Offbeat China

Jul 25


Women-only extra-wide pink parking spaces in China

Women-only extra-wide pink parking spaces in China

World’s Biggest Water Bugs Found in Sichuan, China

World’s Biggest Water Bugs Found in Sichuan, China

Jul 24


Alligator kebab anyone? RMB 20 yuan for one. Freshly cut. 

Alligator kebab anyone? RMB 20 yuan for one. Freshly cut. 

Jul 22


What food safety? When in China, Do as the Chinese do

Operations at Shanghai Husi Food have been suspended by local health authorities on Sunday after reports that this US-owned factory has been reprocessing expired and discarded meat to extend its shelf life.

Husi was supplying meat to KFC, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s and many other US fast food chains in China. Since Sunday, most of these chains have issued announcements that they‘ve halted all uses of Husi supplies in their stores across China.

Food safety has been a hot-button issue in China in recent years, and national scandals of tainted or toxic food hit news headlines frequently. Part of the reason why many US food chains are extremely popular in China is the assumption that they have better food safety due to better quality control. In fact, higher-quality food offers have been part of their marketing pitches in China. Will the current scandal change the deal? Very unlikely.

Full list of brands impacted by the scandal According to reports from Beijing, lines outside KFC and McDonald’s stores are still long, and empty tables are still hard to find as of Monday. When one custom was asked about why he still ate at McDonald’s after the expired meat scandal, he answered:

“Food safety issues are a fact of life in China. McDonald’s is at least better than Chinese restaurants of similar kind.”

Indeed, comparing to poisonous rice or toxic chemical soaked vegetables, expired meat sounds like the lesser of many evils.

What’s more interesting, many Chinese netizens actually side with these fast food brands, saying they are but trying to fit into a culture that is filled with food safety scandals. The question of why these brands dare to use expired meat in China, but not back in their home countries or in other markets keeps coming up.

While the Chinese media are hyping about the irresponsibility of “these foreign food chains,” many Chinese netizens think that someone else should take the blame.

“If KFC alone has food safety issues in China, then there must be something wrong with KFC. If McDonald’s alone has food safety issues in China, then there must be something wrong with McDonald’s. But if KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Subway, Burger King and Starbucks all have food safety issues in China, and only in China, then there must be something wrong with China.” One netizen bitterly commented.

Many joked that it’s like the pot calling the kettle back for China to call out food safety problems at foreign food chains. They believe that a general lack of food safety regulations and the absence of effective and proper supervision are at the root of the problem.

The current scandal was exposed by journalists who went undercover for 2 months. Many netizens couldn’t help but ask: “Where is China’s FDA?”

At the end of the day, Chinese consumers are still going to vote by their feet. “I will continue to eat at McDonald’s or KFC. At least I’ve never had diarrhea after eating there – that’s something even the cafeteria at my university fails to achieve.” One netizen commented.    

Jul 21


Jul 18

Happy Friday! Enjoy this 112-meter long pork kebab cooked by 70 chefs from Russian and China 

Happy Friday! Enjoy this 112-meter long pork kebab cooked by 70 chefs from Russian and China 

Jul 17


Wall propaganda 2.0: The new face of Chinese villages

Walls (of any construction) in China’s villages used to be billboards for the government to promote its many policies, especially the one-child policy, in the absence of a better channel. Slogans that boost the benefits of population control and the use of contraception are very commonly seen in rural China. In today’s Chinese villages, however, wall slogans serve a new master.

“Rushing about away from home doesn’t beat doing Taobao at home.” Such goes a wall slogan in one little village in the coastal province of Shandong.
“Need sales leads? Contact Baidu.” There goes another one in another village.
“To make a good living, get on Taobao immediately.” Yet another one.


Taobao, C2C site under China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, has made a lot miracles in China, one of which is the empowerment of the country’s rural population with easy-to-set-up online businesses. E-commerce has not only brought convenience and cheap products to China’s urban dwellers, but also an important stream of income to many rural residents.

As of 2013, there are officially 20 “Taobao villages” in China. To be on the list, at least 10% of the village’s households need to be operating online stores, and the total annual village e-commerce revenue must exceed $1.6 million.

The proliferation of e-commerce, or rather, Internet economy, to China’s rural areas has implications that go beyond the mere economics.

First of all, e-commerce provides an easy retreat for those who don’t want to leave their rural hometowns, such as those farmers who’ve lost their lands during the country’s accelerating urbanization, and for those who want to go back to their rural hometowns after being squeezed out of China’s huge, heavily-polluted and super expensive big cities.

Secondly, an enriched rural population plus logistic networks extended to villages may speed up China’s transition to a consumer economy from the current development model that heavily replies on government investment and exports.

Slogans exhorting the one-child policy have stuck on the walls of Chinese villages for decades before gradually fading away. In its place, China’s tech companies have painted a new future for rural China, but it’s going to be tough. The majority of China’s over 600 million Internet users are urban. In a country with 1.3 billion people, there’s a lot more to cover. 

"Accumulating wealth depends on hard work. Preserving wealth depends on shopping at


 "To get rich, build roads first. To shop, search on Baidu first.” 


"Operate an online store at home. Keep perfect balance between work and family.” 


Jul 15


There are more pigs in China (428 million) than humans in the U.S. and Russia combined.

Jul 14


Jul 11