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Moving to China

Source: Flickr | Edwin Lee

The world’s second largest country by land area is also the world’s most populous. More than 1.35 billion people live within China’s borders and under the governance of the one party administration headquartered in Beijing. For most of the modern era China has been closed off politically and economically to the West but all that changed with the capitalism-friendly reforms of 1978 which not only made the country a major part of the global economy once more but also made it a viable destination for immigration.

That said, Chinese Green Cards - which grant the right of permanent residency in mainland China - are still among the hardest in the world to obtain. The requirement of a substantial investement or employment history in China is usually essential.

Obtaining a Green Card isn’t the only problem a Western immigrant is likely to encounter. Culture shock is a common problem and is brought on by a range of factors from the language barrier to the business of China’s streets to the unavailability of Western luxury goods to the sizing of Chinese clothes.

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But work, involvement in the community, a good sense of humour and internet shopping are usually enough to overcome these obstacles. Once they have been surmounted the varied and exotic delights of life in China become not only apparent but indispensable.

Civilization developed in China in parallel with the civilizations of the West but led it down very different paths when it comes to art, cuisine, culture, philosophy and politics. Countless academic treatises have been devoted to these differences but only full immersion in Chinese life suffices to fully appreciate the Chinese way. Those with an open mind and a hunger for knowledge will find China’s almost limitless offerings a feast for mind, body and soul.

Cities in China