As Some Scale Heights of Chinese Luxury, A “Rat Tribe” of Millions Lives Underground

This article also appears in The Atlantic, a Tea Leaf Nation partner site. Carrie Bradshaw, lead character of HBO’s “Sex and the C…


Real estate in China is worrying.

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Where do they find these people?

One of the new Australian teachers had some family commitments in December so she took the job with the understanding that she’d be away from Dec 2nd – 29th. Her substitute from New Zealand has arrived and is something else. He’s sort of like the American information systems teacher who was a bull in a china shop always looking for “action.”

A couple of us met the sub when he lumbered into a family run dumpling restaurant we frequent. We invited him to sit with us. He pulled out his bottle of fire water and joined us. He shared his drink, which was 35% alcohol and while it smelled nice, burned as it went down.  Fire water indeed.

He then went on to regale us with stories of his adventures, e.g. bribing border police in Myanmar, almost getting shot there, etc. He also explained how to get around China’s visa regulations. He’s here on an M visa. I asked what that was and he explained it’s a merchant visa. Since he’s over 50 and has been in China more than 5 years, he couldn’t get a work or teaching visa. Thus he used an agency to get the M visa. It’s all quite questionable. You pay God-knows-what and they send your passport to the US. Mind you he’s still in China, but I suppose if he had to present a passport, he’d say he lost his. No doubt someone in the US bribes someone to make this visa or to not look to closely at the paperwork. Then they send it back to you.

The problem is there’s no exit stamp that shows you went to the US. And there’s no entry and exit stamps from the U.S. I asked about that and he said the airport staff don’t make a big deal about that. With a merchant visa you have to leave every 90 days and so he often goes to Laos.

It really bugs me that the school plays along with this and that the agency that hires him does. Their representative told one of our better teachers that it would be impossible for her to stay due to these visa issues. Now she might not have gone along with this M visa business, but Yucai clearly lied when they said they couldn’t help her get a visa.

Another anecdote:

When the sub came, Mr. N from Yucai came to see he settled in and to have a staff meeting. He is a ninny whose teaching ability is mediocre. Mr N. was rambling on about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a general concept most people learned years ago in high school or college, certainly nothing new. Then he asked, “How can we motivate our students?”

The sub responded: “How about Tasars?

They work on the sheep back home.”


Another Worker

Im rather smitten with these cheery worker propaganda posters from China. This was at the National Art Museum of China.


I find these worker posters charming.

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Evicting holdout households is often a sordid affair | The World of Chinese

holdout households unwilling to leave their homes on new developments are often subject to a campaign of bullying and violence


I tend to get sentimental about this sort of thing. Another block is gone down the road. Another nondescript group of high rises will replace it. My sympathies tend to lie with the holdouts.


When 80% of the ghost towns are occupied, then knock down the next neighborhood.

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Learning Overseas | The World of Chinese

A newly released report suggests that now 80% of China’s rich plan to send their children abroad for their education.


I wonder what the impact will be. Will they return to the Motherland? Will returnees be sidelined as Japanese returnees are. Since there are 1.3 billion people, do the superrich have much influence overall?

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Beijing Bans Smoking in Public Spaces

Beijing has adopted a smoking ban in all indoor public spaces including workplaces and public transport. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that the ban will go into effect in the capital city of 21 million people on June 1 and carry a fine of up to 200 yuan ($32.50). The Standing…


You could have fooled me. Yes, there’s a law. Enforcement? No evidence of that.

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Song swooning over presidential couple goes viral in China

A video singing the praises of the “legendary” romance between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan has gone viralChristmas appe…


China’s adding a touch of romance to how its leaders are perceived.

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