Bad things about living in China

13 Top Bad things about living in China

Every year, thousands of people are drawn to the adventure of living in China. Each year, visas are issued to tens of thousands of workers and students.

China delivers joys and surprises that the majority of tourists can hardly fathom. China is vast and appears to never end.

No two foreigners who reside in China have the same exact experience.

But most foreigners tend to concur that there are certain general bad things about living in China.

There are a lot of things about being a foreigner in China that you MIGHT NOT necessarily love. Living in a nation that is so different from most democratic nations is difficult.

There are several things to carefully consider before moving to China, whether you’re doing so for employment, school, or even to start a business.

List of bad things about living in China 

Since Chinese culture differs greatly from that of many Western nations, some people may find it difficult to assimilate.

The major challenges associated with relocating to China are listed below.

Different Food and Hygiene Practices Exist. 

Because of low public hygiene rules and dangerous food additives, food safety in China has long been a source of concern.

Despite the fact that new regulations have improved food safety, some expats might feel uneasy knowing that restaurant sanitary standards are much laxer than in other Western nations.

Additionally, some bathroom protocols in public places, such as the absence of toilet paper in many restrooms, may be challenging for you to adapt to.

The Language Gap Can Be Difficult

Chinese’s official language, Mandarin, is not always kind to outsiders. Up until you get it right, many people are going to misinterpret you.

They might even believe you are using English.

For clarity, Mandarin uses four tones that must be precisely mastered.

You can read street signs and menus by just studying Chinese characters.

Achieving true communication can take years.

Digital translation technologies can really save your life.

There Is Much Surveillance

Chinese society is closely monitored.

This helps to reduce theft and other crimes, in part.

There are cameras everywhere in public areas, including roadways, stores, and classrooms.

Mics dangling from ceilings are a familiar sight.

This might be more or less of a drawback in your view, depending on your personality and ideals.

While many people enjoy monitoring and openness, some site visitors consider these things to be intrusive.

The Workload Is Heavy

The diligent nature of Chinese society sadly has an impact on maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

In fact, some places of employment mandate a 72-hour work week, which entails working six days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“996” schedules are clearly not unheard of, even though they aren’t the standard in every organization and there have been mounting requests for the government to outlaw these practices.

Different Cultural Conceptions of Personal Space Exist

Chinese people are accustomed to crowds due to their large population.

For beginners, public transport can be a little confusing.

To get where they need to go, people don’t have a problem pushing past one another.

Compared to Western countries, people frequently speak quite intimately to one another.

People are accustomed to sharing small, cramped living spaces since apartments might be modest.

Even the bathrooms are organized very differently than they are in Western nations.

Visa Application is Challenging

Each year, only a very small number of applicants are accepted to China as permanent citizens.

To enable foreigners to get a “Chinese Green Card,” the government is now reforming the visa procedure; however, this work is not yet complete.

Chinese immigrants make up the majority of foreigners in China.

You will require an employer’s assistance in order to be successful in obtaining a work visa.

A thorough medical checkup, letters of recommendation, and a background check on your criminal history are also required.

People Must Stare at You

You might need to get used to people staring at you depending on where you reside in China and how you appear.

This is particularly true if you have bright eyes or hair, both of which are extremely uncommon in China.

Expats have discovered that they need to get used to locals freely looking at them or even snapping pictures. looking doesn’t always have the same connotation of rudeness as it does in many Western countries.

There Are Current COVID-Related Challenges

China is still very serious on COVID-19.

The public health measures that are still in place are unexpected to many tourists.

But it is because of them that infection rates have remained so low throughout the pandemic in China.

Chinese government authorities have started to relax some restrictions in response to some unrest.

Currently, this also applies to visitors coming from other countries to China.

However, COVID-19 has temporarily altered China’s social climate in a number of ways that will impact any journey or relocation.

Online Limitations

There are many internet limitations in effect in China. These limitations make it challenging for those foreigners who are accustomed to having unlimited online access.

A really good VPN can be used as a remedy for this problem, although these are not always trustworthy.  As a result, you must be ready to adjust to the Chinese internet, apps, and websites that are created and utilized in China.

Pollution Problem

Although it gets better every year, China’s air pollution may still be extremely awful. Numerous factors contribute to pollution, which is primarily seen in large cities where manufacturing occurs daily.

Fortunately, the pollution is not as awful outside or in some smaller cities.

No Friends at All

Developing Relationships with Citizens While Residing in China as an Expat

Due to linguistic and cultural barriers, making friends quickly in China might be challenging.

It can take some time to make friends, but once one does, one will gradually meet more like-minded individuals to hang out with.

Cost Increases

China’s costs are rising, just like they are everywhere else, and no one knows when they will stop. As a result, you must be ready to spend more for your rent, food, and the services that you have become accustomed to since relocating to China.

China is Overpopulated and No Space for Personal 

Chinese people are accustomed to being surrounded by others because of how populous China is. On the tube, they have no difficulty pushing someone aside. 

I occasionally can comprehend this. Some people are on their phones for so long that they are unaware they are blocking an exit.

When they chat with you, people frequently stand too close. The chorus—and only the chorus—of the old Police song plays in my head whenever one of my pupils approaches me to ask me a question. “Don’t stand, don’t stand so…”

Furthermore, if you want to live in China, be prepared for continuous invasions of your privacy as well as the possibility of being forced to live in a flat no bigger than a wealthy person’s closet.


Is China a Good Place for Foreigners to Live?

If you’re a foreigner seeking a place to call home, China has a lot to offer.

Finding work and establishing residency both present special difficulties, but you can count on a kind community.

Most foreigners discover that after they adapt to the contemporary culture, living in China is enjoyable and gratifying.

Is Healthcare Free in China?

Both locals and expats in China have access to a free public healthcare system.

This makes the majority of essential medical care affordable or free for everyone who requires it.

Be cautious about conducting your homework before obtaining medical care in China because there are some variations in medical coverage and options based on the region you reside in.

Is Moving to China Simple?

Moving to China is a significant undertaking for most people.

A lot of paperwork, background checks, and money are needed.

That doesn’t even begin to take into account the careful planning it requires.

For the most part, moving to China will require assistance from an employer.

Chinese people typically experience less difficulty.

Is Mandarin a Requirement to Live in China?

Although it is not legally necessary to know Mandarin to live in China, it is quite helpful.

More than 10 million people in China speak English.

In many ways, moving to China from an English-speaking nation is simpler than the opposite.

Despite the fact that the majority of Chinese people do not speak English fluently, English is taught in schools and many students retain a lot of it.

The majority of English-speaking Chinese live in big cities.

Especially in densely populated locations, many employees are accustomed to conversing in English.

Do the Chinese treat outsiders well?

Travelers from all corners of the world may anticipate being welcomed with the highest warmth when they arrive in the country. 

Having a strong understanding of the language and cultural backgrounds frequently leads to a warm welcome from the Chinese


Some of these bad things about living in China could eventually turn out to be beneficial.

Most people first had trouble finding Western food, which was the case. 

They were compelled to sample authentic Chinese food as well as look for a website with more selections than they could have discovered in any single grocery.

I hope this article helped you have a better understanding of life in China.

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