For many years France was the world’s number one tourist destination. Everyone wanted to go there even though everyone complained endlessly about how rude the French were, how they all tried to rip you off, and how no one spoke English. China is now expected to become the world’s number one tourist destination by 2015 (surpassing Spain, the US, and finally France). The growth in tourism has been spectacular – from 8 million visitors in 2000 to 48 million in 2009. The number of foreign residents has grown explosively as well. There are at least 100,000 new foreign teachers recruited every year (by some estimates), giving a sense of the size of the resident foreign population as well. Cities such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing have large semi-permanent foreign communities.
Yet despite the growth, and despite the fame, there is so much about China that is misunderstood – hence this blog – a collection of articles on different travel, living, history, culture, and art topics to help spread the word about what China is really like. It is my hope this will be a resource both for would-be residents (and residents) and tourists alike.