As one of the largest and most influential country during the history of civilization, China is a home of incredibly rich history and tradition, impressive and unique culture and customs, plenty of which are present nowadays too. In spite of a severe isolation for several decades and the period of regression, China remains an exotic attraction for studying and exploring, especially today with open borders for tourists. However, some aspects of lifestyle in China and particularly some customs still being practiced may easily shock and confuse western tourists. Here’s a rundown of some of the most peculiar phenomena you might face when visiting China.
Post-apocalyptic urban areas
One of the first associations to China is certainly its huge population. The overall number of inhabitants is still increasing, and it consequentially leads to a problem of accommodation. In an attempt to solve this issue, the government invested big money into construction industry to build massive urban infrastructures. Unfortunately, the real estate fluctuations boosted the prices of these real estates causing most of these infrastructures to remain unoccupied. It created so-called “ghost cities” phenomena with New South China Mall as the most obvious example. Empty and sterile buildings and streets truly make the spooky atmosphere.
Careful with time zones
Considering the massive area of the country, it is expected to face switching of time zones if traveling from one region of the country to another. Back in 20. Century, before the period of Communist Party, China had five time zones. When Mao Zedong took the country over, the specific political decision relegated the whole country into one same time zone, eight hours ahead of GMT. Consequentially, this caused some unusual aspects, such as the discrepancy between time and the actual time of the day in some regions. To overcome the problem, some areas, such as Hong Kong, stick to their “time zones” which may easily confuse uninformed tourists.
Rich and immune to the law
There is nothing surprising in the fact that those the richest have always been the most privileged everywhere. Sometimes even privileged enough to dodge various rules and legislation regularly applied on average people. But in China, this aspect reached impressive culmination. Namely, there’s an awkward practice of so-called “ding zui” that remains under the radar of the government for decades. The practice refers to hiring (and paying enormously) someone else to stand a trial and do the prison time on behalf of the convicted wealthy people. The practice got so far that the chosen “double body” doesn’t even have to resemble the criminal much. However, this practice remains reserved only to the richest.
Obscure methods of TCM
TCM or traditional Chinese medicine has been developing for centuries parallel with Western medicine, often being significantly ahead of the medicine in other parts of the world. Some believes and methods in TCM remain drastically different compared to conventional medicine and some treatments are particularly weird. Aside from acupuncture and fire cupping, much Chinese still go for controversial treatments, such as “bile bear.” These methods include specifically the cruel treatment of animals and extraction of bear’s bile. It is believed that bile gained through these procedures cures dozens of health issues.