Cover Stories: The Book Gets a Look

When it comes to the PRC, even the most innocuous choices—say, a book cover for a city guide—can turn into frustration. The audience for this Shanghai guidebook is primarily made up of expats. But anything that goes into China, even briefly, even if it will leave China once again, must adhere to Chinese rules. Expats…

The Two-Body Problem

A few months ago, I had lunch in Shanghai with a very pregnant American friend preparing to give birth in China (and she has since had a baby girl). As I sat listening to her hilarious stories of body shaming—a regular occurrence at her doctor’s office—I realized that I could not recall ever seeing a…

Chasing Windmills at Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve

This time last spring, I went looking for cranes. Hooded cranes to be exact. The idea was to write a post contrasting Shanghai’s overwintering hooded cranes with the other kind of cranes found in Shanghai—tower cranes. I read up on Chinese cranes in folklore. . . blah blah. It was a nice idea, but the…

Test and Arrest: Pot in Shanghai

Imagine: You’re an expat living in Shanghai. Your semi-retired, California dreamin’ parents have been taking the edge off their aches and pains with a little pot, and now they’ve arrived in Shanghai for a visit. You take them out to a hip local bar for a drink (isn’t Shanghai trendy). Suddenly, the police arrive and shut…

Death To the iPhone

In China, if you really want to know what’s happening, ask your driver. Xiao Lin assured me, a mere 15 minutes into the drive from the airport, that the iPhone is dying in China; Huawei phones are booming. He had some pointed questions for me, too. Did Americans use Huawei phones? Was Huawei popular in the…

Wet Markets and Postmodern Angst

Let us go, you and I. . . Let’s skitter past the complexities of my recent absence (as well as my current presence)—the AQI was a lovely, round 90 as I stepped off the plane during the tail end of the holiday break this Year of the Pig—factories were closed and traffic had vaporized into…

The Contract

Taking stock today of contracts—social, personal, and professional. Since this is a blog about China, I’ll stick with Chinese contracts or at least the ones that have to do with China. Forbes offers good advice to foreigners about verifying a Chinese contract—check the official ‘chops’ and look up business licenses—that sort of thing. If you’re a foreigner signing a contract in…