Things that worry me in China

I’ve been living in China for over a year (cumulatively) and there are some things that I and other foreigners worry about. I don’t worry about them on a daily basis, but they are things that kind of linger in the back of my mind.

How bad is the pollution today?

China is very polluted, there’s air and water pollution all across the country, and the weather forecast often tells you the Air Quality Index of which city you’re in. Except, there is a large difference between what the Chinese government says, and the USA (who also have weather/pollution monitors set up in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou) says.

A very foggy afternoon in Qingdao

Is this food safe to eat?

Food safety isn’t regarded as highly in China as it is in other countries. At home, restaurants have a 5 star health and safety rating, and they’re usually always 4 or 5. In China, there is an ABC rating, along with a green, yellow or red face that’s either happy, apathetic or sad. I’ve only ever seen two green A ratings in China, one in a hospital canteen and one in a Japanese restaurant. All the rest have been C’s, meaning the way they prepare food isn’t very sanitary. But I still eat in these places, because there’s no other choice, and the locals all do it too.

Sometimes they try and hide it


Is this real?

Similar to the food, there are a lot of fake products in China, electrical goods, alcohol, luxury brands, even money can be faked. I bought a dictionary online and after using it for a few weeks, I realised that some of the pages were printed incorrectly, and the quality of the paper is not consistent. Fake products are cheaper and sometimes are just as good, but for example when I bought my router, I didn’t know if it would be ok or trip the electrics (luckily it didn’t).

Will the police take me away?

I have a lot of respect for the police in any country, but something scares me about the police in China. I don’t know where it’s come from, but there is this fear that at any moment, the police could knock down my door, confiscate my laptop and arrest me for using a vpn or something.

Is my phone tapped? Is someone listening to/watching me?

Phone tapping and governments screening people’s emails etc is no new thing, it happens all over the world. But I’m worried someone is listening to me sometimes, especially when I say negative things about certain stuff, if you get me.

Don’t think I’m paranoid, I’m sure lots of people living in China worry about these things too. And it’s ok, because I’m leaving soon!


One thought on “Things that worry me in China

  1. For the pollution, you can download an app called Asia Air Quality. The index is always higher that what my Xiaomi government approved phone app says. However, we often have to get out of the house even in the air is bad… but it’s good to know how bad it is.

    RE the police and tapped phones, I have honestly never been worried about that. Police doesn’t seem very interested in us (as long as we don’t do anything crazy). I don’t know anyone who has been falsely detained or accused or anything. I do know of a guy who was caught by the police after staying in China without a visa for 3 years. He totally had it coming… And tapped phones… I’m afraid I’m not that interesting, haha. All foreigners (and many Chinese) use vpn and are against many things or have unapproved opinions and it is fine. As long as you don’t try to organize a pro human rights demonstration on the city center or something like that.

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