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In this page: Communities of Expatriates | Ranking of Cities | Renting an Apartment | School System | Health System | Tourism and Culture | Individual and Civic Freedoms | Religion


Communities of Expatriates

The Number of Expatriates
The sixth national census revealed that a total of 593,832 foreigners are living on the Chinese mainland.
Press for expatriates (examples): That’s, Global Times, Asiaxpat, Geoexpat.
Hotel reservation websites
Moving to China (Expat Arrivals)
China Expat Society

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Ranking of Cities

Cost of Living
Major Chinese cities count among the most expensive in the world. Shanghai and Beijing are respectively ranked 12h and 13th most expensive cities in the world according to the latest available edition of the Cost of Living Worldwide City Rankings Survey by Mercer.
Quality of Life
According to the latest available edition of the Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings Survey by Mercer, Beijing and Shanghai are ranked 120th and 103rd respectively out of 231 cities worldwide in terms of quality of living.
Hotel reservation websites
Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings (Survey by Mercer)
Cost of Living Worldwide City Rankings (Survey by Mercer)

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Renting an Apartment

Average Lease Term
Usually, one year contract
Average Rental Costs
It is standard practice to collect guarantee of one or two months rent and the agency fees is 1/2 to 1 month's rent
Rental Agency Websites
Century 21

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School System

The Education System
The Chinese school system includes day care centers, nursery schools, special schools for the deaf and dumb, "key schools", primary schools, secondary schools (including agricultural and professional schools), schools for teachers, technical schools and several institutions for higher education (general or specialized colleges and universities).
Since 1986, 9 years of schooling is compulsory. The medium of instruction in Chinese schools is Mandarin.
International Schools
There are many international schools in the big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Canton. The most common schools are English, American, French and German.

View the list of international schools in China

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Health System

The Healthcare System
The healthcare system in China is inadequate. Today, the press estimates that 20% of the people benefit from 80% of medical spending by the government. They are essentially civil servants and employees of state-owned companies. Re-use or poor sterilisation practices are problems in China, contributing to transmission of diseases.
International Hospitals
Western-style medical facilities with international staff are available in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and a few other large cities. Many other hospitals in major Chinese cities have so-called VIP wards (gaogan bingfang) with good equipment and English-speaking staff. More information is available at the following websites: World Clinic  and China Expat Health.

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Tourism and Culture

Different Forms of Tourism

While Modern China has grown and expanded exponentially, there are still many sites dating back to ancient China.

Some examples of well-preserved ancient cities include Pingyao (in central Shanxi) and Lijiang (in Yunnan). Built in the Song Dynasty, Pingyao has many stone bridges, arches and homes dating back centuries, making it a great location for visitors wishing to study China’s architectural history.

China offers many museums and temples for those interested in cultural tourism.

Notable examples include: Tienanmen Square, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.

Options abound for natural tourism in China, ranging from rugged mountains to serene valleys.

China’s Five Sacred Mountains: Tài Shān, Huà Shān, Héng Shān (Shanxi), Héng Shān (Hunan) and Sōng Shān.

Gorgeous valleys can be found in southwestern China, including Jiuzhaigou which runs over 40km through mountains, lakes, waterfalls and forest.

Three Gorges of the Yangtze River (Qutang, Wu and Xiling).

Many Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian temples. Notable examples include the Shaolin Temple in Henan (the birthplace of Chinese Zen Buddhism and known for its Shaolin Kung Fu martial arts) and Mount Emei (dotted with numerous ancient Buddhist temples and structures).
There are few European-style spas in China.
Hainan island, Sanya and the city of Qingdao in the Shandong province all offer spectacular beaches.
Winter Sports
Winter sports are not yet very well developed in China.
Outdoor Activities
Big department stores and shopping malls are being built all over the country. Western brands are established in the main Chinese cities. Markets such as Xiushui street and the antique market Panjiayuan in Beijing are good places to buy souvenirs.
Tourism Organisations
Travel China Guide
Cultural Organizations
State cultural heritage administration

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Individual and Civic Freedoms

Civil Liberty
World Ranking of Freedom of the Press According to "Reporters sans Frontières", 2021 report : 177/180

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The Chinese are generally atheists. That being said, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism are relatively widespread amongst senior citizens and attract a part of the well-to-do class today. There are also Christian and Muslim minorities.

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Latest Update: July 2024