably the most friendly site I’ve read from expats describing their lives in China (and anywhere else for that matter). Everyone has complaints here and there, but you all seem pretty understanding and accepting of many conditions. I sense plenty of 人情味 here.
    Kudos to you all.

    I am very curious. Is the friendly atmosphere I’m sensing due to the huge female presence on this blog?

    1. @Friend, I am so touched to hear you say that. Thanks. 🙂

      You know, even I am not sure if it is because this site attracts a lot of women. But whatever it is, I am grateful to have so many thoughtful people joining in the conversation — both men and women. It’s readers like you that make the site so great.

  32. “I’m aware that not all Aussies are model citizens of the world but they’re certainly not all right-wing racists by any stretch of the imagination.”

    No problem with being right wing racists or simply opposing immigration for environmental and green reasons, as long as they stay home and dont go abroad! By the way never said all Aussies are like that…even if they are like that, no problem if they stay home. What I oppose is a one way street…where Aussies who love to work abroad and want to work abroad, dont like foreigners working in their country. There are many Americans who dont want foreigners working in the US…but most wont go abroad to work under any circumstances!

  33. “The same goes for your comments about the Brits and London. How can any of us expect racism and stereotypes to decreases when both sides are just as guilty as the other.”
    When those going abroad for work will have the decency to afford and reciprocate the same privilege to their hosts. Obviously Brits working abroad who voted for Cameron and his ilk do not belong to this category. They believe in a one way street of privilege for themselves!

    “It’s not about us and them. No-one is better than anyone else because of their race.”

  34. Perhaps it was just a maternal instinct that she felt? No parent especially mothers cringe at the thought of their kids going away half way around the world!

    I do business in China so I obviously go there for the opportunity. But I can’t help thinking about how the Chinese real estate market is mirroring the speculative nature of the US real estate market which led to its collapse! It will be DECADES before the market here recover! How will Chinese gov. (essentially one party) respond? So far it looks like all the measures that they took to cool down the economy (thus real estate) hasn’t helped?

  35. I had an argument with a friend’s boyfriend recently… I told him I have been to China and also planning to return for work. His reaction was like, “What?! – Nooo, why would you do that.” It turned out that even though he has never visited China, he doesn’t like Chinese people because he has a couple of Chinese coworkers he doesn’t get along with. I replied that I met a lot of nice people in China, respectively in Shanghai, Beijing and other cities I have been to. He then stated: Bejing and Shanghai “are not China” and the people living there are not the “real” Chinese.

    I wondered, is there some kind of hierachy of “Chineseness”? It wasn’t the first time I encounter this argument and I find it pretty ridiculous. Still, I don’t know how to react to it…

  36. @Mali
    this is ridiculous. of course they are as chinese as they can be. most of the people I met in beijing were from all the different provinces in china who came to beijing to study and no one has even been to other countries.

  37. “He then stated: Bejing and Shanghai “are not China” and the people living there are not the “real” Chinese. ”

    And you are a gf of this guy?

  38. I won’t say he’s a friend, just my friends boyfriend. She occasionally brings him along. The point he wanted to make is, people from big cities are more open-minded and “westernized”, while most of the Chinese population is not. What bothers me is the Eurocentrism (since we’re both from Europe) – like, why would you want to understand or even go to a country where they’re not like us.

  39. Do you guys know that even an educated person knows nothing about other countries? That’s why we have so many issues like this. If you haven’t been to those countries, how can assume things.

  40. hello, dear heart great ah, i am a country in pakistan my name is anjum i am age 25 years old, i do not work in pakistan i want to go out china CV you i know what say i like play you try , thank you goodbye

  41. if it’s possible, i want to go everywhere on earth, every planet in the solar system, the galaxy, the universe, i will meet every people in the planet and have a conversation with him/her; i want to meet a real alien… so “y do u want to go china?” because i want to go china to and i can go to china.

  42. Well I think moving to China is fine for two young, single people. A permanent move however seems a little short-sighted. Me and the missus are about to welcome to the world our first child and as soon as we knew about the little guy’s existence we had to start planning our return to Australia. Sending him to an international school would be too expensive, even though we have well paying jobs. And even the “better” or “best” Chinese schools aren’t much better than the rote filled factories that their contemporaries are (I work at one)
    Things change and situations change as well, making a move isn’t bad, or the wrong choice. Good luck with your arrival, wish you the best.

  43. We’ve been living in China for 13 years and are ready to leave. We’ve definitely had lots of great experiences here and have made some great friends with local people.

    Nevertheless, there are a number of reasons that we no longer wish to live here. One reason is the terrible quality of life compared to more developed countries. One example is the air pollution in the cities, e.g. Beijing and Shanghai air is terrible and when locals and expats have to send their children to school wearing masks because the air is so bad, that says a lot about quality of life, or lack thereof.

    Another reason many people are leaving China is the complete lack of any type of customer-service orientated thinking on the part of many, many Chinese people. I’ve met expats from many different countries who, like ourselves, have been doing business in China for a long time and are tired (fed up) with the constant hassles encountered when trying to conduct business with locals. Many expats feel the frustration involved is not worth it.

    A third reason we have had enough of China is the complete lack of any sense of pride in wanting to do a quality job of anything here. Sure, China is building like crazy, but the workmanship here is absolutely terrible. You see it everywhere, including in the most modern and supposedly highest quality buildings, malls, etc. Brand new skyscrapers and five-star shopping malls where the quality is so poor that one heavy rain and there are leaks everywhere.

    You may feel there are great opportunities to be had in terms of your careers, but there’s a lot more to having a quality life than just making career progress and/or making money; getting ahead.

    Having clean air to breath, not being constantly surrounded by people who are pushing and shoving to be the first one on the subway train when it arrives, enjoying quality craftsmanship/work, these are all things that contribute to the quality of one’s life. Oh yeah, and cleanliness, something that people in general here know nothing about, is important too.

    So, I suppose there are a lot of reasons why someone would choose not to move to China and why many expats who have lived here are leaving. By the way, a majority of Chinese, if they had the means, would love to get out of China too.

  44. China sux a$$. It is just the worst.

    I literally just walked half a block from the station to my home in an affluent part of Shanghai. Here is what I encountered:

    – Three racial slurs from my waiters whispered behind my back.
    – Cafe patio man barking a racial slur but pretending to be deep in conversation (they are not half as sly as they think they are – but they often do pretend not to even notice you, while peripherally hanging on your EVERY MOVE and updating their comrades accordingly).
    – Racial slur exiting the plaza by homosexual hanging out at the main door, where the next door hotel runs a prostitution ring in a major shopping area.
    – Crossing the street, some nimrod barks hello to my back.
    – Past another cafe, two guys talking, one alerts the other of a racial slur coming.
    – Down the sidewalk, two city-dwelling peasants (yes, literally) discuss my country of origin (sorry world, it’s always “America”).
    – The gate guard was busy helping someone and neglected my daily racial slur to my back. He’ll make up for it tomorrow I am certain.
    – Amateur in an economy car burns through the residential community, sideswipes me with his mirror. Does not slow down even a bit.
    – Racial slur indicating I’m entering the building lobby.
    -Mother and infant on elevator, grandmother boxes us in with her stroller. Holding the baby, repeats racial slur 20 times in baby voice.
    -Elevator arrives, Grandma watches doors open and leaves stroller fully blocking elevator and is actually surprised and put upon someone is trying to get off.
    -One more slur for the road.

    Now, in any other country, this would sound paranoid, I quite agree. But this is walking half a block in Shanghai, each and every day without fail; a kind of passive aggressive “water torture” the male population, usually, has for anyone piquing their institutionalized inferiority/superiority complex. Mind you, this little list marks only 5 minutes of my 10-12 hour day in the city, in which this experience DOES NOT STOP. And it’s not just a case of “you happen to be named a racial slur.” These slurs are uttered with the emotional content of spite for the benefit of the hearer.

    Now, I’m not even getting into the filth, pollution, constant dishonesty, smarmy obsequiousness and ill will, and of course deeper threats of lawlessness and such. I’m saying, Chinese make China as unpleasant an experience as they can for each other any anyone else. Of course not everyone! But when you pass 10 people a minute and EVERY male slurs you, well, something is wrong in China.

    The ironic thing, of course, is that all they are really doing is cementing their own inferiority complexes. Which is fine by me.

    But if you are on the fence about visiting China, I really suggest almost anywhere will be a nicer place to visit. China is hard. Those who have “fun” are the same who can blithely walk past a beggar gashing his own leg for a scam, or someone taken in by night club lighting. If you’re a photographer – super. Ok. If you’re just some person looking for a decent job and a decent lifestyle – PASS. China is a nonstop headache filled with secondhand smoke and brain pollution, and the electric scooters are zipping headlong around corners without a care for what may be around it.

    China is a passive aggressive craphole.

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