Chunjie kuai le from The Nanfang

Posted: 02/9/2013 4:17 pm

Photo courtesy Top China Travel

It’s party time in the PRD and across China as the Chinese Lunar New Year is rung in.  Unfortunately, as we already noted, there won’t be nearly as many large-scale fireworks shows in the PRD this year.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun; there is no doubt plenty going on over the next 7 days.

Many of you have time off work for the Chunjie holiday, and we will too. Posting will be sporadic at best until we all return to work following the break.

So here’s to you and yours for a fantastic Year of the Snake.


Guy in Shenzhen stabbed 10 times while trying to protect girlfriend from perverts

Posted: 02/5/2013 7:00 am

A young man was stabbed ten times on Feb. 2 after he tried to stop two men from harassing his girlfriend as he was walking her to a bus station in Shenzhen, according to The Daily Sunshine. He is in stable condition and police in Baoan District are looking for the attackers.

At around 4:30 a.m., Xiao Yang was walking his girlfriend, Xiao Guo, to the bus station from which she intended to travel home to Sichuan Province for the Spring Festival holiday.

Two men approached them from behind and groped the 18 year-old Xiao Guo, but the couple didn’t get a good look at their faces because it was too dark.

Xiao Yang’s clothes that were taken off after he entered the hospital.

When they started harassing Xiao Guo, Xiao Yang tried to get the attention of passers-by, which seemed to provoke the attackers and draw their attention. They pulled out two knives and left Xiao Yang with three major stab wounds (two of which were on his back), and eight smaller stab wounds on the rest of his body.

Even after he was wounded, he attempted to chase the men. He underwent four hours of surgery at the hospital.

Police said yesterday that there are two suspects they are particularly interested in talking two, but they had not yet found them.
Xiao Yang will not get to see his family this Spring Festival as they are in Sichuan.


“Magic tools” becoming popular for long, uncomfortable train rides home

Posted: 01/24/2013 4:53 pm

Chunyun is right around the corner, and the mad dash for train tickets is well underway. Thousands of people have been waiting in front of train station ticket windows in desperate attempts to secure a soft sleeper, or in some cases, just a hard seat.

People who get tickets are considered the lucky ones, because not everybody will. There simply aren’t enough trains.  Last year, the government launched online purchasing and a real name registration system to try to make the things easier, but it did little help. The online purchasing system crashed several times after it launched and people say human beings aren’t fast enough to order a tickets through the system; once some seats become available, they are gone within fractions of a second, probably to computer algorithms set to buy the seats. On Weibo, many netizens also believe the system is modified to save tickets for staff, who can sell them later at a considerable markup.

For those that need to travel, the hard seats are among the easier tickets to get. Especially compared to the beds, which tend to sell out first. However, sitting on a hard seat for two hours is one thing; sitting on one for 24 hours in a well-lit train car is quite another. While people who haven’t got tickets yet are trying every which way to get one, people who are “lucky” enough to get hard seats have been busy buying Shen Qi, or “magic tools”, on Taobao to make their journey slightly more comfortable.

So without further adieu, some popular Chinese travel tools:

Sleeping Support

This handy tool allows people to fall asleep “comfortably” while sitting in their seat. The top part provides a place for them to rest their head, and the middle section keeps them safely in place.

Price: 123 kuai

Sleeping Hat

More like a sleeping bag for the head, than a hat. This blocks out all sounds and light and theoretically allows you to get some sleep (although it looks like it could get quite hot in there).

Price: 57 kuai

Nail Shoes

Similar to anti-pervert shoes, these spikey footwear can be used as weapons on creepy nongmin dudes.

Adult Diapers

Self explanatory.

Paper Ma Jiang

A paper, disposable version of a popular Chinese game. Much easier to carry for long journeys than the plastic chips.


Foshan pair busted for finding ingenious way to help people get home for CNY are released

Posted: 01/24/2013 11:00 am

The couple would collect the migrant workers’ I.D. cards to book the tickets in their name as many did not have time to join the lengthy queues.

A Foshan couple have been released after controversially being arrested for ‘scalping’ train tickets last week, Shenzhen Daily reports.

The couple in Foshan were arrested for selling the tickets without a license. Their business, which they started in November, involved collecting ID cards of migrant workers and then buying the tickets on their behalf. Some migrant workers don’t have access to online purchasing, so this was an easier way for them to secure a train ride home.

For their trouble, the couple charged 10 yuan per ticket. Most migrant workers who commented on the story said they thought this was reasonable.

Although police called it the biggest case of scalping so far this year and said the couple, Mr. Zhong and Mrs. Ye, would likely be in jail for up to three years, the couple received much sympathy for figuring out a creative way of helping the workers get home for the Spring Festival.

Now, 10 days after being detained, the couple have been released, and police have yet to explain why. They were initially expected to spend the holiday in police custody.

The couple’s lawyer, Liu Xiujiao, wrote on Sina Weibo thanking everybody for their concern, but also did not give an explanation for why they were released.

A picture of a woman urinating while in the queue for train tickets instead of going to the bathroom and losing her place.

China’s annual Spring Festival travel rush, known as chunyun, is the largest human migration in the world, and even with the new high-speed rail line and additional flights, China simply doesn’t have the infrastructure to cope with the demand for tickets.

To get an idea of how determined people are to get to the front of the queue for the tickets, consider the image that went viral on Sina Weibo in recent days of an attractive young woman squatting down and urinating on the street to avoid going to the toilet and losing her place in the queue.


At 40,000 RMB a week, Spring Festival is looking more like Spring Disaster

Posted: 02/1/2012 12:38 pm

Monday was chuba, the eighth day of the new year. For most of us, it was the day to get back to work after a short but joyous Chunjie, and also the day to start collecting red packets from employers.

Reunions with family and loved ones aside, as Southern Metropolis Daily (SMD) reported this week, the lunar new year is increasingly a holiday of heavy cash flow and difficult to enjoy without handing out at least 10,000 RMB—or more, depending on one’s position in the family hierarchy. Younger PRDers, meanwhile, complain that between visits to friends and relatives, dinner parties and other outings and, for the married among us, the handing out of red packets, year-end bonuses now tend to be gone almost as soon as they arrive.

In telling this story, SMD profiled 30-year-old Wang, a media professional in Guangzhou who spent more than 40,000 RMB this Chunjie. The standard fare for a red packet, she says, has gone from 300 RMB up now to 500 RMB. People also have higher expectations for gifts. Keen to ‘save face’ as much as they can without going bankrupt, people now tend to guess the costs of incoming gifts and send more expensive gifts in return. According to Wang, all this back-and-forth has grown far too complicated: “To be honest,” she says, “I don’t really want to go home for Chunjie.”

A new kind of Chunjie—春劫, meaning “spring disaster”—is a term now used quite frequently online to describe people’s experiences around this time of year. Experts say this new “Chunjie” phenomenon represents a shift in the value people now place on traditional culture.

“Not only during Spring Festival,” writes Hu Qiuye, a well-known cultural studies scholar. “We can see one-upmanship in many other ways and customs; values have been twisted such that the first standard to measure a person’s success now depends on the amount of money in his pocket.”

As for Wang, here’s where her 40,000 RMB went this year:

Round-trip tickets for her and her boyfriend: 4,500 RMB
Gifts: 11,000 RMB
Restaurant bills: 2,000 RMB
Lucky money (red packets): 4,000 RMB
Cash for Mother: 20,000 RMB


Nanfang TV: Guangzhou lit up to ring in the Year of the Dragon

Posted: 01/26/2012 11:40 am

Guangzhou is known to put on a spectacular fireworks show each year to ring in the new year, but it topped itself on Monday night.

It’s estimated that 288,000 fireworks were set off on the first day of the Year of the Dragon, easily beating last year’s total of 180,000 explosives.  As usual, the Pearl River provided a spectacular backdrop to the show.

You can watch news coverage and highlights of the fireworks performance below.