Moving to China
China was already the world's largest company by population before it landed the 2008 Olympics, but that global celebration of sport really moved the country to the forefront of the world's recognition, even moving
onto the world stage in recent years with stellar economic growth.
The People's Republic of China is the third largest country in the world and the most populous. Located in eastern Asia and on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean, China is bordered by Afghanistan, Bhutan, Burma, India, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia (northeast), Russia (northwest), Tajikistan and Vietnam. Its regional borders are Hong Kong and Macau.
Immigration, Nationality and Citizenship
The Chinese visa authorities issue several types of visas which are issued according to certain criteria, such as purpose of visit to China, passport type, etc. The ordinary visa consists of the following categories:
Visa L is issued to foreigners coming to China for tourism purposes or to visit family members. Regular tourists are required to show proof they are able to finance the trip, including all expenses while in China. When coming to visit family members, you may be required to present a written invitation from the relatives you are planning to visit.
Visa F is a business or student visa, and requires a letter from the inviting party and your visa notification letter issued by an authorized organization.
Visa D is a resident visa for foreigners who plan to settle permanently in China. You must apply for a permanent residence confirmation, either yourself or through your relative in China. This is done through the exit-and-entry department of the public security bureau in the city or county in which you plan to take up residence.
Visa G is a transit visa for foreigners traveling via China to other countries.
Visa X is issued for students coming to China for a period of six months or longer. The requirements for issuance are presentation of your application form for overseas students to China, proof of admission and physical examination record for foreigners.
Visa Z is for foreigners coming to China to work. You will need to present an Employment License of the People's Republic of China for foreigners and a visa notification letter from an authorized company.
Visa C is issued to crewmembers on trains, airplanes, ships, etc., and to their accompanying family members.
Visa J-1 is issued to foreign journalists that permanently reside in China.
Visa J-2 is issued to foreign journalists on short assignments in China.
It is possible for a foreigner to become a permanent resident of China, subject to meeting various criteria. If you are interested in this possibility you will need to approach the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country to determine whether you and your family members might be eligible to apply for the Permanent Resident Permit.
Note that Beijing and Shanghai have special immigrant requirements. If you are planning to settle in either city, you are advised to research these requirements beforehand at the Chinese embassy or consulate in your home country, since changes are being made to the current regulations.
Communications and Media
China's internet domain: .cn
China's international Access code: +86
Infrastructure/Transportation in China
China understands that it cannot advance its infrastructure if it does not concentrate on investing and supporting the upkeep and construction of new highways to link urban and rural areas and to connect the important cities. This process has been underway for several years, and China now boasts over a million kilometers of fine highways and thousands of kilometers of expressways which meet the criteria of modern transportation standards. Construction is being completed to link Beijing and Shanghai to over 200 cities throughout China with highways and expressways. The aim is to have a network of expressways linking all major cities and important counties. Half of the projects in the National Expressway Network Plan, which was approved in 2005, are already in the course of construction.
China’s rail transport volume is immense and by far the largest in the world. In the past ten years it has invested hugely in the improvement of the system, opening thousands of kilometers of new railways and laying down multiple track and electrified railways. The speed of the express trains has increased significantly, with speeds reaching 160 km per hour, and on some sections, the passenger trains can travel as fast as 200 km per hour.
China has paid great attention to promoting its many coastal ports, adopting the most modern methods of freight handling; its container facilities are among the finest in the world. Imports and exports of coal, grain, iron ore, crude oil, etc., are vital to the economic wellbeing of a nation, so China ensures that its ports are at the forefront of promoting a healthy economy.
2008 Olympic Games
China's capital, Beijing, was host to the 2008 Olympic Games, along with six other Chinese cities - Hong Kong; Qingdao, Shandong; Qinhuangdao, Hebei; Shanghai; Shenyang, Liaoning; and Tianjin. After winning the bid to host the 2008 Olympics, China immediately embarked on an elaborate plan in order to successfully undertake this huge project. Many of the individual projects are expected to continue development long after the Games are over. They include infrastructure expansions and improvements – by year 2020, Beijing's subway system will have hundreds of kilometers of tracks and will consist of 19 lines in total.
There is also a plan to introduce new and improved trains and a better signal system. In order to draw commuters to the subway, ticket prices have been significantly reduced. However, this move has caused highly congested subway stations and now much of the traffic remains on the roads, as people shy away from the jam-packed trains. Other infrastructure projects include the completion of Beijing's light rail system, fixing city streets, and building a new airport terminal at the Beijing International Airport.
Many new sports facilities and venues for a wide range of events have been constructed or refurbished and will continue to serve their purpose well after the completion of the Games.
During 2006-2010, Beijing will experience a face-lift through the restoration of historic sites, including the Forbidden City, and demolition of neglected and rundown buildings in the city.
Many billions of US Dollars are being spent towards "digitalizing" Beijing by the opening of the 2008 Olympic Games.
Beijing's air pollution situation poses a great environmental challenge, and China has launched a plan to try to tackle this situation at the investment of $12 billion.
China is the most heavily populated country in the world. There are also a large number of Chinese living in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. When you visit China and mingle with the populace, it is helpful to understand a few of their friendly customs. They may address each other as “Comrade”, but nowadays it is more common to use the terms Mr., Madam or Miss.
As young people will not address their elders by name only, they will use the term for Senior before the name. It is not acceptable for people to embrace or kiss in public, and hand-shaking is not popular everywhere. It is preferable to use the traditional form of greeting, cupping one hand in the other on your chest when greeting a friend. They like to nod and wave as gestures of friendship, and if you meet a Chinese friend on the street you should not think it unusual if you are asked how old you are, or what your plans are. These queries are simply a sign of warmth and friendship.
Climate in China
China is a country of enormous size so it stands to reason that the climate varies dramatically in the various regions of the country. In general, it is characterized by a continental monsoon climate. The winters are dry and very cold, and summers hot and humid. The summer rainfall differs in various parts of the country and can be very heavy in some areas and much lighter in others.
Cost of Living in China
When the Peoples Republic of China was established in 1949, the country was very poor and not advanced. However, the State has made enormous and successful efforts to improve the economy and prosperity of both the rural and urban areas of this vast socialist country. It is now encouraging sectors that are private and foreign-funded as well as self-employment. Development in industry and trade and progress in the fields of education, public health and sporting activities have helped towards raising the standard of living in China. None the less, China still has a way to go in many areas to be on a level playing field with developed countries, particularly in the field of science and technology.
The vast population of the country makes it difficult to achieve a high gross national product per capita. However, by inviting foreign skilled workers and foreign investment into China, it is well on its way to establishing a successful socialist country without losing its individuality. Of course China is susceptible to the worldwide decline in economy, and the onset of 2008 saw the government taking measures to fight inflation and cope with escalating consumer prices. (Consumer Price Index increased from 6.5 percent in December 2007 to 7.1 percent in January 2008). China also needed to address the damage caused to vast areas and numerous private properties by harsh snowstorms that hit eastern and central China at the beginning of 2008. It is likely to suffer severe economic depression if faced with more of the severe weather which pervades the area.
Living Locations / Key Cities
Located in the northern part of the North China Plain, Beijing is the capital of the People's Republic of China. The climate is continental monsoon with four distinct seasons, and the average annual rainfall is 630 millimeters. The air quality in Beijing is extremely low, and as mentioned before in this article, China is keen to try and improve this environmental condition. Beijing is a modern city which serves as a political, international, and cultural hub.
Dalian is located on the southern tip of the Liaodong Peninsula. The climate here is pleasant, with mild winters and summers. Dalian is dominated by its green landscape and cleanliness. The predominant industries are software and information, and out of 600 companies, 200 are foreign.
Chengdu, also called "the country of heaven" is located in southwest China amidst a beautiful mountainous landscape setting. This city boasts a laid-back lifestyle, and with time on your hands you can spend hours in one of the 3,000 tea-houses in this city and have a pleasant and relaxed afternoon.
Education in China
China has done much to improve education. One means has been to encourage the growth of private schools to supplement the government schools. Many of the private schools have partnered with foreign institutions, and this has led to the influx of foreign universities. This influx of foreign learning has enriched China’s resources in education, and now there are new avenues open to students who wish to engage in further studies. China makes great efforts to ensure the best possible education for all disabled people.
There are numerous establishments for training and rehabilitating the disabled, and there is a special emphasis on enabling children with disabilities and special needs to proceed in due course to ordinary schools of higher learning. In 1996, the Law on Vocational Education came into play. It was understood that vocational education should be a tool to provide a skilled labor force to help with the modernization and restructuring of the countryside and moving towards urbanization. The vocational education institutions are geared towards training students to become part of a work force which will man the manufacturing and service industries. The Central Government has also paid special attention to the needs of the very poor western area counties and established over 100 vocational schools in this area.
Learning the Language
Mandarin is the official language of China and is known as the "common language". However there are numerous other dialects and minority languages. Since the late 1970’s it has been common practice to use the “Pinyan” method of spelling names and places in Roman characters. Although different languages are spoken in different parts of the country, most of the Chinese use exactly the same writing system of Chinese characters.
The beautiful forms of Chinese characters have evolved over many centuries, and the Chinese are rightly proud of their artistic calligraphy. If you are planning to visit China, your knowledge of even a few words of Mandarin will be appreciated by your hosts. It is claimed that if you acquire recognition of approximately 3000 characters, you will even be able to partially understand a newspaper article.