TheNanfang News & views about Guangzhou, Shenzhen & Dongguan Mon, 02 Feb 2015 07:26:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 When It Comes to Dirty Air, Northern China Has it the Worst Mon, 02 Feb 2015 07:26:07 +0000 Charles Liu Continue reading ]]> One could argue that pollution is endemic across China, but some cities are better than others. To rank them properly, the Ministry of Environment released statistics that put cities in their proper order. The TL;DR version is this: the south is cleaner than the north.

Seven of the worst cities are in Hebei Province, with six within the area reserved for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei supercity.

  1. Baoding, Hebei
  2. Xingtai, Hebei
  3. Shijiahuang, Hebei
  4. Tangshan, Hebei
  5. Handan, Hebei
  6. Hengshui, Hebei
  7. Jinan, Shandong
  8. Langfang, Hebei
  9. Zhengzhou, Henan
  10. Tianjin Municipality

And here’s the list of the cities with the best air quality in 2014. Most of these are located in the south of China, with the majority belonging to the PRD in Guangdong and the rest in the far west.

  1. Haikou, Hainan
  2. Zhoushan, Zhejiang
  3. Lhasa, Tibet
  4. Shenzhen, Guangdong
  5. Zhuhai, Guangdong
  6. Huizhou, Guangdong
  7. Fuzhou, Fujian
  8. Xiamen, Fujian
  9. Kunming, Yunnan
  10. Zhongshan, Guangdong

Of the 74 cities on the list, 13 in the Beijing/Tianjin/Hebei area only met environmental standards for air quality on 156 days in 2014, 85 fewer days than the national average.

As you can see, though, the Pearl River Delta did very well. The nine PRD cities ranked on the list were able to meet environmental standards for air quality for 298 days in 2014, exceeding the national average by 57 days. As well, PRD cities only experienced days of severe air pollution last year at the miniscule ratio of 0.4 percent.

Although these two lists shows a clear geographic divide, overall results show a slight improvement for the entire country. The average of all ranked Chinese cities were able to meet environmental standards for 241 days last year, a six percent rise over 2013. As well, the country experience few severe air pollution days on average, dropping three percentage points to six percent.

Photo: China Daily


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Banker Writes Heartfelt Letter on Why It’s Time to Leave “Hedonistic” Hong Kong Mon, 02 Feb 2015 03:40:15 +0000 Nanfang Reporter Continue reading ]]> The blog post below has been shared widely on Chinese social media in the past few days. The author is David Zhu, and it was originally posted on his blog. It is reproduced here with his permission.

When my colleagues first found out that I was leaving banking for private equity, they congratulated me. After all, moving to the “buy-side” after 2 years of banking was something to be proud of. But when they found out I was leaving Hong Kong for Beijing, their jaws dropped. What??? Are you forreal? The air there is toxic, the food is poisonous, the traffic is suffocating, and the tax is demoralizing. What is wrong with you? Do you hate Hong Kong or something?

No, the truth is, I love Hong Kong. The two years I have spent in Hong Kong are probably the most carefree and purposeless fun I will ever have in my entire life. But I had to go – because something was missing in Hong Kong.

67/F Cheung Kong Center, where I have spent longer hours starring at a computer screen than my entire pre-work life combined.


No, I’m not talking about the work experience of pumping out models and PowerPoint slides like a machine around the clock, or the deal experience of closing cross-border M&A’s to earn bragging rights among fellow bankers, or the travel experience of flying business class with corporate executives from New York and London.

I’m talking about living the Hong Kong-style life, under the neon lights of Lan Kwai Fong, about the materialistic life that makes living and breathing the Hong Kong experience a young bachelor’s must-have in a lifetime. When I boarded flight Delta 173 on August 17th, 2012 from JFK to HKG, the city with the highest concentration of Rolls Royce’s and the most tall buildings in the world, I knew it was time to lay off the gas pedal and just enjoy the ride.

Grand opening party of a new club in LKF, the name of which I can no longer recall. The club closed within a year.


As affluent Hong Kongers are some of the world’s best practitioners of hedonism, you will find yourself quickly blending in the Hong Kong lifestyle around happy hours, dinners, boat trips, birthday parties and other forms of wine & dine experiences. You go from ordinary food establishments like Tsui Wah and SimplyLife to private kitchens and Michelin stars; you start to turn down tourist bars along LKF hill in favor of whiskey bars, cigar bars, sheesha bars, ice bars, dining-in-the-dark restaurant & bars, liquid nitrogen ice cream bars, your friend’s bars, your friend’s friend’s bars, and so on. If you can think of it, it’s there in HK. You find dining & entertainment expenses escalating over your rent in almost no time (particularly if you are male, the gender which always pays). Slowly, your spare capacity goes from planning your life as a great [insert dream here] to planning your next fancy dinner, your next epic weekend, your next marvelous holiday, your next fabulous birthday party… and the list goes on.

Probably the best city view in the world.


Gradually, the comfort and safety of Hong Kong bring you what you’ve always desired – the pure enjoyment of life itself, without having to feel sorry about it because everyone around you is doing the exact same. You don’t see the negativities of society anymore around you. Poverty doesn’t show its faces, crime doesn’t come near you, pollution isn’t broadcasted as a social problem, food safety is almost guaranteed, healthcare services are among the best in the world, and tax is definitely not getting any complaints – if utopia existed, it would look something like Hong Kong Central.

But once you’ve spent long enough time here, you will see that Hong Kong is a concrete jungle not only for its buildings and underground tunnels, but also for zero social mobility. The resulting social structure under these circumstances is not one where everyone is talking about the global power dynamics, debating the benefits and harms of creative destruction, pondering the philosophical nature of the human existence, or even whispering the future of democracy. No. That is not Hong Kong. At least not the Hong Kong I have experienced. Living in Hong Kong as an expat is much more like attending the grand parties of the Great Gatsby, where the crème of the crop of the Ivy League and Oxbridge graduates proudly settle in the most fit-and-proper professions ranging from doctors, lawyers, accountants, to bankers and civil servants, toasting and celebrating the greatness of their own achievements.

Magnum, where film “Lan Kwai Fong” was filmed. Magnum Entertainment listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in January 2014. The offering was over 3000 times oversubscribed. Currently shares trade 50% below its first week’s performance.


But the most mercenary aspect of Hong Kong is the ease of leaving her. During SARS, those who could leave deserted the city and made it a ghost town almost overnight. In the 1990’s (think 89 and 97), those who could afford to emigrate from Hong Kong have all obtained foreign passports, with Vancouver being one of the favorite destinations – and the reason behind my conversational Cantonese having grown up there.

Hong Kong, in this sad existence, is Mr. Gatsby himself. If he dies, no one will be staying for the funeral, because his guests are busy and have got other parties to catch.

Admittedly, for the better part of my 2 years in Hong Kong, I was one of them. I lived my life as a guest in Mr. Gatsby’s party, and I gave my love to every moment I have spent inside his doors. I have been there, standing in the VIP areas of Dragon-I/Volar/Levels/Magnum, on the floor, on the table, on the stage, feeling like I’m with the most important people in the entire world. I have been there, dropping my entire month’s salary hosting parties and treating friends ranging from my future best man to someone I have never even met and will never meet again. I have been there, posting photos of drinking and partying festivities on Facebook to gain popularity and social status, making acquaintances so numerous that deleting them all would probably be faster if I got a new phone and reinstalled Whatsapp.

What to expect on the table on a normal night with a large group of friends who work in finance


Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of very successful people in Hong Kong who have found the right balance to achieve happiness across the spectrum of one’s life desires. But your 20’s is meant to be spent in a way to maximize your potentials, and the 24/7 work-party-sleep cycle isn’t exactly “maximizing” – it’s in fact “burning”, eating away the fuel and the drive to reach the dreams you once had.

After an all-nighter at the printer for a company’s IPO. Long hours typically result in a binary lifestyle swinging between extreme work and extreme play.


So as one of the most junior attendees of Mr. Gatsby’s great parties, I have chosen to walk away. After all, what is the point of devoting my most productive years to a grand party, only to be handed another glass of champagne, gazing upward to tycoons who will always be tycoons, and dancing alongside white-collars who will always be white-collars. Leaving Hong Kong was not because it was destroying my body or polluting my mind, but because it was killing who I could be.

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Chinese Tourists Pose After Catching Endangered Fish In South China Sea Mon, 02 Feb 2015 02:00:22 +0000 Charles Liu Continue reading ]]> bad chinese tourists fishing endangered species paracel islands

Chinese tourists have been fishing illegally in the South China Sea’s Paracel Islands.

Netizens have uncovered online photographs showing Chinese tourists proudly posing with their catches, many of which are endangered species protected by law, such as the long-tailed shark (seen below), They have also been accused of collecting sea urchins and rare coral (seen above).

Netizens allege that a number of travel agencies are facilitating the illegal fishing by agreeing to book Chinese tourists, and then permitting them to catch illegal fish. There is rarely any evidence that makes it back to the shore, as most of the tours conclude each day by grilling and eating the day’s catch.

bad chinese tourists fishing endangered species paracel islands

Reaction to these photos sparked concern and outrage. One commentator said, “I hope that tourists don’t destroy the ecology and environment of the Paracel Islands. It might be the only place left in China that has not been polluted.

Others were more critical. One user said that the Chinese tourists are “So ignorant. These people are completely lacking in inner essence.” Another said, “One look and you know they are [expletive] government officials.

bad chinese tourists fishing endangered species paracel islandsbad chinese tourists fishing endangered species paracel islandsbad chinese tourists fishing endangered species paracel islandsbad chinese tourists fishing endangered species paracel islandsbad chinese tourists fishing endangered species paracel islandsbad chinese tourists fishing endangered species paracel islandsbad chinese tourists fishing endangered species paracel islandsPhotos: China Daily, Guangzhou Daily

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Photos Surface of Naked, Corrupt Henan Officials Cavorting with Prostitutes Fri, 30 Jan 2015 02:00:59 +0000 Natalie Wang Continue reading ]]>

An official, identified by his surname, Lu, was photographed naked.

Two officials from Henan Province’s Xinyang Housing Administration are under investigation after being photographed naked among several prostitutes, allegedly paid for with bribe money, according to New Beijing Daily.

Zhu Huagang blogged that the two officials spent more than RMB 200,000 of his money on banquets, entertainment and prostitution after assuring him that they would redress his grievance with the Housing Administration.

One of the officials, surnamed Lu, was said to be a division head at the Administration. The second official was a clerk-level public servant. On several occasions, Zhu paid for banquets and karaoke for the public servants. Each time the two officials would ask him to send them to the same hotel and for Zhu to pay the RMB 500 prostitution fee.

When contacted by the media, a representative of the Housing Administration explained that the two officials in question were simply low level public servants. He added that an investigation is underway to verify the story.

More photos below:

Photos: China Youth Net 


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Hong Kong Being Hit Hard by the Flu Fri, 30 Jan 2015 01:30:52 +0000 Charles Liu Continue reading ]]> hong kong fluFlu season is hitting Hong Kong particularly hard this year, and medical experts warn that the situation is only going to get worse.

The Hong Kong Health Department announced that there have been 122 serious cases of the flu in the City this year, of which 64 people have died. Of the 122 cases, 56 were elderly, and nine were young children.

Public anxiety over communicable diseases has risen as avian flu continues to spread across Guangdong. Since mid January, 14 new cases of avian flu have been diagnosed, totalling 20 new cases in 2015.

Doctors admit that they expect more flu cases before the season ends, and urge residents to get the flu vaccine.


Photo: Phoenix Weekly

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Hilarious Stereotypes of Foreign Countries Held by Chinese People Fri, 30 Jan 2015 01:21:18 +0000 Charles Liu Continue reading ]]> usa  paradeStereotyping might not be politically correct, but it happens nonetheless. If you ask anyone about China, you’re likely to get a variety of answers about what Chinese people tend to be like.

But what do Chinese people think about your country? Yes, the stereotyping goes both ways. A travel agency in China has compiled a list of national stereotypes to try and help Chinese travelers get beyond them.

Here’s what the article, reasons why foreigners don’t match your initial impression of them, all here for you to discuss, says:

Hey everybody; have you ever brought up a country only to have a strict association with it? For example, talking about South Korea will remind you of plastic surgery, talking about Thailand is to talk about ladyboys, and talking about Japan is to bring up perverts…

The following lists foreigners by their stereotypes; what’s your response?

Canadians: everything they say is boring, and life is depressing there

Maybe you’ve thought that since Canada is so cold and icy that there’s nothing to do there. In fact, in Canada you can go snowboarding, kayaking, and do other extreme sports. What’s more, absurdist comedy star Jim Carrey and Friends actor Matthew Perry are both Canadians, and are they boring? They’re hilarious! Therefore, don’t say that Canadians are boring!

Americans: Liberated thinkers, are tolerant of everything

Actually, European countries are more liberal minded than the USA, as seen in the more acceptable attitude towards nude beaches. Additionally, there are 16 states in the US that have not yet legalized gay marriage. That’s why it’s not that fitting to say that Americans are not that liberal.

sleepingSpaniards: Lazy, and love to sleep

Every day, Spaniards enjoy a three hour lunch and an afternoon nap. This is why other countries believe Spaniards are lazy and don’t want to work. However, Spain has seen a 2.8 percent annual average growth in its GDP, beating Germany by one percent.

Italians: Passionate, undisciplined, inefficient

The success of the textile and chemical manufacturing industry of Italy, its fine cuisine of pizza and pasta, the culture and historical architecture from the Renaissance era –these things all prove that Italians are not the least bit undisciplined and inefficient.

English: Soccer hooligans, and the fact that English men love soccer more than they love women!

In fact, more fights happen over soccer in Sweden than they do in England.

French: Arrogant

It’s been said that the French don’t like to smile at strangers and have an air of superiority, but this is just the culture of France. To them, they don’t like to display any hypocritical expressions. The French consider smiling to have nothing to do with etiquette, just as arrogance doesn’t.

Irish: Drunk every day

Any time the subjects of drunks or bars are brought up, many people think of the Irish. However, in an 2004 international study about the use of alcohol, Ireland ranked behind Luxembourg and Hungary.

Filipinos: Barbaric, backwards islanders

In 2003, the average Filipino sent 2,300 text messages a day, making it the most prevalent users of text messages in the world. At the same time, the Philippines is the blogging capital of Asia, therefore the Philippines is not backwards by any stretch of the imagination.

Indians: Narrow thinking, are all poor bastards

Although many Indians still live in poverty, this situation has improved in recent years. India has become a world leader in software, and is one of the fastest rising economies in the world. Have you seen the 2009 comedy 3 Idiots? The number of films produced by the Indian film industry is the highest in the world, as is its box office! Therefore, how can one rationally say that Indians have a narrow scope of thinking, and are all poor bastards?

Cultural stereotypes are something that slowly but imperceptibly affect our thinking. It’s the same with foreigners that all think Chinese can perform kung-fu like Bruce Lee, something that makes Chinese speechless. Therefore, you shouldn’t have any stereotypes towards foreigners or else they’ll think us and our stereotypes to be silly and naive…

Photos: Travel 163

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Many of China’s 14 Million Rich are Pouring Their Money into Hong Kong Fri, 30 Jan 2015 01:05:33 +0000 Natalie Wang Continue reading ]]>

A gold-plated sports car in Nanjing

Thirty years of continuous growth means there are a lot of rich Chinese people walking around — 14 million of them, to be exact. And according to a new report by Heng Seng Bank, many of them are parking their money in Hong Kong. 

The wealthy – defined as Chinese nationals with assets between RMB 600,000 and RMB 6 million – primarily come from Beijing, Guangdong and Shanghai. As of August last year, the group had RMB 1.1 trillion worth of assets in Hong Kong.

Despite the Occupy Central protests and growing political tensions in the city, more than 60 percent of Guangdong residents say they are optimistic about Hong Kong’s future, and half of the respondents said they had already acquired some assets in Hong Kong.

Photos: ibtimes 

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Singapore the Most Lucrative Place for University Grads, But Chinese Grads are Happier Fri, 30 Jan 2015 00:50:23 +0000 Charles Liu Continue reading ]]> university graduates chinaThe salaries of recent Chinese university graduates aren’t as high as their peers in other Asian countries, but they’re feeling satisfied with what they earn all the same.

That’s the takeaway from a study published by a Japanese newspaper that compared the average monthly salaries of 2,000 “20 year-old university graduates” from 10 Asian countries. China came in fourth place at RMB 8,500 (approximately $1,400) with over 80 percent of respondents saying they felt “financially comfortable”.

The list is topped by university graduates from Singapore, who make an average of RMB 19,000 ($3,000) each month, followed by those in South Korea (RMB 13,200, or $2,100) and Japan (RMB 11,700, or $1,900).

However, even though Singaporean grads made the most, they weren’t all that satisfied compared to Chinese grads.

In fact, most of the non-developed Asian countries on the list featured university graduates that felt financially comfortable. For instance, Indonesia ranked eighth on the list with an average salary of RMB 3,700 ($590), but they were most satisfied. India and China followed on the list in second and third spots.

It goes to show that the amount of money isn’t necessarily what makes people happy.


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Blog Post Claiming Shenzhen Girl Slept with Doctor to Win Hospital Internship Goes Viral in China Thu, 29 Jan 2015 02:47:05 +0000 Kevin McGeary Continue reading ]]> A blog post claiming that a woman slept with a doctor to get an internship at the Peking University Hospital in Shenzhen has gone viral since it first appeared on January 20. Both the woman, Miss Wang, and Dr. Guo have confessed to sleeping together at a Seven Days Inn, though the hospital insists he is actually a nurse, Xinhua reports.

A report about the blog post

News aggregation websites started picking up the blog post nine days ago, before it was eventually published by Shenzhen News. The post claims that Miss Wang used her uncle’s contacts to land the internship for RMB 100,000 and later slept with Dr. Guo, alleging that this, too, was a form of bribery. The post was full of identifying information, such as both parties’ phone numbers, the times they checked in and out of the Seven Days Inn and how much the room cost.

In a statement, the hospital claimed that both Miss Wang and Dr. Guo got their positions the legal and fair way. It also said that since both are unmarried, their behaviour outside work is not the hospital’s concern. The hospital also insists that they found no evidence that the affair was a form of bribery.

This news broke in the same week that a group of expats told Shenzhen Daily that medical services in the city need to improve. One expat has a particularly harrowing story of his experiences at the hospital in question:

American Charles Kirtley, who was suffering from a muscular disorder in 2011, said he lived in the hallways for the first few days in the hospital and that he became skeptical after being diagnosed with a nutritional deficiency. So Kirtley searched online to try to diagnose himself. “The head doctor was livid that I would try to diagnose myself when I was not a trained medical professional,” said Kirtley. “He compared my behavior to a guest telling a host how to run their private home. There seemed to be an unwavering dedication to hierarchy, but a distinct lack of devotion to genuine medical science or human empathy. Speaking of being a guest, I felt we patients were at the bottom of the hospital hierarchy.”

How does one rise up the hierarchy at this hospital?

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The Land of the Broken-Hearted: Shenzhen’s Divorce Rate Doubles in Six Years Thu, 29 Jan 2015 01:22:12 +0000 Kevin McGeary Continue reading ]]> Nearly 16,000 couples in Shenzhen divorced in 2014, doubling the number from 2009, according to official figures released recently. Interestingly, most of the divorces were filed by women, Shenzhen Daily reported yesterday.

“The divorce rate is growing by more than 10 percent each year,” said an official with the Shenzhen Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau. “Many young couples broke up without careful consideration soon after finding out they can’t get along well,” he added, presupposing that the marriages themselves weren’t the rash decisions.

The paper has more:

A 33-year-old woman, surnamed Chang, is one of the many women who divorced their husbands last year. She said she found out that her former husband behaved chauvinistically shortly after they got married in 2013. She insisted that they get divorced. “Sometimes I didn’t know why I decided to marry him. I had to work, and I earn even more than him, but he still ordered me to cook and take care of all the housework,” she said.

According to the Longgang District marriage registration office, most divorces filed last year were by people under 35, particularly women. An unidentified representative of the office said that most people born in the 1980s are single children and that “they are very self-centered, intolerant and not good at communicating.”

Last year, a couple filed for divorce because they couldn’t agree on whose parents they should visit during Spring Festival.

Ning Yuan, a marriage counselor, said women are increasingly more economically independent in Shenzhen and usually demand equal relationships in the family setting.

However, many local men still expect their wives to handle all the housework, she said, and furthermore they just don’t know how to care for women. “In the past, a satisfactory family depended on the husband’s income. Now the circumstances have changed. Women have become more confident and aware of their independence,” said Ning.

Fu Xianyang, a lawyer from Guangdong Everwin Law Office, said the trend is a common phenomenon among countries going through transitional periods into the modern society. Many already modern societies have skyrocketing divorce rates, with the United States at 53 percent in 2011 and the European Union at 44 percent in 2010.

“From my experience, more and more couples have filed for divorce. Some divorced couples are younger than before. Some have been married for only less than five years,” said Fu.

Most of the world’s cultures have long attached stigmas to divorce and China is no exception. An ancient proverb admonishes newlyweds to “be married until your hair turns white.”

The situation of the majority of divorcees being those born in the 1980s contrasts with, say, the United Kingdom, where the over-60 set is the only demographic in which the divorce rate has risen. One of the reasons cited for this is a decreasing stigma attached to divorce.

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