As one CouchSurfer put it: “I don’t think there is many happy people in China. It is very hard to follow one’s dream, only a few people can afford it. Most people know only hard work.” I’ve met some students, both in Haiyang and Beijing, and they told me that during their studies they don’t have time for their hobbies. Basically they don’t have free time. The competition is so hard, and rules often discriminating, that it is easy to be left behind. Therefore everyone studies very hard to have a good, well paid job, so he can afford to pay for education for his child. It is very common for a man to work long hours overtime so that he can support his family.
When someone “foreign” (from different town) enters university, he or she has to have better grades than the local students or he will be drop out from school. That’s quite discriminating.
Town people are not allowed to own house or land. Every house in cities is owned by government and people have to rent it. If they want to “own” the house, they can do it by pre-paying the rent for a maximum of 70 years. After 70 years the property belongs to government again. On the other hand village people can own a land or a house, but no one wants to live there because rural areas are very poor. [Read more here]
Generally life in China is much harder than in Europe. And don’t mean that just because of the competition and pressure, but also because of the omnipresent checkpoints. There are even checkpoints (you can call it guarded entrance) in front of some housings so that only residents can enter. Supposedly for the security of the inhabitants.
Expect the unexpected. If you are lucky enough to find a sitting toilet, most likely there wont be any toilet paper. When I asked why, I was told that the poor people would steal it all 🙂 But maybe they really would, I don’t know… the difference in income is huge. Most public toilets are for squatting. Some of them are cleaned regularly. Others are not. And than it is really something. An unforgettable memory 🙂