Updated frequently, China Hush is a comprehensive blog about greater China issues that appeal to a wide audience including a lot of Chinese high quality content translated into English.
The site’s original intent was to create a community with a common interest in China and is a good resource for connecting with expats and Chinese across the country. Many of the posts are selected from Chinese websites, blogs and BBS sites and translated into English so that users who cannot read Chinese can also access the best of the PRC online.
Some of the selected stories are current news items; some are shocking, sad or inspiring; and others cover controversial issues or show cultural differences. Some are also just humourous and purely for entertainment and amusement. China Hush shows a different perspective, enabling foreigners to learn about Chinese cultures, lifestyles, trends, what Chinese people are talking about, and the latest memes in China.
A few of China Hush’s most popular articles include:
Notes from Xi’an
Written from the perspective of a British man living with his Chinese wife and daughter in Shaanxi’s bustling capital city, Notes from Xi’an captures life in China from a unique voice and perspective.
Xi’an-related articles are of particular use to any foreigners relocating to Shaanxi province. The Coffee Shop Listings are also a nice resource; find good places to get a cup of coffee in the city, not always the easiest thing to locate in the PRC.
NFX is also a fantastic source for finding China-related websites, blogs, and city guides online in the China Web Links section. Find links to mainstream news outlet, China-focused news sites, commentary on the country, regional/cultural/creative sites, popular expat blogs, podcasts/lectures, language sites, and links to English-language press.
The archive, organized in calendar format, features some interesting reads: Xi’an-ese culture and dialect, the language learning process, leadership transitions in China, Christmas in Xi’an, getting pick-pocketed, and other insightful reads.
Since its inception in 2006, Lost Laowai has been providing no-nonsense information and commentary on China through articles, news and discussion posts. The website has been made for and is maintained by a group of expats in the PRC with a deep interest in their new home and as such promotes the idea of sharing thoughts and experiences to learn more about China.
Articles are organized by several categories: arts & entertainment, which includes items like fashion, food, health, film, photos, fiction; Chinese culture, politics, business, and law; a “learning Chinese” section which details some useful apps; and noteworthy, interesting news.
Of particular interest is the Expat Stuff section. This details advice (everything from visa issues and using squat toilets to getting an abortion and “China life hacks”), expat rants, warnings for what to do/not to do as a foreigner in the Middle Kingdom, interviews with foreigners working in different industries, and information on teaching English as a second language.
The “Bad Laowai” section provides some humorous news items on what hijinks foreigners have been involved in and how Chinese have responded. Find stories like “foreigner deafens doctor, trashes hospital and slaughters innocent fish” and “Canadian loses it in a train ticket office” and learn how to completely disrespect a different culture.
Shenzhen Party is all about events: what is happening in and around the fast-growing metropolis of Shenzhen.
The numerous, up-to-date events are laid out with images and brief descriptions, and are categorized as either Upcoming or Regular. One of the main featured events is the wine and cheese club which is sponsored largely by SZ Party. A great feature, under the events header as well, is the photo gallery section, displaying high-res, updated pictures from the most recent functions. These are sorted by date and event name and are well organized.
SZ Party is not strictly limited to events and nightlife. The apartment rental section is a good resource as it details locations by district, cost and contact details and can put prospective renters in touch with landlords/owners directly. The Guide to Shenzhen is also useful and contains a great number of articles, featuring topics such as business etiquette in China, choosing a nanny (“ayi”), Shenzhen business hours, getting a driver’s license, banking security, local festivals and traditions, and many more. There are also articles on local tourist attractions, a coffee shop guide, nightlife information, and handy little write-up on taxi costs to different districts. One thing to bear in mind is that many of the articles were written in 2011 and China is one of the most rapidly changing countries in the world.
Irreverent, sometimes shocking, and always entertaining, chinaSMACK is one of my favourite resources for finding Chinese news and information online.
One of chinaSMACK’s best features is its translations of comments and debate occurring on China’s largest message boards/forums/social networking sites. This is a great way to find out what Chinese are feeling and thinking about what is happening in their country. It also allows foreigners to weigh in with their opinions and encourages discussion and commentary on news they would not have otherwise read about.
Stories range from corruption with officials, price hikes, strange deaths, rioting, sex scandals, government criticism, overseas Chinese, land-use rights, and so much more. There are also frequent posts of the most popular songs in China along with lyrics posted in Chinese, English, and pinyin. Popular photos being passed around by Chinese netizens are also posted along with explanations.
Often shut down or censored by the Chinese government due to its at times controversial posts, chinaSMACK is a good way to understand the culture, social issues, and growing pains of the PRC.
A glossary of Chinese internet language and slang is an interesting read and provides insight into the minds of China’s online generation.
Upon first glance, Wuhan Expat is not the most beautiful, easily-navigable of websites, however it is one of the only resources for expats or those interested in relocating to Hubei province’s capital city. The site contains a lot of basic, general information for newcomers to the city, including information like how to purchase a phone sim card, how to get Internet access, a brief list of international schools, and other helpful snippets. Be warned: some of the details are outdated (eg. photos from events in 2005).
Worth a look is the Sightseeing section, which lists many of the scenic and tourist attractions around the city along with descriptions, how to get there, and a few images. Again, I am not certain how up-to-date this information is, but it does provide a good overview on Wuhan.
The most active, current component of the site is the forum and jobs sections. These both have fairly frequent posts, discussions and updated details on what is happening around the city. The jobs forum is dominated by ESL teaching positions and seems to have a lot of repeat posters, which may indicate some dodgy recruiters.
China Elevator Stories
In China, it’s the little things that will make your day. It could be a conversation with a stranger in an elevator. Or in a cab. Or on a bus. On the metro. On a train. In a street side restaurant. In the supermarket. On the street. In public toilets. Or in other words, just anywhere you can imagine. China Elevator Stories captures these snippets of life in China and helps to communicate some of the culture and lives of everyday people.
The author of the site is an Austrian woman living in Shenzhen, married to a Chinese man, and publishes her stories of chats with locals three times a week. These conversations are sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always well-written and indicative of what living in China is truly like. This is social and cultural commentary in its purest form.
“Daye [uncle] is still waiting for me to raise my glass. If it was only raising a glass! While you raise your glass, you also have to say a line that goes something like that: “Daye, I show you my respect (大爷, 我敬你).” I really don’t know how to do this.
When daye sees that I’m still not moving, he tells his sister-in-law: “I’m in a bad mood.”
She: “Just drop it. She doesn’t understand how this works.”