The Rich Chinese Fancy A Designer Baby

It is of no surprise that the American citizenship is something many Chinese dream of. 

The Rich Chinese Fancy A Designer Baby

While countries like Thailand and India offer cheaper surrogacy, the Chinese are looking across the Pacific Ocean for a better option. How Better? Essentially with Chinese DNA, they desire tall, blonde and even holding Ivy League degrees donors. Designer babies; smarter and better looking; boy or girl; their choice. The possibilities are endless, if you can afford it, of course.

 

By U.S. law, anyone born in the States qualifies as an American citizen and can apply for green cards for their parents after they reach 21 years of age. As compared to investor visas, surrogacy is a cheaper route to American passports, costing around $120,000 to $200,000 per package, according to Reuters.

Why is the prospect of American citizenship so shiny?

  • First, The Chinese worry about quality of life in a country suffering from choking pollution and various health and food safety scandals.
  • Second, some wealthy Chinese say they want a safety net overseas because they fear more social unrest in China.
  • Third, the Chinese want their kids to be educated in America, where academic pressure is not nearly as intense as in China.
Surrogacy is illegal in China; but that doesn’t stop plenty of shady transactions from taking place in Chinese cities every day. Although the one-child policy has already been relaxed for many segments of society, such as couples who are only children themselves, it remains in effect for others. Families who violate the one-child policy face the prospect of forced abortions, sterilizations and fines, policies that have been most brutally enforced in poor, rural areas.

Two decades is definitely a long time to wait for green cards for Chinese parents of a U.S.-born child. It’s impossible to know whether U.S. citizenship will still hold the same allure in the future. But that doesn’t stop the Chinese.
The Chinese want it all.

Shopping In Beijing: 2013

People come to China from all over the world to shop mostly because of the relatively low prices and what seems like unlimited variety. Shopping online on sites like Taobao is not only common but also a better shopping option because of these simple reasons. But even if you don’t have an online account, there are a bunch of places you can visit here and make your trip to this wonderful city worthwhile.

Tourist Go-To Places 

Yashao in Sanlitun, Silk Street/Market in Chaoyangmen

 

Silk Market

 

Tourists make sure they stop by these places. Very similar locations, standing a few stories tall, every floor is dedicated to clothes, shoes, bags and electronic accessories. For first timers, these places seem like a moderately good option but I personally don’t like to bargain to the extent of spending more than half my time talking about the price with the salesperson! These people spend a lot of time dealing with foreigners so interaction with them is easier but some of them could prove to be unnecessarily persistent to the point of being pushy.

Must See

Wangfujing Market, Xidan Shopping Area and The Place

 

Wangfujing famous for its bizarre street food

 

As the most famous commercial area of Beijing, Wangfujing has been known to be the earliest business activity center. The street is less than one kilometer long, but it is crowded with specialty and long-history shops, which are full of modern atmosphere and high taste.

West of Tiananmen square, Xidan is an up-market commercial area just like the US department store. Providing mid-and high-quality commodities, this shopping area is another place with the big brand names all located here. Same goes for The Place located in Guomao. You will find everything from Zara, Gucci to Giorgio Armani here.

My Winner 

Golden Towers

Golden Towers

Golden towers is located approximately 20 minutes from the Wudaokou subway station and is without a doubt my favorite place to shop. Having lived in Wudaokou for a year, I have had the chance to shop at this amazing place almost religiously. Offering the lowest prices, with minimum bargain involved, Golden towers offers clothes, (amazing) shoes, and accessories along with the chance to get a simple manicure for just 10 RMB.

Electronics? Zhongguancun 

Also referred to as “China’s Silicon Valley”, and “electronics avenue,” because of its connections to information technology and the preponderance of stores along a central, crowded street. If electronics are what you’re into, this is the place for you.

Want to add another place to the list? Feel free to comment!

Visa Run: Beijing To Hong Kong

Reasons you could be making a run to Hong Kong vary. For me it was the expiring of the 30 days duration on my Visa. My F visa expires next year, but the duration of stay for each time I enter is 30 days only. Couldn’t I just get a visa extension? I did. But before a quick one-day visa run.
But from my experience, you’re only allowed to do that once. You can read more on my experience extending my visa here. I went to Shenzhen, took the subway to Hong Kong and back, just for a Exit-Entry stamp.So at about 4:30 am I take a taxi from Chaoyangmen to the Capital Airport. I tried to find a bus running at this hour, but with zero luck. I reached the Airport at in about half an hour (which usually easily takes more than 1 hour during daytime) and took my flight from Beijing to Shenzhen.
At 10:30 am I was at the Shenzhen airport and already on my way to the famous Lo Wu Port.
The subway can be easily seen as soon as you exit the Shenzhen airport. Taking the Line 1 (green line), straight from Airport East Station to Luohu Station, I got off and walked out right in front of the Luo hu Port in which I walked right into immigration in Hong Kong.
Getting the HK visa only takes about 30 to 45 minutes at max. After which you find yourself at the MTR train station at Lo Wu. I tried to just get right back in Immigration back into Shenzhen but that isn’t possible.
After getting 100 RMB exchanged into HK dollars enough to buy me a train ticket I get off at the first station –Shang Shui. Few minutes later I got on a train back to Lo Wu and got through immigration (with my fingers crossed), and what do you know, I’m back in Shenzhen by 2 pm.
I took the flight back to Beijing at 5:30 pm and I was back in the capital by 8:30 pm.
The most useful resource was the Mtr website. Hong Kong train operator MTR has updated its customer website so that users can not only search the route, time and fare of Hong Kong train service, but also the underground system of Shenzhen.

For your knowledge there are four land border crossings between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

Lo Wu

Probably the busiest and most popular border crossing among the four. Best part is that there is a busy shopping mall at the Shenzhen side. The last train destined for Lowu border departs from Hong Hum, Kowloon at about 11pm. I read up that this crossing would be crowded during public holidays but having gone during the national holidays (5th October) I did not come across any unusual crowded-ness till I reached back to Beijing.

Lok Ma Chau/Futian

This border crossing is a diversion from  the Lo Wu one. It is also connected at two sides, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, by railway.

Huanggang/Lok Ma Chau

The biggest advantage no doubt is its 24-hour operation. You can find buses and taxis going to/from the border 24 hours. And the biggest disadvantage lies in its traffic and immigration clearance arrangement as you have to get off the bus to clear the customs and immigration of Hong Kong, and then onto the bus to go to the Shenzhen check point, and off again- if you go in the direction of Shenzhen, and vice versa.

Shenzhen Bay

This border crossing is used by vehicles only, as it has no rail connection at both the Hong Kong and Shenzhen side. This is its limitation. But since it is closer to the Shenzhen Airport, the bus to/from Shenzhen Airport usually uses this crossing. The immigration and customs clearance for both Hong Kong and Shenzhen lies under one roof, a stark contrast to the Huanggang/Lok Ma Chau border.
If you take a taxi from Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon of Hong Kong, for instance, it takes only about half an hour to reach the Shenzhen Bay border, and costs about HK$220. It probably takes you 10-15 minutes to clear all the customs and immigration. Right after leaving the customs and immigration hall, there is a taxi stand – you can take the taxi to anywhere in Shenzhen. (http://annatam.com was a great resource)

The Next Best 7 Wonders of Beijing

This post is in response to the article on the 7 Wonders of Beijing.

Blue sky days, Mc Donalds delivery, Taobao and Ayis, are few of the seven wonders that the author mentions in his article on thebeijinger. Well, here is the list of the next best 7 Wonders of Beijing.

1. Pyro Pizza

Like all good things, this amazing pizza place, is located in the Wudaokuo district. Offering the most amazing pepperoni pizza, and the most exciting menu, Pyro also delivers right to your door step. Celebrations or no celebrations, good times call for some Pyro!

2. BLCU/BFSU

These two universities are among the most famous universities for foreigners. Located in the Haidian district, majority of foreigners that come to Beijing to study get enrolled here for their bachelors and even language courses. Having studied in BLCU, I have got to say, the sort of university life I’ve enjoyed for one year- learning mandarin, travelling around China, meeting new people and making new friends in addition to my favorite – numerous conversations with the taxi drivers, the ride has been amazing.

3. National Holidays

The Chinese work hard, play harder. The few days they get off they spend travelling around and even out of the country. Unfortunately, I had to travel these national holidays and had the (unlucky) chance to be one of the millions travelling around the same time. For more on that, click here.

4. CCTV 6

The first day I moved in Chaoyang, I happened to browse through the Chinese channels and TO MY SURPRISE, I bumped into CCTV 6 playing “Kites”, a Bollywood movie featuring Hrithik Roshan. CCTV 6, the movies channel does rescue you sometimes even if it’s with some funny and interesting Chinese movies.

5. Roller-blades

Trolling around the city, I have come across people on roller-blades more than once. Enjoying the wind and the crowd behind you, roller-blades are not a bad idea moving through this busy city.

6. The Alien Market, Russian District

After moving to the Chaoyang district, here in Chaoyangmen, I live 5 minutes away from The Alien Market a.k.a The Russian district. Along with the huge shopping malls, there are a bunch of posh Russian restaurants also located here.

7. Thebeijinger

This is one website that might as well be introduced to you as soon as you land Beijing. Including everything from housing, personals, jobs, etc., under classifieds, it offers very interesting blogs as well as the most happening events around the city along with reviews of all the top restaurants the city has to offer.

Living in Haidian vs. Living in Chaoyang

A First-hand Experience into moving & living in Major Urban Districts: Haidian and Chaoyang in Beijing, China

Beijing is spread across 16,801 km² with a population over 20.18 million (20122 census). The vast size and the constant economic growth of this city are a vital part to what foreigners are attracted to and the possible reason they promptly leave the life they were living in their own country and move here in the City of the East.
Beijing Municipality currently comprises 16 administrative county-level subdivisions. But in this post, I am only going to be focusing on the districts located at the center of the city and moving from one end to another. In the heart of hearts, lies Xicheng and Dongcheng. Moving further away, between the 2nd and 5th ring road, lie the major Urban Districts: Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan.
The central part of Haidian’s economy is the Zhongguancun electronics district, which hosts the Beijing offices of many software and computer technology companies. Whereas, Chaoyang is home to the majority of Beijing’s many foreign embassies, the well-known Sanlitun bar street, as well as Beijing’s growing CBD.
Having lived a major part of my time in Haidian, an educational district, with the majority of universities located here, it is definitely going to be a change to be moving to the Chaoyang district, to be more precise- Chaoyangmen. The Chaoyang Gate (the Gate Facing the Sun) was the main gate of the East City. The gate was demolished, along with the walls and moat of the East City in the 1950s and replaced with the 2nd Ring Road where the moat and walls had been.

 

One observation that cannot be ignored is that Haidian is more relaxed than the ever-busy Chaoyang. I am most certainly 2 minutes walking distance from Starbucks which, just by the way, I regard as a complete hype for absolutely no reason at all. I’ve tasted better coffee, better food in the most local of the local places. That is my one line review of the God-knows-why-famous Starbucks. In Chaoyangmen I live right across what seems to be the Russian District. There are numerous cafes, shopping malls all Russian. There are plenty of foreigners on this side of the city. H&M, Suning, U-town, Walmart, Costa coffee, Mc Donalds and even Burger King join the list of places within 5 minutes from where I live on Chao wai nan lu.
A walk on the Chaowainanlu, and the Russian malls are all around this place, also a very interesting find is the lack of Chinese restaurants and a bunch of stores selling fox skin. It was shocking to see the amount of skin people had outside their stores, very casually just counting the number of dead animal fur.

Although this Business District is suppose to impress, it fails to do so as compared to the Haidian soul. Good inexpensive chinese food is hard to find, and this is a vital point to focus on as is good housing, places promoting themselves for students. A good location is mostly all that matters, not only does the apartment count, but don’t forget to also look carefully around the locality you choose to live in Beijing.

F Visa (Business) Extension In Beijing, China 2013

Most of us are confused with the new visa rule changes that have come up in the recent times. Starting on 1st September, the following on the link are the changes come in effect.  http://www.china-briefing.com/news/2013/07/25/china-releases-final-draft-of-new-visa-and-residence-permit-regulations-for-foreigners.html

Foreigners being invited to Beijing for undertake activities like short term visit investigations lectures business scientific & technological and cultural exchange and short-term advanced studies practice etc., should holding “F” (visiting) visa for entry, and stay within the resident period of visa, which countered from the date of entry, if still need to stay when exceed the resident period, should process visa extension application procedures to Exit & Entry Administration, Public Security Bureau in Beijing before the expiry, the times of extension is not limited, but each time extension shouldn’t exceed 3 months, the accumulated resident period not exceed one year. When request visa extension application, must provide the following materials:

1. One’s valid passport and visa;

2. Host units’ official letters in chinese (if hosted by independent investment joint venture and foreign investment enterprises the whole-people collective and joint stock companies etc., must also provide originals andcopies of duplicate of “Business License”);

3. Adding the official seal of the unit when fill out “Application Form for Visa Residence Permit”, and stick a recent, two in., bareheaded, full-faced photo.

 

Sources:

http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/visa/Fvisa/t982146.htm

Official websitehttp://www.bjgaj.gov.cn/web/

Note: You cannot apply for an extension of visa AGAIN. You have the choice of either leaving the country (eg HK) or apply for another kind of visa. I know, totally sucks. Let’s see what’s in store for me next week.

Address of visa Office: 2 Andingmen Avenue (East), Dongcheng District, Beijing (Southeast of BeiXiaoJie Bridge, 2nd Ring Road).

How to get there: Public transportation: BeiXiaoJie HuoKou Stop by Bus 44, 13, 116,807, 117,  or Lama Temple Station by Underground Line 2, exit B

Teaching and modelling in Beijing, 2013

To an alien familiar with China, it is of no secret that working as a part time teacher and getting acting/modelling assignments are great ways to earn fast money.

Since the past decade, the need for English teachers in China has increased by a tremendous amount, and even more so for Native English teachers. There are several advertisements, several agencies providing work visas, a salary from anywhere between 10k to 20k, along with several other benefits, like the following example.

TIENS photo-shoot

In 2012, it was just another ordinary day as I was walking out my dorm in BLCU, Wudaokou, when a woman came up to me, took me to meet a group of quiet people she was with a few feet away and told me she wanted me to let her take pictures of my face profile. If they needed someone with my look they would get in touch. I let them take pictures, never actually thinking that a few days later I would be getting a call.  Phone calls and emails later, next thing I know I’m getting my make-up done for a pharmaceutical photo-shoot. I had a good set of foreigners with me; this was a new experience for some. But for 12 hours we were in it together and it was tiring but pretty amazing. To be honest, now that I’m back in the city, I do feel like going for more photo-shoots. It was good money about 1300 RMB for 12 hours and then again, a few days later around 500 more for 3 or 4 hours.

I was so unsure of getting into a van in a foreign city with a bunch people I didn’t even know. I remember telling my bestie to call the police if I didn’t pick up her calls or reply to her texts! I reckon we left around 7 in the morning and came back around dinner time, around 8 which is when we also got paid and signed what looked like contracted for letting these guys legally use our pictures. My make up lady was great, the shoot team were polite and respectful, and very professional, I must say.

A bunch us students from BLCU at the photoshoot in Tianjin for a 12 hour shoot


Another experience I had was that of teaching English which was completely new to me. The following are a bunch of my personal experiences. I want to be able to share these with others in my shoes, living and earning on this side, here in China.

The Classic Case of the Brat

So one bright morning, I went to the Sino education office located about 35-40 minutes away from my brother’s university BFSU. I reached on time and found out that I needed to wait out ten or fifteen minutes for the kid to arrive for her class. This cute girl was nicely carried in by her mom. I didn’t think much of this then but I’m beginning to understand why I’m bringing this into light now. A room full of funny looking chairs and props were kept for kids to play around with. The Kid’s mom was… oddly older for a child around 4 or 5? She had the skin of a 50’s lady –dark spots and no glow, absolutely. But, anyway, enough with how much noticing I took interest in. I was introduced to Angel, her name was the only anything angel about her though. Angel wore a nice bow around the head, would not sit still for even a second. But somehow, even I don’t know how, we got from A to well M as far as alphabets are concerned. Her mom, and another office member and I spent about more than half an hour trying for her to stick to her seat and interact with me. The only thing she was concerned with was A. freedom to jump around, B. that her mommy stay in the room. How this delightful session ended was with Angel crying her throat out behind the comical chair she sat/hide behind, and this is after her mom left the room for the student-teacher interaction to take place. I was not going to move my ass. I know better than to run around a spoilt princess crying for attention. I might not be painting a pretty patient picture of myself here but the truth is if you were there, you’d agree with me. Later, after the duo left, the office assistant Alice told me that because Angel’s mom already had a 18 year old son, she was the more focused on and therefore loved more. No wonder.

Irene- the real teacher

I met Irene through my sister. My first impression of her is my last impression of her. She is a professional, smart and polite Chinese lady who runs her own chain of English teaching classess around Beijing. She also gave us a good teaching rate per hour unlike other agencies that make it an almost never ending process for you to get to the point where you start earning what you well deserve. So far, I enjoy working for Irene. I don’t think I can forget how she always somehow manages to bring in “I see’, or ‘we’ll see’ in a conversation.