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Slowing Economy and Discrimination Puts Brakes on African Immigration to Guangzhou

Posted: 11/24/2014 4:18 pm

africans guangzhouGuangzhou, labelled by one local publication as China’s “Chocolate City” (pdf), appears to be much less attractive to African immigrants these days. The fewest number of Africans arrived in Guangzhou last year than at any time in the past 10 years, just as government policies make it harder for Africans to stay.

There’s been a 30 to 40 percent annual increase in the number of African immigrants to the city from 2003 to 2012 or so, a pattern that slowed drastically last year. While no official number was released, it is said to be a sizable difference from the peak between 2006 and 2010.

The drop is directly attributed to a cooling of the economic “gold rush” and a slowing economy. Between 2002 and 2007, trade between China and Africa expanded seven-fold, a time in which China became Africa’s second largest trading partner.

READ: African Expats Fight to Stay in Guangzhou as Policies Tighten

However, African migrants say discriminatory government policies and prejudicial attitudes from locals have made it difficult for Africans to stay and live in Guangzhou. Last year, the Chinese central government passed the Exit-Entry Administration Law that now requires expats to return to their home nations to renew their visas instead of doing so at intermediary destinations like Hong Kong. While US and Australian citizens may be enjoying a recent lifting of visa restrictions, citizens of African countries are stuck with an unsympathetic bureaucracy.

Kuala, a Congonese national that has lived in China for 15 years, explains his frustration:

In applying for the visa, I was told that because my wife is from Yunnan, we would need to go back to where her hukou is registered; in registering in Yunnan, I was told to go back to where my residence is located…

Ali (a pseudonym), a foreign exchange student from the Congo, describes the high cost of living in China:

I am a foreign exchange student, and each year it costs RMB 9,000 to get my visa, a total cost of RMB 36,000 over four years that I depend upon my parents to pay for. Foreigners in China are forbidden to work (without the proper accreditation). I can’t say that I’ve ever worked in China.

But even as the African community has built itself into a vibrant community in Guangzhou, trust and acceptance between Africans and locals has not kept pace.

READ: Guangzhou Home to Largest African Expat Population in Asia, Many Illegal

Li Zhigang, a professor at Zhongshan University, published a 2008 report saying 83 percent of local residents prefer not to live in the same neighborhood as “black people”. At the same time, 70 percent of Africans are not willing to live in the same neighborhoods as Chinese.

Members of the African community say they are discriminated against, noting many taxi drivers refuse to pick them up. Whatever the reason for falling immigration, it looks like fewer Africans and Chinese will have to live near each other in the future.


Photo: Yangcheng Evening Report


China’s Walter White Is Breaking Bad in Guangzhou

Posted: 11/20/2014 11:00 am

Liao’s meth lab in Guangzhou

Did anyone know that China had a real-life Walter White, the chemistry teacher-turned criminal mastermind from the hit-TV show Breaking Bad? Apparently, he wasn’t quite as successful as his Albuquerque-Doppleganger: he was arrested in Guangzhou on October 30, where he had been cooking meth and teaching young proteges in his shed, reports Nanfang Legal Daily.

Unlike Walter White, this 58 year-old man named Liao (his street name: “Professor Xu”) knew nothing about chemistry; still, he managed to learn how to make crystal meth, the report said.

Through unknown intermediaries, Liao was introduced to people interested in entering the drug trade. He then taught “students” how to cook meth in a one-week crash course, value-priced at RMB 400,000.

Liao’s romantic partner, surnamed Ma, sold the finished meth through their online store, which was disguised as a wholesale clothing shop, the report said.

The police raided about 50 kg of meth and meth-products, as well as 12 kg of raw materials from Liao’s workshop in Haizhu District, Guangzhou, the report said.

Reports of the drug bust came to light after Guangdong police announced on November 16 that it had destroyed more than 400 tons of crystal meth ingredients from Lufeng, an infamous drug hub in the province. It took 15 trucks several days to transport the seized drugs and drug products to the incineration site, Nandu reported.

Photos: Nanfang Legal Daily; SEQUART



Woozy Weekender Indie Music Fest to Hit Guangzhou, Win Free Tix from The Nanfang

Posted: 11/20/2014 9:01 am

If you love indie music, you won’t want to miss this: Woozy Weekender is bringing some of China’s best indie acts to SD Livehouse in Guangzhou from November 28 – 30.

Guangzhou has seen a burst of activity in its underground music scene over the past few years, as DIY music labels like Full Label and livehouses like 191 and SD have proven to be shining stars on the horizon of China’s thriving indie scene.

Now’s your chance to catch some of these artists here in Guangzhou. The folks at Woozy Weekender in Shanghai, which bill themselves as China’s answer to Pitchfork, are bringing a host of cutting edge artists from across China to perform in Guangzhou… and you can win free tickets from The Nanfang!

Simply fill out the form below and follow the steps to sign up. Next Thursday (November 27) we will draw two names, with each person being rewarded with two free tickets.

In addition to a music-packed line up every night, each level will host other fun activities like a music market, Wooozy film screenings, a DIY production workshop by Pete Chen, and a panel talk hosted by P.K. 14’s lead singer and Maybe Mars COO Yang Haisong.

Woozy Weekender will be held from November 28 – 30, Friday to Sunday, three nights and three days: fun, indie, exciting, unique. You can check it out in The Nanfang’s Event section, with all the details here. All that’s missing is you!

(After clicking “Subscribe” below, please check your email for the confirmation.)

Yes, get me two free tickets to Woozy Weekender

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National Divorce Rate Continues to Skyrocket in China

Posted: 11/17/2014 12:00 pm

chinese divorces rupert murdoch wendy dengAs the Chinese economy improves, and the standard of living rises, so too does the national divorce rate.

As reported on Yangcheng Online, divorces in China have steadily risen since 2004. In 2013, there were 3.5 million divorces in China, a 12.8 percent increase from the year before.

Guangzhou’s divorce rate is indicative of the general mood in China. In 2003, there were only 4,404 divorces in Guangdong; ten years later, there were 24,838; an increase of 564 percent.

If you’re thinking that the younger generation is driving the rising divorce rate, you’d be mistaken. Although people in Guangzhou between the ages of 30 and 39 are the most likely to get divorced (totalling 151,837 in 2013), the next largest segment are those aged 40 and up (totalling 136,766 divorces).

Check out the infographic to see for yourself.


Photo: Life Dayoo


Close Call at Guangzhou Airport as Two Airplanes Collide on Runway

Posted: 11/12/2014 11:15 am

guangzhou airport collisionGuangzhou Baiyun International Airport was the scene of a close call yesterday when two planes collided on the runway. While neither plane sustained significant damage, one of them lost part of its wing, reported Southern Daily Report.

It started when a China Southern Airlines jet was landing. As it was taxiing along the runway, it hit a China Eastern airliner which had come to a stop.

No one was hurt in the incident, although people on board say it was quite tense for a while. The cause of the collision remains unknown, and is being investigated by airport authorities.

guangzhou airport collisionguangzhou airport collisionPhotos: Southern Daily Report


Pollution in Guangzhou So Bad the Mayor Will Take the Bus

Posted: 11/4/2014 9:15 am

At a time when smog has become one of the top social issues in China, one prominent public figure is vowing to do something about it. Chen Jianhua, the Mayor of Guangzhou, has pledged to refrain from driving, and will take the bus instead if the city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeds the “unhealthy” range of 200, reports Nanfang Net.

According to Chen, about 77 percent of days this year have been relatively smog free, a 0.7 percent increase over 2013. The number of unhealthy days has also declined, he said. But the ultimate goal, says Chen, is to “make Guangzhou residents proud of Guangzhou’s air quality”.

Chen’s pledge to take the bus was met with scepticism, and even dismissed as a publicity stunt by official media outlets, considering the city has only exceeded the 200 benchmark once all year, wrote Red Net in a commentary. The piece was later republished by

“Considering Guangzhou only has a moderate air pollution problem, Mayor Chen’s much-hyped 200-air-quality target seems a little too easy. If he could lower the target to 150 as the benchmark for taking the bus, his plan would probably garner more support, and the public would not question his remark as little more than a publicity stunt.”

The AQI reading is usually between 100 and 150 in Guangzhou. In China, air quality is categorised into five grades. Below 50 is considered healthy; 51-100 is moderate; 100-200 range is unhealthy; 200-300 range is very unhealthy; and a reading above 300 is considered hazardous.



Guangzhou Tracking Africans from Ebola Region with Free Mobile Phones

Posted: 11/3/2014 9:00 am

Guangzhou has found a novel way to keep in touch with people arriving from west Africa, which has been afflicted with the Ebola virus: give them free mobile phones.

Every single traveler who arrives in the city from Guinea, Libera, or Sierra Leong will get a health care package that includes a thermometer, local map and free mobile phone with a SIM card pre-installed.

Xinhua reports:

“Passengers who get the phone should keep it turned on for the following 21 days. In this way, disease control personnel can track and contact them as quickly as possible,” said Wu Huiming, deputy head of the entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau.

So far authorities have handed out 98 phones.

Guangzhou is known as Africa’s capital in China, with some estimates that 200,000 Africans are living in the city. The strong links with Africa have made concerns about the spread of Ebola particularly acute in the city. If anyone rejects the mobile phones or health package, they will be blacklisted the next time they try and enter the country.



How to Stop the Spread of Dengue Fever? Get Rid of Abandoned Cars

Posted: 10/29/2014 3:45 pm

abandoned cars dengue fever guangzhouAbandoned cars in Guangzhou have become a target for officials stepping up the fight against Dengue Fever. Even though the spread of the virus is starting to subside, authorities are making sure it doesn’t have the chance to bounce back. That means ridding the city of of abandoned cars, which can serve as breeding grounds for the multitude of mosquitoes that spread the deadly virus, has become a priority.

Approximately 580 cars and 700 motorcycles were removed from Xinan Street in Sanshui District, an area where many local residents had dumped vehicles that had little value to them.

The original owners of the cars were notified of plans to remove the vehicles through official channels and news media, of which one-third removed the cars on their own. The rest were taken away in a joint collaboration between the traffic police and chengguan.

Meanwhile, the number of Dengue Fever cases reported daily has dropped below 300 in the past two days, with 217 new cases reported yesterday. In total, 41,155 people were infected with the virus and six people have died.

Photos: Zhujiang Times


Dead Fish From Guangzhou Park Resold at Local Market

Posted: 10/29/2014 3:32 pm

lake liwan dead fish guangzhouA number of dead fish have been recently floating on the surface of the water near the flood gates of Lake Liwan Park. While any widespread loss of wildlife is usually cause for concern, some Guangzhou residents are viewing this as a “windfall” and turning it into a profit-making opportunity.

A representative for the park said the lake has been dredged over the past two weeks, something a park worker admits may have to do with the death of the fish. A park security guard said local residents have been coming to the park to collect the dead African carp and sell them for RMB 5 for a large one, and RMB 3 for small one, reports Sina Guangdong.

lake liwan dead fish guangzhouA reporter personally witnessed a person collecting the dead fish yesterday. However, the person wouldn’t admit to selling the dead carp, instead saying he would feed it to his dog.

Park management has complained that people who collect dead fish don’t listen to warnings and fight with security guards.

lake liwan dead fish guangzhou


Photos: Sina Cantonese Report


Nifty Buckle Popular in China Tricks Cars Into Thinking Seatbelt is Fastened

Posted: 10/15/2014 6:01 pm

seatbelt holderGuangzhou traffic police are ramping up another safety campaign targeting drivers that don’t use seatbelts, a particular problem with the proliferation of a nifty little device that tricks cars into thinking a seatbelt is being used.

seatbelt holderThese devices have the metal fasteners part of the seatbelt, but not the strap. This way the car detects the seatbelt as being fastened, and turns off any warning lights or sounds.

As it is, these fasteners come in a variety styles. Check it out:

seatbelt holderseatbelt holderseatbelt holder

seatbelt holder

Eighty percent of Guangzhou drivers don’t wear seatbelts. The penalty, if caught, is RMB 50.

Photos: gaobe, beishang, safetybelt, jd

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