The Emperor’s Friend


Likely the only painting of Matteo Ricci while in China.

The following is an account of the first foreigner to create a meaningful and harmonious relationship with the Chinese people.  Matteo Ricci’s aim was to reach out to the entire nation, and his influence had even reached the Wanli Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1572 – 1620) whom he had befriended.  His story should be studied by any individual interested in doing business in China.  In fact, his method for creating a healthy relationship with his counterpart is relevant for working with any foreign nation.  Many businesses have had success implementing the Cultural Accommodation policy of Alessandro Valignano and Matteo Ricci, such as Starbucks and KFC.  The idea is to warmly reach out to the counterpart rather than being forceful.  Westerners today trying to do business in China may naturally be inclined to use coercive methods to be persuasive; however, Chinese people tend to take things slower and are more delicate in their ways of communicating.  Let’s read to understand how Matteo Ricci overcame this cultural difference. Continue reading

Chinese Anchor Baby Network Exposed -菲姐美国月子中心

68281935gw1e04on3sgqnjAnchor babying or baby tourism is such a shameless concept in China that networks running these operations are blatantly advertising their services on social media apps and all across the Chinternet (中国特色互联网 “Internet with Special Chinese Characteristics” – a play on 中国特色社会主义 “Socialism with Special Chinese Characteristics”).  In this article, we will take a look at one organization called “Sister Fei’s American Childbirth Center” (菲姐美国月子中心 fēijiě měiguó yuèzi zhōngxīn) or also called “US Baby.”  With customers paying as much as $10,000 to $50,000 or more for the service, the organization could be making millions of dollars a year for the illegal immigration practices. Continue reading

Watch:《活着》- “To Live”


Gong Li

It’s a film that the Chinese Communist Party sees as an existential threat and is recognized internationally as one of the best Chinese films ever, To Live (活着 Huózhe) exposes life under the rule of Chairman Mao and the various Party policies that have caused hardship to the average citizen.  The film’s awards includes the Grand Prix from the Cannes Film Festival (1994) and Best Film Not in the English Language from the BAFTA Awards (1995), it is a piece of art that viewers are surely to admire. Continue reading

Warning about Chinese Hotels – 否接待外宾的酒店


Homeless tunnel docile

Foreign travelers fluent in Chinese and those that are not both find that getting accommodations in China is among the most difficult of tasks in this country.  Each city has hundreds of hotels, hostels, and inns, some of which are extremely cheap and most convenient; however, as a foreigner, you are only allowed to stay in a select/limited number of them (and these can be the more expensive, less convenient choices).  Hotels in China are required to meet certain criteria before they receive accreditation from the authorities to welcome foreign guests (外宾 wài bīn).  Not only is the law bad for business, it is discriminatory and arbitrary in nature!  Continue reading

Shark Fin Soup – 鱼翅汤

shark-fin-soup-doodleExperts know that shark fin soup 鱼翅汤 (yú chì tāng) is a traditional and regal dish, as the delicacy received mention in the imperial history books called the 《宋会要》 (sòng huì yào).  In the recent past, this dish was impossible for the average person to try.  Thanks to China’s opening up to globalization and a more capitalist market, every Chinese person with a few extra dollars can have this imperial dish.  “Everyone can live like an emperor if they want” is the way of the modern Chinese lifestyle.  At large family gatherings, such as weddings, the father–and others–would like to foot the bill for an extravagant portion of tiger penis, swallow nest soup, and/or shark fin soup.  It is a culture of generosity and, sometimes, extravagance, coupled with face-value; “I have something that you do not have.” Continue reading

Reading:《红高粱家族》 – “Red Sorghum Clan”


Read to find out what the traditional, secret recipe for red sorghum wine is (it’s disgusting)!

Written by China’s only Nobel winner, 莫言 (mò yán), this graphic telling of a sorghum wine making village during the Japanese Occupation/Resistance is a must-read for those interested in Chinese history and literature.  While the novel attempts to provide the reader with a clear depiction of China’s Japanese Resistance Movement, the piece also showcases Chinese storytelling at its finest.  The story is gruesome, humorous, entertaining, and horrifying. Continue reading

Recommended Reading:《阿Q正传》- “The True Story of Ah Q”


This social commentary piece reveals to readers what it was like to be a Chinese person living in the time after foreign invaders–the UK, Russia, America, and other western powers–swiftly crushed what was supposed to be the “Heavenly, Celestial Empire” or China.  The novel tells the true story of an entire nation in denial of the changing tides of the world order and the cause/effect of this massively historical event during the 1800’s and early 1900’s.  There is no better piece of literature to understanding the way Chinese felt and thought about their own situation post-Opium War and during the time of foreign invasion/colonialism. Continue reading

What is Chinese Medicine? – 中医


Acupuncture, hot cupping, massages, and strange tasting herbal medicine is merely the tip of the iceberg of traditional Chinese medicine.  The thought and philosophy that is behind this culture is fascinating and is the most significant part of this exotic practice.  Many of us today may question the effectiveness of these bizarre procedures; however, Chinese medicine contends with Western practices still today, and there is only a growing market for it, not a diminishing one, with the evidence of its effectiveness. Continue reading

China IQ -中華智商 & True Knowledge (是知也)


At the heart of the China IQ (中華智商, zhōnghuá zhìshāng) mission is to expand knowledge learning of China beyond the superficial level.  Much of the information out there that is presented by the journalism industry is one-sided and prepared by people with little to no experience with this country.  It is the hope of China IQ to bring to surface those sources that are credible and to help those out there that want a deeper understanding of this culture.  With true knowledge as a central theme to this blog, I would like to share a very ancient and special phrase (predates Jesus) in Chinese:


The translation of this saying is: “you say you know what you know, and you say you don’t know what you don’t know, that is true knowledge/wisdom.”  The pronunciation of these characters is as follows: Continue reading

New China IQ series – China: For Foreigners – 老外中国系列 & Traditional Chinese Medical Science- 中医

As China IQ expands its content, I try my best to focus on providing knowledge for those planning to live in China.  This means information on useful cellphone applications, dealing with frustrating situations (train stations, general misunderstandings, campus life, etc.), and tips on learning Mandarin Chinese (including articles that provide useful vocabulary).  Next week is Chinese New Years, and as the author, I have been considering if I have kept true to what I originally wanted to achieve.  Although readers and I have had dialogue about controversial issues concerning the South China Sea, over-population, pollution, and other issues, there hasn’t been enough discussion to help the average, everyday lǎo wài in China!


A new category, For Foreigners – 老外中国系列, has been added to reflect this change. Continue reading