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.
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.
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!