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8-Year Old Adopted Daughter of Missing Laowai Dies From Her Injuries in Hospital

Posted: 12/9/2014 5:22 pm

phoebe death certificateAn eight-year old Beijing girl under the foster care of an expat suspected of abusing her has died in hospital.

The girl, known only as Phoebe, stopped breathing at around 7pm on Sunday (December 7) and died an hour later. Phoebe had been suffering from kidney damage and a medical condition caused by “an external force”, and was brought to hospital on November 24.

Phoebe had been admitted to hospital three times since September. Doctors said she was severely malnourished and underweight.

Her foster father has been identified as Ray Wigdal, a US expat that has been living in China for about 30 years. Wigdal is also the foster parent to ten other orphaned Chinese children.

Volunteers working with Wigdal explained that the injury was caused when Phoebe had a bicycle accident. However, suspicion of child abuse was raised when Phoebe told hospital staff that Wigdal had beaten her.

Nobody knows where Wigdal is. He didn’t show up at the hospital while Phoebe was there, but local police said they interviewed him on Sunday.

Wigdal’s ten other foster children were taken into protective custody on December 5.

[h/t the Beijinger]

Photo: the Beijinger


China’s Typical Expat: Male, Doesn’t Speak Chinese, and Loves It Here

Posted: 11/11/2014 10:34 am
foreign experts china

Juan and Fabio are among the foreign experts who arrived in China and are loving it, as seen in this March 2008 news photo.

Common sense may have told us this, but we finally have confirmation from the Chinese government: the typical expat in China is male, doesn’t speak Chinese, and loves his adopted country.

The State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs sent a questionnaire to expats as part of its study on the living environment for expatriate workers. It found China is already among the world’s top destinations for expatriate workers and by far the most lucrative, but it still needs “to do better to hire and keep professional expats”, reported China Daily.

More than 2,000 people responded to the survey. It showed 74 percent of expats are male, and an astounding 73 percent could barely understand simple Chinese.

The study outlined a number of problems that concerned foreigners, such as medical and social insurance issues, as well as the educational needs of their children and the application process for work visas.

Chinese authorities have tried to make the work visa application process easier for expats, and even announced reforms to China’s rarely-seen green card program. In 2012, only 0.2 percent of China’s 633,000 expats held a green card.

The report failed to mention air pollution, an issue so important to some expat workers that Western companies are willing to pay “hazard pay” bonuses to those willing to work in China’s big polluted cities.

When asked what conditions could be improved for expats, the study found that 56.9 percent of respondents want better compensation, while many of their employers reportedly are unable to meet those demands.

Whatever their salary, expats are generally very happy to be in China. Over 70 percent of professional expat workers in China reported being very satisfied with their lives, and 75 percent of employers reported being similarly satisfied with these foreign expats, even if they are mostly males who don’t speak the language.


[h/t the Beijinger]

Photo: FY News, dahe


No More Free Rides: Expats “Lose Face” Trying to Sneak Bikes onto Beijing Metro

Posted: 10/31/2014 9:15 am

expats bikes rejected metro beijingIt seemed there was a time when expats in China could do almost anything and get away with it. And while there may be still be a double-standard with regard to certain issues, one thing is for sure: expats aren’t allowed to take bicycles on the Beijing Metro anymore.

Three men identified as “laowai” were attempting to enter Dawanglu Station on October 29 at 10:10pm when they were barred from entering by staff at the security checkpoint, reports Sina. When that didn’t work, the trio tried to enter the station by using the exit channel, where they were again refused entry.

The Beijing Metro confirms passengers with over-sized packages such as bicycles are not allowed to take the train. Before angrily exchanging words and leaving, the expats were told by a station employee to ”not lose face for your country”.

Regardless of whether or not you value the concept of face, we’d urge all expats in China to refrain from bringing their bicycles on the Beijing Metro.

expats bikes rejected metro beijingexpats bikes rejected metro beijingexpats bikes rejected metro beijingexpats bikes rejected metro beijingPhotos: Southern Capital Report, Sina News


25% of Expats in China Make Over US$300,000 a Year

Posted: 10/24/2014 7:36 pm

bund shanghaiExpats living in China may have a thing or two to complain about, but they have certainly picked a lucrative country to work in.

While China is the third-most popular expat destination following Singapore and Switzerland according to a study by HSBC, expats in China earn more here than anywhere else in the world, reports CNN.

The HSBC study says a quarter of expats living in China make an annual salary of over US $300,000 a year. China is described as a place where expats can enjoy better job prospects, pay packages, and lower living costs.

“China is the best place for expats looking to make their money go further, with 76 percent of expats in the country experiencing growth in their spending power once they’ve moved,” the report said

In contrast, a Barclays study showed 47 percent of wealthy Chinese respondents said they planned to move abroad within the next five years.

Photo: Travel Baidu



Foreigner Fined RMB 500, Jailed 10 Days for Molesting Dalian Waitress

Posted: 10/22/2014 6:27 pm

jinzhou dalian A foreigner in Dalian found himself in a whole lot of trouble after he was arrested, fined, and jailed for sexual assault.

The foreign visitor, identified only as Ueda, 26, was with his father on a business trip on October 10 when he decided to eat in a private room at a seafood restaurant. The drinks started to flow, and eventually Ueda, in his words, “lost control of himself” and forcibly embraced a waitress named Zhang, who cried out.

Ueda then reportedly attacked other wait staff after they criticized him for his advances, destroying a restaurant chair in the process. A table of men nearly engaged to “teach the foreigner a lesson”, but rightfully ended up calling police instead. Ueda admitted to his crimes, was fined RMB 500, and was sent to jail for 10 days.

Dalian police emphasized they followed proper procedures in handling the situation. Ueda doesn’t understand a word of Chinese, which made the investigation more difficult.


Photo: agri


Chinese Delighted by Expat’s Curious Method of Learning Putonghua

Posted: 10/15/2014 1:55 pm

foreigner tries to learn putonghua robert expat chinese learningChinese people love watching foreigners learning Chinese, but one particular foreigner has shot to fame in Shenzhen because of his unique learning methods. He has even been lauded by Chinese netizens as nothing short of “genius”.

Robert, who originally hails from the UK, has been trying to learn Putonghua for five to six years without much luck. He decided to take another crack at it recently by changing tactics, which is what has drawn so much attention.

READ: CCTV’s Praise Of Japanese Creativity Ignites Firestorm

Instead of using words to write definitions for each Chinese character, Robert draws a picture to better relate to each word, a technique inspired by English memory coach Tony Buzan.

Michelle, Robert’s wife, was inspired to post some of Robert’s personal study notes online, which have gone on to draw acclaim for their creativity and humor. See for yourself below:

foreigner tries to learn putonghua robert expat chinese learningFor the Chinese characters 对面 (duìmiàn) which means “across from you/it”, two faces are seen in a drawing confronting each other.

foreigner tries to learn putonghua robert expat chinese learning请假 (qǐngjià) means “to ask for leave”, and in this picture a man thinking about a boat in the sun is asking a question to a man with a hat sitting behind a desk.

foreigner tries to learn putonghua robert expat chinese learning对不起 (duìbuqǐ) is the Chinese word for “apologize”, and is used to say “I’m sorry” or “I beg your pardon”.

foreigner tries to learn putonghua robert expat chinese learning历史 ([lìshǐ) means "history" in Chinese. In the above visual explanation, Robert draws a successive line of people that progressively get smaller until the end of the line is symbolized by what looks to be an amoeba.

foreigner tries to learn putonghua robert expat chinese learning同意 (tóngyì) means "to agree".

foreigner tries to learn putonghua robert expat chinese learning出去 (chūqu) means "to go out".

foreigner tries to learn putonghua robert expat chinese learningAnd in a similar looking drawing, Robert makes an explanation for 回来 (huílai) which means "to return".

For the word 麻烦 (máfan), meaning "an irritation brought on by trouble or worry", Robert drew two small children, saying "If your family has two children then you'll know, they are very troublesome!" For the word AA制 (A A zhì) meaning "each person pays their own way", Robert drew a windmill because "people in Holland are really stingy".

Here's some reaction to Robert's famous drawings:

Hahaha, so easy to understand!

Cartoon genius.

Isn’t it enough to add a few English notes afterwards?

So what’s good about this Englishman? Is he handsome? Rich?

Robert obviously isn’t the first to devise unique ways to learn a new language. Chinese themselves have employed a number of witty tricks to help with learning English.

READ: Guangzhou Photographer Reveals the Lonely Face of Foreigners in China

As many an English teachers will know, sometimes a student in China will use pinyin to substitute for English words. When you say “Hi” to them, they are actually saying 嗨  with the pinyin hāi, while saying “Yeah!” in English is emulated in Chinese with 耶 with the pinyin .

With that in mind, some ingenious Chinese phrases have been created as pinyin “cheat words” that have related meanings. For example:

  • English word: ambulance
    Chinese pinyin cheat word: ǎnbùnéngsǐ
    Chinese characters of cheat word: 俺不能死
    Cheat word meaning: ”I can’t die”
  • English word: ambition
    Chinese pinyin cheat word: ǎnbìshèng
    Chinese characters of cheat word: 俺必胜
    Cheat word meaning: “I must win”
  • English word: pregnant
    Chinese pinyin cheat word: pūgěnánde
    Chinese characters of cheat word: 扑个男的
    Cheat word meaning: “Devote yourself to a man”


Photos: Southern Capital Report, Yangtse Evening Report


Guangzhou Photographer Reveals the Lonely Face of Foreigners in China

Posted: 10/10/2014 3:42 pm

foreign face of guangzhou expats

To some, foreigners are magical. They are beyond the rules and context of Chinese culture, making them a subject of fascination in China.

One Guangzhou native named Hai Bin has decided to document the daily comings and goings of foreigners in this set of photographs. All shots are taken in public places, and it’s anyone’s guess as to whether he got permission to take these snaps.

foreign face of guangzhou expats

Hai’s voyeurism has made him sympathetic to the plight of the foreigner, drawing up an unflattering comparison to make a conclusion that isn’t without irony:

(These foreigners) have left their native home to come here to Guangzhou, just the same as the migrants who come here to work. They get just as lonely.

Here are more of Hai’s photographs:

foreign face of guangzhou expatsforeign face of guangzhou expatsforeign face of guangzhou expats

Photos: Nandu

h/t: @MissXQ


Rwandan Expat Deported for Allegedly Molesting Bus Passenger

Posted: 09/22/2014 10:00 am

hangzhou public bus

A Rwandan has been arrested by police for allegedly molesting a female on a bus in Hangzhou, reported iFeng. The accused, Amani Edouard, was taken into custody on September 16.

Mr Zi, the driver, said a passenger told him, “There is a laowai in the back sexually harassing women.” Not long afterward, someone shouted, “Call the police!”  Zi then confronted three men at the back of the bus and prevented them from exiting before police arrived.

The alleged victim, a woman named Hu, said she was coming home from work with a woman named Wu. Hu said Edouard was sitting across from her in the last row of seats. Hu tried to sit on Wu’s leg because she was frightened of Edouard. Edouard sat on the seat Hu had just vacated and allegedly touched her thigh.

The next day, after being restrained in a special “drunken wheelchair”, Edouard denied the charges. Police say he will be detained for 11 days before being deported.

Kankan explained the story with this truly horrific illustration:

bus molestation giant hand

Photos: Kankan News, pic.hangzhou


Chinese Pedestrians Have No Problem Obeying Laowai Traffic Warden

Posted: 09/19/2014 9:15 am

expat traffic warden zhuzhou henan chengguan

A 21 year-old expat from the UK named Leah has become Henan’s newest pedestrian traffic warden responsible for herding pedestrians in the city of Zhuzhou and ensuring traffic laws are maintained, reports Yangtse.

Like many cities, Zhuzhou has a problem with pedestrians that don’t follow signals at intersections and end up congesting traffic — and it may have found its solution in Leah.

Though Leah has only a limited grasp of the Chinese language, her “foreignness” compels city residents to follow her command where they would normally ignore their fellow countryman.

Leah and her friend Ewan recently graduated from university and had been in Zhuzhou looking for work as English teachers for a month. After being hired as a warden, Leah immediately went to task memorizing the important phrases of her job. So far, she can only say things like:

  • “Hello, please be aware and abide by traffic regulations.”
  • “Please be aware and comply with civilized etiquette.”
  • “I love Zhuzhou, and I hope we can both make this city into a beautiful place.”

At first blush, perhaps it would seem unlikely for a Chinese person to follow the commands of a foreigner that can’t converse in Chinese nor is intimately familiar with its local customs. However, an unnamed resident sums up why they listen to her:

As there are international friends present, how can we (residents) illegally cross the road without feeling any shame?

The societal construct the Zhuzhou chengguan is employing is “face”, the need to maintain respect from others. If a Zhuzhou pedestrian were to illegally run a red light in the presence of “normal” Chinese chengguan, they wouldn’t risk losing face as much because they wouldn’t care about the reaction.

However, if this was done in the presence of Leah, a foreigner, the Chinese would risk losing face to the entire outside world she represents. Furthermore, the face lost wouldn’t just be his or her own, but the entire country, which the offender represents.

I mean, just what would Leah think? Of China, no less.

expat traffic warden zhuzhou henan chengguan

Photo: Yangtse


American With Good Intentions Ridiculed For Helping Victim In China

Posted: 09/18/2014 2:07 pm

nanjing broken vase foreignerThe “broken vase” trick is a scam in China where con artists feign being accident victims in order to win cash settlements from unsuspecting people that think they are at fault. It’s an old scam with many variations, and it’s a main reason why Chinese people are usually more than reluctant to help anyone in need, lest they became victims of fraud themselves.

Adding to the number of savvy Chinese that can spot such a scam, Weibo user ”Piggy Sister That Doesn’t Want To Grow Up” published pictures that show “a clear and brazen case of the broken vase scam”.

READ: What the Broken Vase Scam Is, and How to Avoid Being Duped

The photographs show a man with an injured leg in the middle of the road outside the Nanjing Red Cross Society Hospital on the morning of September 17. A three-wheeled vehicle idles beside him as pedestrians and cyclists simply pass the fallen man.

When a non-Chinese man wearing dark green clothes comes forward to give help, he is criticized for having fallen for the “broken vase” scam. Of this, the Weibo user said, “The laowai can never understand…”

Many local shop owners said the incident happened after 7am when a non-Chinese man was seen speaking to the victim. Then he left, according to a reporter.

nanjing broken vase foreigner

“Reminded Me of My Mother”

The reporter was able to track down the would-be good samaritan, a 30-something expat from the USA named “Sam” (a pseudonym) who is currently working in Nanjing. Sam said seeing the victim reminded him of his own mother, who was recently involved in a traffic accident herself.

However, Sam said he became very doubtful when he saw bystanders gathering to laugh at him. One bystander waved a hand at him and shouted, “No, no, no!”

READ: Guangzhou Drunk Drivers Extorted in Staged Collisions

Sam was not able to communicate with the man, who would only cover his forehead with his left hand and sporadically let out a shrill cry of pain. Sam saw he couldn’t do anything, so left. He said he couldn’t understand why the bystanders were trying to get him to stop.

nanjing broken vase foreigner

“Broken Vase” or No “Broken Vase”?

For this to be a “broken vase” scam, the con artist would try to blame the fraud victim (Sam) for the accident and attempt to extort money, which didn’t happen. However, local Nanjing residents were still suspicious because the incident happened just outside of a hospital.

The Yueya Lake police sub-station confirmed the incident was not a “broken vase” scam, but something else entirely.

The story is this: Police from the Yueya Lake sub-station responded to a burglary at 1pm at Zhonghe Bridge after a man fell from a second story apartment. This unidentified man was not confirmed to be a thief, and was taken to Nanjing Red Cross Society Hospital to treat his broken leg.

The police say the unnamed man blamed police for the fall, and wants them to pay his hospital bill. Upon being discharged, the man lay down in the middle of the road as a way to claim his rights.

nanjing broken vase foreigner



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