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[ By | 27 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
Empty rooms, Shanghai booms

Wang Xiaojia would never marry a man who didn’t own his own place. “No house, no security,” she stated flatly. A 26-year-old living in Shanghai, Wang said she planned to marry in a few years, but only to a guy with the right real estate bona fides.

Sitting in the city’s People’s Park, Wang confirmed the widespread Shanghai view that owning property is a status symbol, and for many men, a qualification for marriage. “‘The girls who aren’t looking for a house aren’t realistic, they’re idealistic,” said Wang.

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[ By | 25 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
Return baggage: The impact of Chinese studying abroad

More college-age Chinese go overseas than ever before, but not to bring Western political values back home.

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[ By | 13 Jun 2009 | No Comment ]
Museum tour: Yes, we have no anti-Americanism

Before I left for Beijing a friend recommended that I visit Beijing’s Military Museum of the Chinese People’s Revolution. He said it housed some of the most anti-American rhetoric in China, so I thought I’d have a look. While what I saw fell far short of my expectations for anti-American propaganda, I found it an eye-opening experience nonetheless.

For starters, there’s the grand scale of the place. A massive spire capped with the symbol of the People’s Liberation Army jutted from the top of the building. . . .

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[ By | 5 Jun 2009 | One Comment ]
Shanghai surprise: All aboard the quarantine express

It was May 29, and my plane, American Airlines Flight 289, had just landed in Shanghai. I was eager to breathe fresh air, but the Chinese government had other plans. About a dozen public health officials in white biohazard suits, facemasks and plastic goggles boarded the plane, scanning passengers’ foreheads with thermometer guns.

My headshot confirmed that I was fever-free. But when seven officials began crowding around a passenger two rows ahead of me, I mumbled to no one in particular: “I’ve got a bad feeling about this. . . .”