What Are People In China Like?

In all of China or even specifically in Dalian, you will meet many different kinds of people with many different personalities. No two people are the same. Everyone has their different likes and dislikes, personality quirks, and different ways that they think. However, though, because of being apart of the same country, language, and culture there seem to be some general similarities that most Chinese people share. I would like to give in this blog post my opinions and things I have observed about Chinese people from my time living in Dalian, China. I hope to give the best answer I can to the question, “What are people here like?”

In order to help me learn more about Chinese people I presented five different personal questions at an English Corner and had ten of the people that attended answer the questions in their own words. For this post, I will write out the questions I asked at the English corner. I will give a short explanation I gave of the question, a summary of the answers I received, and my own thoughts on the question. The opinions I give are simply my opinions. These can and will probably change over time as I get to know Chinese people better. I have enjoyed getting to know people here in Dalian, China and think people here are friendly and fun to be around. They are a great people. I am privileged to get to know them.

Are You An Organized Person?

I described organized as being a person that like to things according to a plan and in an orderly fashion. Three of the ten people I asked said that they would describe themselves as an organized person. The rest described themselves as being organized. One guy explained that the reason he describes himself as being organized today is because from a child he has been surrounded by a structure of school and study that has forced him to have a schedule. He has had to plan out what things he needs to get done. I would agree with his comment. It seems like most Chinese people have such an intense education schedule in primary, middle school, and high-school that it causes them to have a habit of having a schedule and working to get tasks done. Of course, not all people are organized, but I would say that the majority of people lean more towards being on the organized side especially when it comes to keeping a schedule. When you arrange to meet someone at a certain time, they will usually show up five to ten minutes early or let you know in advance if they can`t make it. It is extremely rare for them to just not show up and not tell you why.

Are You An Open Or Closed Person?

I described an open person as a person that is open to new ideas. On the other hand, I described a closed person as a person that is less acceptive of change. He or she likes things to stay the same way that they are. Out of the ten people I asked this question, two of them said that they would consider themselves closed while the rest said that they are more open to change. I think most Chinese people are very open to change. Pretty much all of old Chinese culture and ways were taken away during the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960`s and early 1970`s. Therefore, the cultural of China today is a very new culture and people have been experiencing and embracing much change over the last few decades. There are always some people that are more closed to new ideas, but it seems like most people in China are open and welcoming change.

Are You A Warm or Cold Person?

I described a warm person as a person that is an approachable and social kind of person. They are usually very friendly and enjoy spending time with other people around them.  I described a cold person as someone that is un-approachable and anti-social. Everyone I asked this question said that they would consider themselves a warm person. Probably no one wanted to be known as being an anti-social person. Maybe some of the people I asked are less social than others but did not want to be known as being less social. However, I do think most of the Chinese people I know are very social and friendly to me. Many of the people I know are trying to learn English, so they especially want to be friendly to me, a native English speaker. When, I observe Chinese people interact with each other though it seems that people are not over the top friendly. When you see people buy something at a store or go about their normal activities, they usually do not engage in much small talk or go out of their way to meet new people. They stay more to themselves. Once they meet someone new and do establish a relationship with them though they seem to be very friendly and outgoing and will spend much time with people they know. On the whole I would say Chinese people are a friendly and warm people.

Are You A Trusting Or Distrusting Person?

I described a trusting person as someone that is not afraid of people around him. He or she does not fear people hurting him and usually trusts people with things without knowing them that well. I described a distrusting person as someone that is more suspicious of people. This kind of person will usually not trust people with things until they know that person well. When I asked ten people about whether they were a trusting or distrusting person, three people said they were distrusting while the rest said they would consider them self a trusting person. Many of them said that the reason they are trusting of people is because they want people to trust them back. In China, it seems like people are very trusting of people that are in their circles. People will often be very trusting of people they naturally spend time with such as co-workers or classmates. If someone is in a circle they are in; they will often trust them even if they haven`t known that person for very long.

What is your family situation like?

I asked people about the size of the family they grew up in. Of the ten people I asked, three said that they had one sibling while the rest were an only child. Most of the middle-aged and younger generations in China come from a home where they were an only child. This is because of the Chinese government`s one-child policy. This creates an interesting cultural phenomenon. Generally people that grow up as a single child are more spoiled and selfish and have more attention given to them growing up than children that have siblings. When nearly everyone in the country grows up like this, it makes for an interesting society. People are more inclined to look out for themselves and getting their own way. While this is true of every society, it seems to maybe be just a little more noticeable in China because of the majority of people being from only child homes.


How do Chinese people accept foreign missionaries? What is their natural attitude towards them like? It is important for someone that is planning to do missionary work in China, to know what people`s natural reaction to them is going to be like.

What is their attitude towards missionaries?

People think that anyone involved with promoting Christianity is promoting an idea that comes from the West. They think good or bad that missionaries are teaching something that is not native to China, and that is a foreign idea for Chinese society. Their natural reaction to Christianity is not necessarily a negative reaction but rather that they think it is an interesting concept that doesn`t affect them.  It is best to not call yourself a missionary while in China, but rather call yourself a Bible teacher. Because of things that have happened in the past the word missionary can have a negative connotation. It can cause people to think of someone that is trying to start a revolution or promote western capitalism.

What have missionaries done that have caused hard feelings and problems?

1. Christianity Associated With Revolt:

In China`s history, there was a major revolt against the government started by a man, Hong Xiuquan that claimed to be Jesus` brother and promote a false form of Christianity. This civil war took place from 1850 to 1864. Hong Xiuquan started the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, which revolted against the reigning Qing Dynasty. It was a major war with the Qing dynasty eventually defeating the Taiping rebels, but not until after a serious death toll had taken place. Some sources put the death toll high enough to have been the fifth largest war in history. All of it started by a man that read a tract given to him by Christian missionaries and spent two months studying the Bible with an American Southern Baptist. Obviously from his claim to be Jesus` brother he was not a real Christian, but many people that are not Christians may think he was actually a Christian. Understanding more about this rebellion helps me see why even to today the Chinese government is suspicious of Christian groups starting up. This group that started up calling themselves Christian was responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

2. Missionaries Have Sided With Foreign COUNTRIEs In Their Wars Against China.

In many of the wars between western powers and China, missionaries have found themselves often against their will to be on the side of the western power attacking China. In the opium wars, missionaries found themselves associated with the British, who were illegally importing, getting people addicted to, and selling opium to the Chinese. In the Boxer Rebellion, missionaries were rightfully or wrongfully associated with the looting and other terrible atrocities committed by the western powers in the aftermath of the war. Missionaries have always been associated with western imperialism and foreigners trying to assert power over China.


Resources used in writing this article:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxer_Rebellion
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiping_Rebellion
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Xiuquan

 

Health Care In Dalian

How are the medical facilities and medical care in Dalian?

As of 2015, there currently is not an international hospital in Dalian. An international hospital is a hospital that operates according to modern standards of medicine. Its healthcare would be of much better quality than an average hospital. Also, the doctors usually use Western standards of medicine and are fluent in English. These hospitals while offering excellent service are often quite expensive. The closest international hospital is in Beijing though plans have been made for an international hospital to open up in Dalian.

The normal public hospitals in China are usually not up to the standards and quality that an international hospital would have though this would vary by the individual city and hospital that you go to. Hospitals outside of the major cities will probably have a much lower quality of healthcare. Some other things that make it hard for a foreigner to use a public hospital is that the staff usually only speaks minimal English, the hospital does not keep any kind of records (patients keep their own health records), patients have to provide all their own food, and the lines to see a doctor are often long. One of the benefits of the public hospitals is that they are usually very cheap.

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Public Hospital In Dalian

What if I have to take medicine on a regular basis (i.e. insulin, etc.)?

You will always need to check before coming to China to see if the medicine that you are required to take is available for you to get on a regular and cost-effective basis in China. Your best option is to have a friend in China contact a local doctor to check on the medication you need. Do not trust the information you get online as it is not always updated or entirely accurate. Insulin is available as many people in China also suffer from diabetes.

What are the pros and cons of having a baby in China?

The advantages of having a baby in China is that you do not have to spend the time and expense to travel back to your home country for the delivery. The downside of having a baby in China is that you have to have the delivery in the middle of an entirely different culture. Chinese people definitely have different ideas and procedures for pregnancy and delivery than you would experience in your home country. This could lead to many frightening and extremely uncomfortable situations. Much of this tension is alleviated if you have the baby at an international hospital, but there still may be some things that will be strange or different.

Moving To China

It is always a scary and exciting time for someone when they move from one country to another. There is always a lot of preparation that goes into making an international move. It is not at all a simple task. This post is written to help you get ready for moving to China from another country. It hopefully will give you a better idea of what items and things are available in China. My desire is that it would help you in a small way have a better idea about how to prepare for your move to China.

What things should I take with me to China?

When a person moves to China, they need to realize that they are moving to a country that is a mega-manufacturer of products and has tons of items available for purchase. More often than not China will have more different kinds of products available than the country you are moving from. You are moving to a country that often has more technologically advanced products than the country you are moving from. Therefore most of the things you will need you will be able to find available in China. Most things you will be able to buy at a store or online in China. Still though, there are a few things that you should consider bringing with you.

  • Expensive Electronics: Electronics such as Apple computers and phones though made in China are more expensive to buy in China than in the United States because of the import taxes. If you plan to buy expensive electronics, check to see if they are cheaper in your country or in China. You may want to bring these items with you.
  • Over the counter cold, allergy, pain, and other medications: Many of these medications will probably not be available at the local pharmacy in Dalian, so you should bring them with you.
  • Custom Kitchen Appliances: Appliances such as a food processor and stand mixer. These may not be available or will be very expensive to buy in China.
  • Tennis Shoes, Big Towels, and Large Size Clothes: (Most Chinese stores will not have your size if you wear large sizes). You may be able to find these items available, but it will be cheaper to bring these things with you.
  • Deodorant, Makeup, and Other Personal Care Products: You may not find the items you want or prefer in China, so it is best to bring these items with you.

There may be other things that you should bring with you, but this is a basic list that will hopefully get you started.

What things should I wait to buy in China?

The majority of things that you need can be bought in China. Whatever needed items that you do not decide to bring with you should be bought in China. You definitely wait to buy your car and appliances in China.

What are the pros and cons of taking a container of my personal items to China?

The advantages of bringing a container of your personal goods to China is that you would save the expense of having to buy new furniture and things when you arrive. You also can bring the things you like and are used to so that your new house feels more like home.

The disadvantages of bringing a container are the cost of shipping, the possibility of your container being held in customs for several weeks, and the possibility or your items getting damaged during shipment.

How much does shipping items to China cost?

As you can see from the sample quote below, it will cost about $2000 to ship a full container from the United States to Dalian, China. The price is less if you decide to ship a half full container. This price includes the drop-off and pick-up of your container at your port of load but does not include the fees you must pay to an agent in China to get your container through customs.

Screenshot 2015-09-15 17.11.04

Should I ship a vehicle to China or buy one in China?

You should not ship a vehicle to China. It will be much more cost effective to buy a vehicle in China. Cars are moderately priced in China, and you can buy a new car for an affordable price. In addition to significant shipping fees, you are going to pay at least 17% of the vehicle value if not much more in taxes. Also, the hassle or getting the car through customs will not make it worth it. It will be best to buy a car in the China.

What kind of vehicles are available in China?

Pretty much any kind of vehicle you want is available in China. You might not can find the exact model or style of car as a similar car in your home country, but you will be able to find something that is very similar. Most of your well-known car brands are available here. There are also Chinese car brands that make and sell many decent cars here in China. You may not have heard of these brands before. Some of the common Chinese brands are Chery, Geely, Dongfeng Motor, Foton, & BYD. I surveyed a local parking lot to see what brands of cars local people in Dalian were driving. In a small parking lot, I found among other brands of cars a Mercedes, Honda, Volvo, Volkswagon, Subaru, Chevrolet, BMW, Citroen, Toyota, Nissan, Audi, Buick, Ford, and Lexus. You do not have to worry about not being able to find a vehicle you like in China. There is an abundance of vehicles available.

What is the cost and availability of car parts in China?

Car parts are readily available in China for normal prices. If a local store does not have the parts you need in stock, you can always buy them online and have them delivered express delivery, and they will arrive in a couple of days.

How do we send our personal library (books) to China?

With modern technology, your best option is to get electronic copies of the books you like to read or will use. If you have a book on Kindle or other ebook programs, you should have no problem downloading and reading them once you are in China. There is no reason to ship over a whole shelf of actual paper books. They will only take up extra weight on your luggage.

How much are appliances (washer, dryer, refrigerator, etc.)?

Below I have posted some photos of average quality appliances that show the prices that a local appliance store has them for sell for.  It is sometimes hard to find a dryer for sale at an appliance store as they are not used that much in China. Therefore, I posted a picture of one I found for sale online. There is a variety of brands and prices of appliances for sale in Dalian. These photos are just a sample of what maybe someone might buy. The actual cost of the appliances you buy will depend on the quality and niceness of the products that you choose.

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Front Load Washer ¥3699 = $607

Screenshot 2015-09-15 16.59.03

Dryer ¥2680 = $439

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Refrigerator With Freezer Compartment ¥2990 = $490

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Electric Powered Oven ¥7980 = $1308

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Gas Powered Cooktop ¥3380 =$554

Housing In Dalian

When moving to Dalian, one of the first things that you will need to do is to find a place to live. This post gives you some information about what housing is like in Dalian, how to rent, and other information in regards to getting housing in Dalian.

What kind of house can I expect to live in?

In Dalian, you can expect to live in a high-rise apartment complex. Your building will probably be between 5 and 30 stories tall. You will probably have a parking garage in the basement and maybe a shared yard that everyone in the complex uses. This is the most common type of housing in Dalian. The size of your house will depend on the amount of money you are willing to spend, but it will be hard to find a house that is bigger than three bedrooms and two baths. If you want something bigger than this, you will probably have to rent adjoining apartments and connect them.

What will it cost me to set up my house in Dalian?

The cost of setting up your house will depend on how much remodeling work will need to be done and how nice of furniture and appliances you buy. It will be totally different from house to house and person to person. However, I looked online at the local Ikea store and also went to a local appliance store and gathered some prices of what I think each of the major appliances and furniture that you need will cost. These prices are estimates only, and I tried to base them off of items that are of average price. I did not try to get the cheapest price or the most expensive price. These prices are a non-precise estimate, but I hope they give you a better idea of what it will take to completely set up a new house in Dalian with all new furniture and appliances.

Bed  $550, Mattress $150, Chest of drawers $200, Wardrobe $600, 2 Bedside Tables $200, Dining Table Set $800, Sofa Set $800, Coffee Table $50, Cabinet and Media Storage $400, Water Heater $700, Stove Top and Hood $1100, Oven $1300, Microwave $200, Washer Drier Combo $1600, Fridge $600, Kitchen Cabinets $500, Kitchen Sink & Faucet $250, Bathroom Storage $100, 2nd Bedroom Single Bed $250, 2nd Bedroom Mattress $150, 2nd Bedroom Chest of Drawers $200, 2nd Bedroom Bedside Tables $200

All of these items together total: $10,900. This only includes major furniture and appliances. It does not include all of the little household items that you need.

What will it cost to live in a house instead of an apartment?

There is not really much of an opportunity if you live inside the city area of Dalian to live in a house. There are single family houses in the city, but all the ones that I have seen are reserved for government officials and leaders. They are the only ones allowed to live in these houses. There may be houses available in the city, I just haven`t found any. Once you get outside of the city and into the area that the city hasn`t completely expanded out to you will find some detached single family houses available. So, living in a house versus an apartment is more a question of is there a house available in the area of town you want to live in rather than how much more does it cost. Over 95% of the people in Dalian if not more will live in some style of apartment building.

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Apartment Buildings In Dalian

What kind of electric current will my house have?

Your house will use 220-volt voltage. Many of your computers and phone chargers are compatible with both 220 and 110 voltages. However, many other electronics are not. If you plan to use 110-volt electronics, you will need to use a power converter. Below is a picture of the standard plugs that you will find in houses in Dalian. These plugs have two different styles of sockets. If your electronic`s plug is different from either of these two styles, then you will need to use a plug adapter.

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How do I rent a place to live, What is the process of renting?

The first step to renting a house is to find the house that you want to rent. To do this, you can either look online or go to a local real estate office and look through the houses they have available. A website that shows houses for rent in Dalian is: 58.com. Here is a link for the local version of the website: 58.com 

Once you find the house that you want to buy, the next step is to agree to the terms, sign the contract, and pay the Landlord.

Finally, after getting all of the rental agreements worked out, you and your landlord need to make sure that you register that you are renting the house with the local government. They will provide you with a document that you will need for other kinds of paperwork and registration that you will do in the city.

What kind of contract do I have to sign?

Most rental contracts are for one year. Usually, always the total amount of the rent has to be paid up front. You can`t just pay it by the month. Also, the person renting is usually responsible for paying their own electric, water, cable, and internet bills.

What is the cost of a hotel to stay at until finding a house?

Usually, you can get a decent hotel for an average of between US$30-40 per night. Weekends and summertime always have somewhat higher prices. You can rent a room at a regular hotel, or you can find a room that is available for short-term rental in an apartment complex. This kind of room has the advantage that it often comes with a mini kitchen and washing machine.

Family In Dalian

When you think about moving to China with your family, you probably will have some questions relating to what life will be like for your family. This post is written to help answer some of those questions.

How safe is it in Dalian, Will my children be safe?

Living in China has the advantage that the country as a whole is a relatively safe place to live. There is usually no reason to worry about violent crime. Guns, gangs, and drugs are banned, and most people feel very safe about going out on the streets even late at night. Dalian is no exception and is a safe place to live.

China is a relatively safe place for your children to live. You should of course exercise caution and make sure your children are close to you when you are out in public places. There have been some reports on the news of children being stolen in China. However, this is something that is more of a fear for Chinese parents and is not something you have to really worry about if you exercise normal caution while out in public. There is more danger to be found with just living in a big city. Buses, cars, tall buildings, escalators, and lack of guardrails pose more of a threat to your children’s safety than anything else. You must be careful when you are out with your children to avoid accidents with these kinds of things. These are some of the dangers your children will face, but I would say on the whole that if you exercise normal caution there is little chance of something really bad happening. Dalian has a safe environment for your children to grow up in.

Can we have a pet for our children? Can we have a dog with us?

You can have a pet for your children! Many Chinese people have different kinds of pets and do not have any problem owning a pet. You must, of course, check with the Landlord of the place you rent to make sure that it is ok for you to own a pet in your specific rental situation.

It can be very inconvenient to have a pet in Dalian. You will be living inside the city, and most people will live in a multi-home apartment complex. This means that they do not have an individual yard that their pet can live in. If they have a pet, the pet will have to stay with them inside their small apartment. This is something you must consider when deciding whether to get a pet for your children in Dalian.

You can bring a dog or other pet with you from the United States. However, this is a complicated process that involves making sure you have the right vaccination certificate, health certificate, and meet other requirements. Also, your pet may be subject to a mandatory quarantine time of up to 30 days. You can find out more about the requirements to bring pets into China at http://www.pettravel.com/immigration/china.cfm

Who will my children play with?

Your children will be able to play with other Chinese boys and girls that are their age. It will be good for them to make friends with local kids, and Chinese parents are always very excited about their kids getting to play with a foreigner`s kids.   Playing with other Chinese children their age will also give your kids much help in learning Chinese.

What activities will my children be able to take part in?

Weekly Activities: Your kids can take part in local activities that are available for kids in Dalian. They can take part in dance classes, rollerblading, swimming, badminton, ping-pong and other activities and classes for kids.

Fun Day Trip Activities: In addition to regular weekly activities, you will also be able to take your kids to enjoy some cool places in Dalian. Some great places to take your kids to visit in Dalian would be: The Dalian Forest Zoo, Xinghai Square Amusement Park, Tiger Beach Ocean Park, or visit one of Dalian`s beaches to swim in the ocean.

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DALIAN FOREST ZOO

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XINGHAI SQUARE AMUSEMENT PARK

Where will my small children be while I am in language school?

You can hire a maid to watch your kids at your house while you and your wife attend language school. The easiest and most convenient option is to use a maid company. You will pay them a fee, and they will guarantee to get you a maid and allow you to try different maids until you can find the one that you like and want to use.

What school will my children go to in Dalian?

Your children can attend school in Dalian. Probably your best option will be to find a good private school for them to attend. They may be able to attend a Chinese public school, but the teaching quality will be lower and many Chinese public schools will not want foreigners to attend. Either way, public or private school you must pay for their schooling though the private school will probably be much more expensive.

The advantages of your children attending a local Chinese school is that they will get to learn the Chinese characters from a young age. This will allow them to grow up not only speaking, but also being able to read and to write in Chinese. If they do not learn the characters from a young age, it will be harder for them to go back and learn them later in life.

Spiritual Condition Of Dalian

This post is written to help you get an idea about the amount of Christianity in Dalian. I hope this post is a help to you. I will answer some basic questions that will help you hopefully to better gauge what kind of influence Christianity has in Dalian, China.

How many churches are there in Dalian?

In China, a country controlled by the communist party which does not acknowledge the existence of God, it is nearly impossible to determine the amount of churches in a specific area. The reason is because most of the Christian churches in China are underground churches that are not registered with the government. They do not advertise publicly their location and existence but are only found out about through word of mouth. There is no way to keep a tally on exactly where and how many churches are located in Dalian, China. Most Christian people here know of the existence of a few other churches, but I doubt greatly that many people know where all the churches are in Dalian. However, despite this fact I did some research that will hopefully help you get a better idea of the amount of churches and the spiritual condition of people in Dalian. How many people regularly go to church in Dalian? To answer this question, we must first find out what percent of people are Christians in Dalian. To help find out an accurate percentage of Christians in Dalian, I did my own personal study. I asked a hundred different people that I met on the street if they were a Christian. Out of the hundred random people I asked five told me that they were a Christian. This would mean according to my poll that about 5% of people in Dalian believe in Christianity or some form of it. This number also agrees with a worldwide poll done by the Pew Forum group in 2010 that puts the percentage of Christians in China at 5.1%. The population of Dalian is a little less than 6.7 million people which means that there are about 335,000 people that claim to be Christians in Dalian. It is impossible to know what percentage of these people regularly attend churches, but for my numbers I am going to suppose that half of them are regular church attendees. If the average church has 100 people in attendance, this would mean that Dalian has 1,675 churches that would in some way identify themselves as Christian.

Open Churches: I am putting together a list of churches here that I have run across that openly advertise as a church in Dalian. I have found these churches either openly advertising online or with a sign in public view. There definitely are many more churches that could be added to this list, but these are the ones that I was able to find.

  • Dalian Catholic Church: This church`s building is a historic building, but the church still has regular times of Mass each week. They have a website with pictures, contact, and directions. http://www.dlcatholic.org.cn
  • Yù Guāng Street Church: This church is very visible right near the downtown area of Dalian. The church also has a place where you can buy Bibles in a room to the side of the church. Location Link
IMG_0332   Yù Guāng Street church
IMG_0336 Inside of Yù Guāng Street Church
  • Bǎi Hé (Lily) Church: This three-self church has a big red cross on the outside. It has the biggest and most visible cross that I have seen in the city.  Location Link
  • Zhù Fú (Blessings) Church: It is located on the Bin Hai West Road near the Xinghai Square.  Location Link
  • Xīn Xīn (New, New) Church:  Location Link
  • Chéng Ēn (Hold Grace) Church: Location Link
  • Fēng Shōu (Abundant Harvest) Church: From the pictures this church looks huge. Location Link
  • Xīng Gōng Street Chapel: Another very big church building. Location Link
  • Yáo Jiā Church: Location Link
  • Xī Ān Shān (Mount Zion) Church: Location Link
  • Gān Jǐng Zǐ Gospel Church: Location Link
  • Church Building Church: Location Link
  • Gé Zhèn Bǎo Church: Location Link
  • Yǐ Mǎ Nèi Lì (Emanuel) Church Location Link

Underground Churches: It is much harder to find out about underground house churches though there are many of them. You will generally only find out about these churches through word of mouth. I personally through word of mouth have heard of eleven different house churches. I am sure there are hundreds more, but from the friends I know these are all that I have heard of. There are also a few international churches that exist in Dalian. These churches are real churches, but they only are allowed to let foreign passport holders in to worship at their churches.

What missionaries are working in the city, what boards are they from, and what types of ministries do they have?

There are many people in Dalian doing missionary type of work. Very few people are actually planting churches. Many of them work as English teachers and witness to their students during non-class hours. Others will have some sort of business that they do in Dalian and will try to use their free time to assist churches or evangelize locals. The majority of missionary work done in Dalian is not church planting focused.

What national missionaries are working in the city?

There are many national Chinese pastors that are leading house churches throughout the city of Dalian. I have not heard of any national Chinese missionaries in Dalian. A missionary meaning someone that raises funds from outside sources with the intent of planting churches. When using the term this way, I do not know of any national missionaries, but there are churches in Dalian that are pastored by national pastors.

Are there Christian bookstores and Christian radio or television stations available in Dalian?

Christian Bookstores: I know of one Christian bookstore in Dalian. There are probably others. This store is called Proverbs book store, and it has a relationship with a nearby government church. Inside the store, you can buy Bibles, popular Christian books in Chinese, as well as Christian-themed trinkets and souvenirs.

IMG_0338 Proverbs Christian Bookstore
IMG_0340 Proverbs Christian Bookstore

In addition to physical bookstores, you can buy an abundance of Christian literature online. You can order Bibles and have them shipped directly to your house as well as other Christian books. Probably the best place to buy stuff online in China is at Taobao.com

Christian Radio: There is no public live streaming Christian radio station in Dalian. Nor would you be able to legally start one. However, there are Christian radio stations that use the internet to spread the Gospel. Most of these kind of stations will use apps on smartphones to allow people to listen to their messages. The radio could have a live feed or just be a stockpile of new audio programs that you can select from to listen to. Also, most online Christian radio stations from overseas can also be accessed in China. There is an abundance of audio resources available. It is just a matter of finding which ones you like that are helpful. It can be hard to find a program that you are looking for.

Christian TV: There are no public Christian TV stations in Dalian. The government does not allow someone to create their own Christian TV station or any other TV station for that matter because all the TV stations in China are government run and censored. There is, however, a website online called: Fuyin.tv (Gospel.TV) This website has an abundance of Christian videos including Christian movies, sermons, conferences, etc. You can watch these videos online or download them to watch later. It is not an online streaming TV station, but it does have an abundance of video resources. You can access the site at fuyin.tv

Screenshot 2015-09-10 17.14.58(2)Screen shot of fuyin.tv home page

What other kinds of ministries are in Dalian?

College ministry groups such as YWAM and Campus Crusade will do college campus ministry in Dalian. They will often have groups come for short periods of time to try to meet college students and share with them about Christ.

What is the history of missions in China?

Christian missions in China has a very exciting and unsettled history. There seems to be a pattern that always repeats itself. Missionaries come and gain access to China. They experience some success and growth. Then the government steps in and stands against foreign missionaries and usually forces them all to leave. Usually after a few years China will again open up, and missionaries will be allowed back in. This pattern keeps repeating itself throughout Chinese history. Robert Morrison was the first Protestant missionary to China. He arrived in China in the year 1907. He and other missionaries that followed him slowly gained an entrance into China. Christianity began to spread. In the 1850`s Hudson Taylor arrived in China. He had much success and was able to start the China Inland Mission, which along with other mission`s agencies was able to reach many people in China for Christ. Missionary activities came to a sudden halt in 1900 with the Boxer rebellion. Foreigners in China during this war were targeted, and many were killed. In fact, 230 western missionaries had their lives taken. After the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, China again opened back up to missionaries. For nearly two decades missionaries were able to operate freely and experienced much success. However, the 1919 May 4th resulted in the start of increased opposition against missionaries. This was only increased with the advent of the Chinese Civil War and the Japanese invasion in WW2. Finally after the Communist takeover in 1949 missionaries were again forced to leave China. Many of them were harassed and persecuted. For nearly three decades, China remained completely closed to missionaries and outside influence. However, since the 1970s China has slowly been opening up to more and more outside trade and influence. This has allowed missionaries to slowly return back to China though they still are not allowed to work openly in China.

What is the church history of China?

The first form of Christianity to enter China was the Nestorian Church, which first entered China in 635AD. It lasted for not much longer than 250 years. However, Nestorian Christians returned in the 1200`s but were again extinct by 1368. The Roman Catholic church first came to China in the 1200`s. It slowly grew from there and despite much conflict with the different forms of Chinese government continued to remain in China, and by 1949 there were approximately 4 million Roman Catholics in China. However, the Roman Catholic church has struggled to coexist with the Chinese communist government. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes the authority of the pope while the communist government does not recognize any outside authority. Therefore, the Catholic Church is split with some Catholics following a government-controlled Catholic Church and others choosing to function illegally recognizing the authority of the pope over the Communist government. Today there are about 9 million people in China that are Catholic. Protestant churches were started after the coming of Robert Morrison to China in 1807. Most Protestant denominations started churches in China. Also in the 1st half of the 20th century different Chinese denominations were started such as The True Jesus Church and The Jesus Family. Shortly after the communist take over in 1949, all evangelical churches were required to register with the government`s three-self church movement. A movement they created to try to bring Christian churches under their control. Many churches registered with the three self-movement and many others went underground and continued assembling without the government`s permission. Today there is still this divide among evangelical churches. Many churches in China are registered with the three-self church, but many more operate without the government`s permission.

What will you need to know to live comfortably and safely in China?

When doing ministry in China, you must realize that you do run some risk. It is not a huge risk, but there is a possibility of losing your permission to live in the country. However, you do not need to live in fear because doing ministry is worth the risk that you take.


  Resources used in this article:

  • http://www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-exec/
  • Book Jesus In Beijing by David Aikman
  • Book A New History of Christianity In China by Daniel H Bays
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_the_East_in_China
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholicism_in_China#Yuan_.281271.E2.80.931368.29_Dynasty
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Self_Patriotic_Movement

Learning Chinese

How long does it take to learn Chinese?

Mandarin Chinese is ranked among the most difficult languages for native English speakers to learn. It takes an estimated 2,200 class hours to learn the language. At 25 hours a week of class, it will take approximately 88 weeks to gain a general proficiency in the language. Obtaining an advanced vocabulary and becoming fully fluent will probably take an even longer time.

Other languages that are more similar to English such as Spanish or French take native English speakers an approximate 600 class hours to learn the language. This is almost one-fourth of the time that it takes to learn Chinese. Chinese is a tonal language meaning that the tone of a word is used to differentiate it from other words with the same sound. Also Chinese does not use an alphabet, but rather uses characters for reading and writing. There is a different character for each word meaning that in order to read or write the word you have to memorize it. Since there are thousands of words that means you have to remember thousands of characters which takes much time.

What is the best way to learn Chinese?

It is absolutely necessary to learn how to pronounce the tones correctly in Chinese. Speaking with correct tones requires much practice and correction. The best way to learn this is to read sentences to a teacher and have him or her constantly correct you when you say words with the wrong tone. To do this, you will need to use pinyin which is a transliteration of the Chinese characters. The pinyin sentences have tone marks that show you what tone to pronounce with each word.

Version 2

Pinyin language lesson

It is helpful when learning the Chinese grammar to memorize sentences. When you memorize a sentence, you are naturally learning the grammar patterns. You are not just memorizing the words, but also the grammar.

Many people say that the hardest part of Chinese for them is listening skills. It is hard to pick out what other people are saying because so many words have such similar sounds. It can be very hard to distinguish what people are trying to tell you. Therefore, you need to practice listening constantly. You need to use whatever means are available; TV, radio, visiting people, etc.

Learning to read and write characters takes tons and tons of time. It is not necessarily difficult, as it is just using your memory skills, but it requires many hours of work. It is probably a good idea to start as soon as you can putting in the hours you need to learn the characters.

What language schools are available in Dalian?

There are two types of schools available in Dalian. Pubilc universities and private schools both offer Chinese language learning courses.

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West Gate of Dalian University of Technology

Most of the universities in Dalian offer a Chinese language program for foreigners. These programs are non-degree programs that teach foreigners how to speak Chinese. They will offer different levels of classes depending on your Chinese ability and will give you approximately 25 hours of class time each week. You will have two semesters in a year starting in March and September. Classes will teach you listening, speaking, reading, and writing and your class size will usually be about ten to fifteen people. You can start at the beginning of either semester, but need to make sure you apply by the application deadline for that semester. You will not need anything other than a high-school diploma to enroll in these courses. The approximate tuition fees will be from 16,000 to 18,000 RMB per year. This comes out to about $2,600 to $2,900 a year. The schools will enable you to get a student visa for the duration of your study time. There will be a few additional fees that must be paid for the visa. A recommended university to do this type of language program at in Dalian is the Dalian University of Technology. For more information about their Chinese courses, you can check out the following link: DUT

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Local Private Chinese School

The other kind of schools to study the Chinese at in Dalian are private Chinese language schools. There are many of them located in Dalian. You can attend these schools full-time instead of a university school, or you can study at them to supplement your university language school program. Many of these schools specialize in oral Chinese or preparation for the Chinese HSK test. These schools are unable to get you an actual student visa (type X), but they may be able to get you another type of visa (type M) that allows you to stay in the country from 120 to 180 days. Their classes can be designed to fit your schedule. They offer a smaller class size or one on one tutoring. You pay for these classes per class segment (Example 45 Minutes), and the price will depend on the size of your class. One on one tutoring is more expensive than attending a small class. I visited a local, private school to get a general idea of what prices cost.  I found out that for a class size of three to four people the approximate price is 40RMB ($6.60) per hour. For a one on one class, the approximate price is 73RMB ($12) per hour.

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Local Private Language School Prices For 45min Classes

You can also hire a local college student or someone looking for part-time work to help you learn the language. This is often a good opportunity to help you practice additional hours of language study. Usually, you would pay someone like this a wage of 20RMB ($3.30) an hour.

I would recommend doing a combination of these different schools. I think it is important to do the university language program, but I also think it is important to do more than just what the university requires if you are going to learn the language quickly. You could do university classes in the morning then go to a private school tutor or hire a local college student to give you additional language instruction in the afternoon.

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Beginner Chinese Book

 

Resources used in writing this article:

  • https://voxy.com/blog/index.php/2011/03/hardest-languages-infographic/
  • http://school.cucas.edu.cn

Ministry In China

What Kind Of Churches Are In China?

There are two main types of churches in China. There are the churches registered with the government`s Three-Self Patriotic Movement commonly called government churches. The other kind of churches in China  known as house churches or family churches. These churches are churches that are not registered with the government`s  Three-Self Patriotic Movement. The teachings, sizes, buildings, outreach, etc. of both groups of churches varies widely among themselves, but I will outline the normal distinctions between each group of churches below.

Government Churches:

  • Have the ability to openly be a church: They can have their own buildings and church signs. They can also freely organize the times they meet.
  • Are under the control of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement: which along with its sister organization the Chinese Christian Council report to the Chinese government`s State Administration for Religious Affairs. Government churches are ultimately under the direct control of the Chinese government.
  • The government controls who teaches, what is taught, and what kinds of evangelism the church can do. Sometimes leniency is given the local church to decide these things but it is still under the government`s control. Also, the length to which these restrictions are enforced varies greatly by region.
  • The book of Revelation is often not allowed to be taught, and sometimes children under the age of 18 are not allowed to be baptized.

House Churches:

  • Meet without government permission: Therefore, they usually do not put out a sign, have a website, or advertise their church publically.
  • Becuase they meet without government permission, they do not follow what the Three-Self Patriotic Church would say as to how to govern and run their church.
  • Each local church decides who their pastor is, what is taught, and how they evangelize others.

Doctrinal Beliefs:

The doctrinal beliefs of both kinds of churches vary widely among themselves. It will depend on the individual church and pastor as to whether Bible truth is taught, and the Gospel is preached. Going to a house church does not guarantee that the Bible will be taught correctly nor does going to a government church guarantee the Bible will be taught correctly. That will depend on the individual local church. However, there are some general statements of faith that the two different kinds of churches follow that reveal the differences between the beliefs of the two. I have listed the statements of faith below. From reading the two, it is evident that the house church beliefs are much more in line with the Bible than the government churches. There are some grave concerns with the government church`s beliefs. They seem to mix works with grace, and it is not clear that salvation is by grace alone through faith. They allow baptism by sprinkling. The foundation of their faith is not based on the Bible alone, but also on the Apostles and Nicene creeds. There are also some other things mentioned that are out of line with the Bible, but these are three of the main things. This does not mean that every government church believes these things, nor does it mean that house churches are in line with the Bible either. I did find it very interesting reading what the two groups claim to believe.

In 1998, many leaders from different house churches and house church groups in China gathered and wrote a statement of faith that they agreed upon. You can find a copy of this document here: Statement of Faith of Chinese House Churches

The Three-Self Patriotic Movement published in 2008 a church order document that also includes a summary of their basic beliefs. A copy of this document is attached here: Chinese TPSM Statement of Faith English

Can The Gospel Openly Be Preached?

Yes, and No. Technically according to Article 36 of the Chinese Constitution citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy the freedom of religious belief. The Constitution even says the state protects the rights of normal religious activities. They do not however define what normal activities are and also say that people cannot use religion to disrupt public order, impair the health of citizens, or interfere with the state education system.

This basically means that whenever you do public and open evangelism that you risk being stopped for disrupting public order or doing something that is outside of normal religious activities. Also, if you share the Gospel on a university campus that could be considered interfering with the state education system.  Doing these things does not mean that you will be stopped for preaching the Gospel, but rather that you run a higher risk of it. Sharing the Gospel privately with friends or at people`s homes is not dangerous at all, and you can do it without fear. It is up to each to each person to decide what risks they are willing to take and what they think is best for them to do. You can share the Gospel in China. Maybe not as open as you could in other countries, but there are many opportunities you will have to tell someone openly about Christ.

How Long Before Ministries Can Be Started?

You can start ministries right away, but will be limited by your language abilities. If you cannot speak Chinese, you will only be able to minister to English speaking people. Only a small percent of Chinese people speak English fluently enough to be able to study the Bible in English.

Depending on the type of ministry that you are wanting, you will also need to consider some things before you start. You need to have a place to meet set up and an effective way to meet people established before trying to start some sort of ministry. This could be as simple as attending a local English corner and meeting people at KFC or as complex as renting and renovating a building. You do need to have a plan though before starting a ministry.

What Things Have Been Effective In Ministry?

Local English Corners: In Dalian, China as well as in the rest of the country local universities will usually organize a time and place for their students to practice English. These are called English corners. Usually, there are just a couple or no foreigners present at these corners and the students just practice speaking English among themselves. So, when a foreigner comes, he or she gets a lot of attention and a group of people that want to talk to them. It is a great opportunity to meet students, share with them, and get their contact info. During the rest of the week, you will have an opportunity to follow up with them. Going to English corners has been a very effective place to do outreach and evangelism. Many people have come to Christ through meeting a foreigner at an English corner.

You can also host your own English corner. All you need are a couple of native English speakers, a way to invite people, and a place to meet. People will come to practice their English. This gives you the perfect chance to meet them or share the Gospel with them.

Meeting People On Street Practicing Language: Anytime as a foreigner you try to meet new people, it is usually pretty easy. People want to talk to a foreigner because you are different. This is especially true if they want to learn English. However, there is a problem. Most people will think it strange if you just walk up to them for no reason and want to meet them. Practicing the language gives you a perfect excuse. You can walk up to people and ask them to help listen to you try to speak Chinese. They usually will be surprised, but also willing to help. After you practice with them for a little bit, you can turn the conversation towards trying to get to know them better. If the conversation goes well, you can exchange contact information with them and invite them to the church or an outreach event. I have met many new people that have come to church or an outreach event through practicing Chinese with them.

Providing English Classes for Kids: Parents in China are all about education. They want their kids to be able to go to university and get a good job when they grow up. They know that in order for their kids to succeed at a high level that they must be able to speak English. Therefore, they are willing to take up any opportunity available for their kids to learn English, especially if it is free. Starting an English kid`s clubs or kid`s English classes is an effective way to meet parents and their kids. You then have the opportunity to follow up with them and tell them about Christ.


 

Resources used in writing this article:

  • http://en.people.cn/constitution/constitution.html
  • http://www.ccctspm.org/english/enews/2008/724/08515340.html
  • http://www.chinaforjesus.com/StatementOfFaith.htm

 

What About Visas?

Do I need a visa to stay in the country long-term?

Everyone traveling to China from the United States is required to get a visa before traveling to China. Most visitors from other countries are required to get a visa as well. Under certain conditions though, visitors from countries that have visa agreements with China may not be required to have a visa for a short stay. Visitors from Singapore, Brunei, and Japan are not required to have a visa for visits of less than fifteen days not involving work or study.

There are a few unordinary situations in which travelers may not need a visa for a short visit to mainland China. Currently travelers to the following Chinese airports: PEK, PVG, SHA, CAN, CTU,CKG, SHE, DLC, XIY,HGH,KWL,KMG can stay visa- free in China for up to 72 hours. They have to have a confirmed flight itinerary to one of 51 approved countries and one of their layovers on the way to their destination has to be at one of the above airports. The final destination of their flight itinerary cannot be these airports, but must be in another country. Certain other conditions may have to be met as well to get this 72-hour visa-free stay.

People that join certain authorized tourist trips in China are not required to get a visa. The visitors fall under the tour group`s authorization.

Outside of mainland China, US citizens traveling to the Chinese provinces of Macao, and Hong Kong for a short trip do not need a visa. If they plan to stay for work or study or for an extended period of time, a visa will be required.

So, in summary unless you plan to stay for just a day or two or are from a country with a reciprocal visa agreement with China, you will have to get a visa to visit mainland China. There is no way to get really around it. You are going to have to go through all the headache of getting a visa.

What Kind Of Visa Can I Get? What Type Of Paperwork Is Involved?

There are many types of visas that you can get for your trip and stay in China. The type of visa you will need to get will be determined by the length and purpose of your trip. Below I will outline some of the most common visa types that you can get.

Short Stay Visas

Type L Visa: This is a visa for tourism. It is the most common visa and easiest to get for people making a short trip to China. This visa can be used to tour or visit friends in China. Generally with this visa you are given a thirty to sixty-day stay and the currently issued visas for US citizens are usually good for ten years.

Type F Visa: This visa allows you to come to the country for non-tourism, non-working type circumstances. This is the visa you get for non-commercial conferences, investigations, cultural exchanges, etc. If the purpose of your trip is not to make money but to gather information, attend a workshop, or other public event then this is the type of visa for you to get. This visa is generally good for only a thirty-day stay, but you can ask for sixty and ninety-day stays. You can apply for single or multiple entries. The length of stay and length of visa validity is determined by the consular officer based on his review of your application.

Type M Visa: This visa allows you to come into the country for commercial and business purposes. It is not a work visa, so it does not authorize you to work in China long term. Rather, it is like a business trip visa. It allows you to attend meetings, conferences, do training, etc. all for commercial purposes. It is possible for US citizens to get this visa with a validity of ten years. The duration of stay allowed by this visa is up to the consular office, but would probably be from thirty to ninety days.

Long Stay Visas

Type X1: This is a visa for students studying long-term (longer than 180 days) at a university in China. This visa requires that you be accepted as a student from an accredited Chinese school. Some of the paperwork required for this visa must be filled out by the school.

Type Z: This is a work visa. This visa is for people working in China for pay. This visa requires that the employer and employee meet certain requirements. The employer will have to provide a work permit and visa notification letter to the applicant.

Type Q1: This visa is for relatives of Chinese citizens or foreigners with a permanent residence permit. This visa allows them to stay and live alongside their relatives in China. Relatives are defined as spouses, parents, sons, daughters, spouses of sons or daughters, brothers, sisters, grandparents, grandsons, granddaughters, and parents-in-law.

Type S1: This visa is similar to the Type Q visa above except that is is for relatives wanting to live alongside a foreigner working or studying in China long term.

There are also other specialty visas issued for certain situations and occupations as well as short term versions of the X1, Q1, & S1 visas listed above.

These long term visas are issued for a stay of thirty days. Thirty days gives the applicant enough time upon arriving in China to apply for a temporary residence permit. This permit is required and requires a physical exam along with other paperwork and usually an interview. This permit is usually good for the duration of the study time or work contract. In the case of a work contract, the maximum time allowed is five years.

Paperwork Involved

It depends on the visa, but you will always need a current passport, passport photo, filled out visa application, payment for visa, and related trip documents (flight itinerary for tourist visa, letter of invitation for business visa, etc).

How much does a visa cost? How Often Does It Need To Get Renewed?

Visa Fees

The fee table for common visas is as follows per the chart below:

  • Number of Entries | U.S. Citizen | Non-U.S. Citizen*
  • Single Entry |$140 |$30
  • Double Entries | $140 | $45
  • Multiple Entries for 6 Months | $140 | $60
  • Multiple Entries for 12 Months or more | $140 | $90

There is an additional fee for express and rush services. Regular service takes four days to issue the visa if all the documents are in order. Express service cuts the time down to two to three days, and rush service takes only one day. Visas must be paid for by a company or cashiers check, credit card, or money order. Cash is not accepted. You can apply for the visa yourself at a local consulate or use a visa processing company and apply by mail.

Visa Renewal

Many of the short stay visas are now good for ten years for U.S citizens although the validity of the visa is always subject to the consular officer`s decision. A temporary stay permit obtained after obtaining a long stay visa is usually valid for the length of the study course or work contract. You can enter the country up until the day the visa expires and then stay as long as your visa duration is (30, 60, 90days, etc.) even though your visa is out of date. That is why the expiration date is called an enter before date and not an expiration date. Short term visas can sometimes be extended in China at the local public security bureau. Once a short term visa is expired a new visa will need to be applied for. Long term temporary resident permits can be renewed before their expiration date comes up. The work contract or study enrollment would also have to be renewed in order for the temporary resident permit to be renewed.


 

Sources Used In Writing This Article:

Preparing To Come To Dalian-Miscellaneous Tips

If you are getting ready to move or come visit China and Dalian, you probably are very excited about all the amazing things that you will get to do and experience. In the midst of the excitement, though, there are still some of the less exciting, everyday things that you need to think about. This post helps ask some of the mundane questions and gives you some tips about different miscellaneous things that you will need to do in preparation for coming. I hope it can be a help to you.

How will I get my money, banking, etc.?

You can easily withdraw money at a local ATM. Most ATMs will allow you to use your American bank`s debit card to withdraw money in the local Chinese RMB currency. Depending on your account type and what ATM you use there may be a small ATM fee as well as a percentage that your American bank charges to do a currency conversion. ATMs are located everywhere in Dalian and most of the time you can access them twenty-four hours a day.

You can also get a local bank account and debit card. You must bring your passport with you to the bank and have a local Chinese address. Not every bank will do an account for a foreigner so you must find a bank that will. ICBC and China Construction Bank both issue accounts for foreigners. The card you receive when opening an account is the only card that is issued for that bank account. The card number on the debit card will be the same number as your account number. You set a six digit password for the account, and you use that password whenever you use the card. You can deposit money into this account via a local ATM and use the card throughout China.

One of the advantages of getting a Chinese bank card is that you can link it to the wallet feature in the WeChat app. By using the card through WeChat, you can pay your phone bill, send money to someone, buy movie tickets, order a taxi, and in some cities even pay your utilities. All this can be done from your phone using your local bank card.

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Wechat wallet

What preparations can we make before leaving for the field?

Depending on your situation, purpose, and length of your stay in China there will be a multitude of things that you will need to do before moving to China. You probably will have a hard time thinking of everything needed. In this section I will name some things you may need to do before coming to China.

Physical Exams-If you are moving to China for a long period of time it would probably be wise to go ahead and have a doctor do a physical for you. If you have a medical condition that must be treated in the United States, you would want to find out about it before moving all the way to China.

Vaccinations-If you or your kids have any vaccinations due, it is best that you get them before coming to China. High-quality vaccinations, like we have in the United States, are not available in China unless they are imported in. The Chinese vaccinations have a higher risk of ill side effects. You can get the imported vaccinations in Beijing and perhaps at other international hospitals in China. However, it is best to save the time and expense and get as many of your vaccinations done as possible before moving to China.

WeChat-You should download WeChat before coming to China and go ahead and add as contacts the people you will be seeing or visiting when you get to China. If you don`t download it before you come, you will have trouble getting it set up until you get a Chinese phone number. Having it already downloaded allows you to message people using WiFi as soon as you land. You don`t have to wait to get your phone set up.

VPN-It is a good idea to have a VPN set up and working on your computer and phone before coming to China. That way as soon as you land you will be able to access the websites you need that are blocked in China. You will not have to wait to get one set up.

Documents– It is probably a good idea to get an international drivers license in the United States before coming to China. Although it is not recognized in China, it will be useful for you to have in case of traveling to nearby countries.

If you plan to change to a different visa from a tourist or other visa while in China, you will need to get a copy of your marriage license and your kid`s birth certificates certified by the Chinese Embassy in the United States. This will need to be done before coming to China.

Banking-It is best to carry an international credit card that is in both you and your spouse`s name that can be used while traveling internationally. This will be helpful in a case of a long plane delay or other travel emergency. It is a good idea to have two checking accounts set up that you can use to withdraw funds from while living here. This way in case you lose the bank card to one of the accounts, you are still able to access your money using the other checking account. Also, before leaving make sure to notify your bank and credit card companies that you will be traveling. This way they don’t lock your card for seeing a “suspicious Chinese transaction” when you use it.

There are probably many more things needed in preparation for coming to China than the few things I named here. However, I hope this will give you some help getting a start on figuring out what preparation you need to do before coming here.

Do I need a will? Why?

If you do not have very many assets in China, then there really is no reason to have a separate will in China. The purpose of a will is to disperse your assets to people you name once you die. If you have minimal assets in China there is no reason to have a separate will as it is likely that the cost and trouble of getting an official Chinese last will and testament will not be justified for just a few small assets.

However, If you do have several large assets in China, it would be beneficial to look into getting a Chinese last will and testament in addition to your valid US will. The reason is that a US will while valid in the US it may not be considered valid in China. It may not be written according to the standards of Chinese laws, Chinese laws may require your estate to be divided differently than you spell out on your will , and lastly a US will is written in English. Your estate would maybe have to pay for a costly official translation of it into Chinese for it to be deemed valid. For these reasons if you own considerable assets in China, I would look into writing up an official Chinese will.

How do you do laundry and dry-cleaning in the country?

Washers

Washing machines are readily available in Dalian. There are all sorts of sizes and styles. Many people use a washing machine to wash their clothes and then hang them up to dry on a rack in their apartment or on a balcony. This seems to be the most common way that people do their laundry.

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Picture of Washing machines for sale at a local appliance store

Dryers

Drying machines are also available for sale but are not as readily available as the washing machines. I walked into an appliance store to look at the machines they had for sale. About 90% of the machines were washing machines it seemed like, and only a few were dryers. This doesn`t mean that you can`t get a dryer. If you want one, you can easily get one. You can custom order a dryer or find one that you like at a store. They just aren`t used near as much as washing machines by the local Dalian people. Probably because most people can`t afford them.

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picture of a dryer for sale at a local appliance store

Dry cleaning

Dry cleaning is readily available in Dalian. There are many small dry-cleaning places scattered around the city at convenient locations. They even offer to pick up and drop off your clothes for you if you live close enough. I attached a photo of the price list of a local dry cleaners for reference. The prices seem fairly reasonable. Your average piece of clothing will cost about 3$ based on an exchange rate of 6 to 1. While living here, if you need your clothes dry cleaned you will be able to get them done without any problem.

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Dry CLEANING PRICE LIST

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lOCAL DRY-CLEANERS

Can we drink the water?-Do they have water purification?

The water in Dalian is not safe to drink straight from the tap. I have asked ten different local Chinese people about the water, and none of them have told me that the water is safe to drink from the tap. Even the local people know that the water is not very safe. Many of them said that if I boil the water then it would be safe to drink. However, I have also been told by some of the foreigners that live here that even boiled the water would still contain heavy metals or strong chemicals. These could cause health problems long term if someone continually drinks the tap water. I would say the safest thing to do would be to stay away from drinking the tap water altogether. There is an abundance of bottled water for sale that is safe to drink. You can buy bottled water in regular bottles at the store, or you can buy a water dispenser and have the big blue bottles of water delivered to your house.

There are water purification systems for sale. Online you can browse a multitude of different kinds and systems that you can buy and install. These systems probably help make the water significantly safer, but I still don`t think they would remove all the bad things in the water. I think the safest thing to do in Dalian is to buy bottled purified water that is safe to drink.

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Picture of different water filtering systems for sale online

What kind of clothing can I buy in “Country”? Do they have my size?

Clothing

All kinds of clothing and styles are available for purchase in the many different malls and stores around the city. You will find little clothing stores scattered everywhere. You will have no difficulty in finding clothes that you can buy. The question is will they have the style you like and will your size be available.

Chinese people are generally smaller than people in America. Therefore, the big sizes of clothes and shoes needed by some Americans will not be readily available in China.

According to extensive research done in 2008 by  Alvanon, the global size and fit expert here is a list of the average sizes of Chinese people compared with Americans.

— Average Chinese Female Height 5’4″; Weight 125 Pounds; Chest 31″; Waist 28″; Low Hip 35″

— Average U.S. Female Height 5’4″; Weight 155 Pounds; Chest 37″; Waist 34″; Low Hip 42″

— Average Chinese Male Height 5’8″; Weight 145 Pounds; Chest 35″; Waist 31″; Low Hip 36″

— Average U.S. Male Height 5’9″; Weight 191 Pounds; Chest 41; Waist 37; Low Hip 41″

As you can tell from these statistics, Americans generally weigh a lot more than Chinese people and need much larger sizes. People that are above average American weight will probably have trouble finding clothes that fit or at least will have a limited selection. If this is your case, then you may want to consider bringing over all or the majority of your clothes from the states.

For pants size, if you wear a larger size than a large for men (Waist 36-38) and a size 10 for women (Waist 30-32) then you will have a hard time finding your size. It may be available in some places, but you will have to look hard and will not have as much of a selection.

For the shirt size, the largest I have seen is a double XXL for men and an XL for women. It is definitely hard or maybe impossible to find a bigger size than these, and I am not sure that the selection would be very good even at these sizes.

Shoes

Most shoes that you find for sale at a local shoe store will have the size in millimeters printed on the shoe. See photo below:

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This shoe`s size is 280mm or 28.0centimeters

Sometimes stores that sell imported shoes or a store at a nice mall will also tell you the size in a scale similar to the one used in Europe. Also even if the shoe does not have this size printed on them, the storekeepers will know what the approximate European size is. If you tell them your European shoe size, they will be able to find you a shoe that fits very quickly. The following charts are helpful in comparing the sizes. Take out the decimal point in the centimeter section to know the shoe size in millimeters.

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Mens and Womens Shoe Size Comparison Charts

The men`s shoe in the picture above is 28.0 centimeters which according to the chart makes it about a size 44 European and a size 11 US. These charts are helpful, but it is best also to try the shoe on to make sure it is the right size. China doesn`t have as large of shoe sizes available as the US. In most stores, the largest shoe size will be an 11US (44Eu) for men and an 8.5US (39Eu) for women. If you wear shoes larger than this, it will probably be best to bring shoes with you when you move here.

Gap Store

A great resource for foreigners in buying clothes is the GAP store located in the Pavilion mall in Dalian. This store has a good selection of clothes that are similar to the clothes you would find in the GAP stores in the United States. Also, even the sizes are printed the same way as you would find in the States.

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Resources used in writing this article:

  • http://wills.about.com/od/fiveessentialdocuments/qt/foreignwills.htm
  • http://www.alvanon.com/news/CHINASCAN.pdf
  • Shoe Size Comparison Charts Used From http://www.zappos.com/c/shoe-size-conversion