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3. Setding 1h Life in China is a fascinating blend of common patterns with unique variations. Overall the experiences of academic visitors to China evince great similarity, but no two are completely alike. The shaping influ- ences of personality, timing, context, and a myriad of other factors are as important in China as in any other country; so it would be unwise to assume that your experience will mirror those described here. None- theless, some common patterns have emerged during the seven years Americans have had the opportunity to live and work in China. Each returning "veteran'' has a fund of anecdotes and insights, and it is the most exemplary and interesting of these that have been included in the observations that follow. ARRIVING IN CHINA You should plan to consult an experienced travel agent in the United States about the many methods to enter China. There are now direct flights to Shanghai and Beijing, but many travelers still prefer to stop in Hong Kong or Tokyo for a few days' rest before proceeding to their destination in China. In Hong Kong the China Travel Service can supply information and tickets; the address of the main branch is 77 Queens Road, Central District Hong Kong Island (phone: 5-259121) The China International Travel Service, which serves non-Chinese visitors exclusively, has an office in: 41

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42 CHINA BOUND South Sea Centre Sixth Floor, Tower Two Tsimshatsui East Kowloon (phone: 3-7215317) The China Guidebook* contains information on travel into China from Japan on cruise ships, overland by rail, and so on. The China National Tourist Office in New York (212-867-0271) also can be consulted. It is the responsibility of the host institution to meet new arrivals and escort them to their residence. But the sheer volume of academic travelers to China has placed a strain on host organizations which sometimes results in less than smooth arrangements for meeting and housing newcomers. To guard as much as possible against mix-ups at the airport, be sure to communicate your travel plans to your Chinese hosts clearly and early on; you can telephone or cable from Hong Kong if final plans are made there or cable from the United States. Whatever method you use, remember to notify all the organizations involved in hosting you. For example, if you are to be associated with a unit in the interior that has a parent organization in Beijing or Shanghai, you should not assume that the two organizations will communicate with each other. The local unit may send a representative to the city to meet you, or someone from the parent organization may be on hand. Or, in some unfortunate cases, weary travelers have found no one at the air- port although airport personnel usually are willing to find a taxi driver who will help locate temporary quarters. The experience of a non- Chinese-speaking scientist who arrived on a late evening flight and was not met is reassuring: "I arrived in Beijing at 10 p.m., but because my baggage did not make the connection in San Francisco I had to wait and eventually make the missing baggage report at midnight. By that time, the Academy person waiting for me had left and I was sent by the information desk person to the . . . Ritan Hotel, next to Ritan Park and the U.S. Embassy." This report does not indicate what happened to the bags; in most cases, they show up on the next flight. If they are clearly labeled with the address of your unit's foreign affairs office, they may be delivered there. But you might also want to return to the airport to check for your baggage. Whenever your bags arrive, you must be prepared to go through customs on your own because your hosts cannot meet you until you have picked up your bags and completed customs forms. The customs process is quite hectic in the Beijing airport; several flights usually arrive at once, baggage carousels are inadequate for the *Unless otherwise noted in the text, Appendix L gives publication information for references cited in this chapter.

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SETTLING IN 43 volume of traffic, and there are too few customs personnel. One word of warning: be sure not to lose your customs form in the mayhem. It is a good idea to have the phone number of your unit on hand so that you can call if you arrive during working hours. You should try to avoid a weekend arrival if possible. Most units are open on Saturday, but Sunday is almost universally a day of rest and offices will be closed. If your flight is delayed en route, try to cable the unit so that personnel do not make unnecessary trips to the airport. In Beijing and Shanghai, these are long and time-consuming journeys. One American teacher tells how a conscientious Chinese cadre met every plane from abroad for two days searching for him because he had not been able to cable an abrupt change in travel plans. If after you arrive in China, you must make your own arrangements for travel to your final destination, ask for help at the reception desk of one of the larger hotels. Service workers should be able to direct you to the nearest office of the China Travel Service. At the Beijing and Shanghai airports, taxi service is available. Ask for help from airport service workers if necessary. THE TENOR OF LIFE IN CHINA THE DANWEI Every foreigner who lives and works in China is assigned to a work unit, which in Chinese is called a danwei. For the foreign visitor, as well as for any working member of Chinese society, the danwei is the single most important frame of reference for all ac- tivities. Whether it be a commune, factory, research institute, or uni- versity, the work unit is a microcosm of Chinese society with its own political hierarchy, networks of personal and professional relationships, services, and, in many cases, living quarters. It is through the work unit that the Chinese government exerts its influence on the life of the individual, for it is the unit issuing the identification card that marks the bearer as a working member of Chinese society, entitled to medical care, ration coupons, and housing. And it is not only the necessities of daily life that are provided by the unit but also permission to marry, to bear the allotted number of children, and to travel. The unit acts as a go-between when its members must communicate with other orga- nizations and screens outsiders who attempt to penetrate its bound- aries. Lateral relations among danwei, even those engaged in similar activities, are cumbersome for permanent members as well as for for- eign guests because of the autonomous nature of the units. Temporary movement in and out of the danwei is common for Chinese intellectuals and administrators, especially since the advent of the new reforms, which stress the importance of self-improvement through ed- ucation and specialized training. Permanent voluntary transfers are

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44 CHINA BOUND still rare, however, and it is not unusual for husbands and wives to work in danwei in different cities. There is some evidence of more job mobility for Chinese workers as a result of the economic reforms but usually only if the unit engaged in "headhunting" or the worker seeking new employment is willing to pay a stiff fee to compensate the original place of work. Thus, it is still true that, once they have been assigned to a work unit, most Chinese remain there for the rest of their working lives, in close quarters with friends and allies as well as with bitter enemies, especially since the Cultural Revolution. These internal relationships are important and all too often unknown to the short-term visitor. But foreigners who have become integrated enough into a unit to be aware of its inner workings usually discover that surface cordiality among Chinese coworkers does not necessarily reflect deeper harmony. The presence of a foreigner, even if temporary, can create further imbalances, as such resources as office space and the use of assistants are redistributed to accommodate the newcomer. More importantly, as one veteran of two years in a Beijing research unit points out, the Chinese members of the danwei who associate most closely with the foreigner become both more visible and more vulner- able to their colleagues. It is wise then to refrain from showing too much favoritism publicly to Chinese friends and from betraying con- fidences that could create embarrassment or worse for those you come to know well. In their informative study of a hospital work unit in Wuhan, Gail Henderson, a sociologist, and Myron Cohen, a physician, examine in detail the meaning and position of the work unit in Chinese society and in their own professional experience: Danwei are isolated from each other in relatively closed systems, de- pendent upon higher levels for the source of their power and authority over members. The danwei system is, of course, not the sole force af- fecting the lives of work unit members. Other factors include the family, relationships with people outside the danwei, membership in neigh- borhood organizations, the power of the professional within a bureau- cratic organization, constraints on middle-level leaders, and the influence of the Communist Party and other national organizations. Nevertheless, the danwei has an extraordinary influence on its individual members and (in our case) on the formal and informal relations among the hos- pital administrator, doctors, nurses, and patients. This influence does not lessen the importance of the other doctors, but rather interacts with them and provides an additional layer of control with which Chinese citizens must cope in their daily lives. (pp. 7-8 in The Chinese Hospital: A Socialist Work Unit, by Gail Henderson and Myron Cohen. Copyright ~ 1984 Yale University, New Haven, Conn. Reprinted with . . permlsslon

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SETTLING IN 45 If anything is predictable about a stay ire China, it is that you will become a member (albeit perhaps a marginal one) of this highly struc- tured society and can accomplish very little without learning to work within its boundaries. Although there may be a certain degree of se- curity and simplicity inherent in such a setup for example, you need not worry about the basic arrangements for daily life most foreigners feel confined when they realize that most arrangements for daily and professional life must be channeled through the waishi banshichu- literally, "the office for outside business," but usually referred to simply as the foreign affairs office or waiban. THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS OFFICE Although the foreign affairs of- fice looms large in the lives of foreigners, it does not exist simply to oversee the foreign guests within the unit. It is also the administrative office that handles all of the unit's external relationships, including arranging for its Chinese members to go abroad, receiving delegations, and negotiating exchange programs. Special waiban personnel, usually trained to some degree in foreign languages, look after the personal affairs of the foreigners in the unit and serve as their liaison with other units and with different departments within the unit itself. The foreign affairs office thus provides a mechanism that allows the foreigner to work within the unit without becoming integrated into its hierarchy. It is the duty of the foreign affairs cadre to interpret, negotiate, and supervise the implementation of the wishes of their foreign guests and to take responsibility for the consequences. Within this system the foreigner often feels a dismaying lack of con- trol over the direction of academic work and the more mundane but equally important arrangements for daily living. In his description of his relationships in a rural commune that had never before hosted a foreigner, Steven Butler points out that the foreign affairs officials had little knowledge of or sympathy for his research goals; nonetheless, they were responsible for all of his onsite activities: The foreign affairs officials are responsible for ferrying foreigners in and out of the labyrinth of highly segmented work and residential units that make up Chinese society, and their main professional charge seems to be to make the foreigners comfortable and, as they say, to "promote friendship between the Chinese and American people." They do this mainly by arranging things so that foreigners do not have to lift a finger. For these persons, my visit to China was simply one more profes- sional assignment, although the length and nature of my stay were new to them. (The Social Sciences and Fieldwork in China: Views from the Field, p. 103)

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46 CHINA BOUND It is the burden of foreign affairs officials to show the best side of China to the outsider, a task complicated by their own marginality in Chinese academic society and their precarious role as interpreters for people whose cultures they know only secondhand. Very few foreign affairs personnel have the opportunity to spend any significant time abroad because they are not scholars and they are not highly placed in the administrative structure and because their services cannot be spared in China. It will take time and effort for you to figure out how your unit is organized, who has formal authority and who has actual power, how to couch requests, and what role the foreign affairs officials play. Advice about how best to deal with the foreign affairs office is difficult to offer because situations vary so much from unit to unit. Some China veterans suggest that you ignore the foreign affairs officials as much as possible and instead make arrangements through academic colleagues who of- ten have more clout within the unit than functionaries and are likely to be more in sympathy with your academic goals. Others openly advise their successors that functionaries must be courted. One graduate stu- dent laments that he heeded warnings to avoid the foreign affairs office: "It has been my experience this year that if you get to know them well arid have requests which are within their power to grant, they will be granted. This is not unlike bureaucrats and administrators in the West." He goes on to point out, however, that help from Chinese bureaucrats often hinges on personal feelings. Of one particularly powerful official, this student states: "If he does not like you, he will use every means to prevent you from achieving your goals." The traits that may help you to be perceived as a "friendly foreigner" include good cheer in the face of adversity, respect and understanding for the limitations of particular offices, and the ability to offer criticism constructively which means, in the opinion of one researcher, that when frustrated you should not slander the socialist system or Chinese culture wholesale but rather focus on particular problems at hand. It is helpful as well to understand your own role in the larger sense. Steven Butler achieved a rapport with the officials responsible for him, despite their constant scrutiny and attention, by displaying sensitivity to how his presence affected the balance for them. He compares the lavish hospitality accorded him to the treatment a populist-minded president might expect if he descended on a rural backwater to attend a town meeting.... To com- plain about such treatment makes you look like an ungrateful guest and makes people feel that they have been bad hosts. Rather than fight it, it is better to play along. It works out better for everyone. I became convinced toward the end of my stay that even ordinary Chinese peas- ants perceived of the way I was treated as role playing, in the fullest

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SETTLING IN 47 sociological sense and part of an elaborate ritual. The status conferred on me was not intrinsic to myself, but derived from the role played in a situation that was really beyond anyone's control. When I played along, it put people at ease. They felt that they knew what they could expect from me and they could relax. (The Social Sciences arid Fieldwork in China: Views from the Field, p. 119) Experiences vary, and indeed some foreigners might envy Butler the solicitous attention he received. Your status, linguistic capabilities, prior contacts with the danwei, and outside networks, as well as the unit's own history and style of dealing with foreigners, all play a part in determining how to best approach the foreign affairs office. In ad- dition, the number of foreigners in their care is a major factor influ- encing the way foreign affairs officials treat any individual. Butler was the only foreigner in his unit, and he enjoyed the status of a research scholar. A student in a university crowded with foreign students from all over the world can expect less help and even, at times, a disturbing lack of cooperation from overburdened officials. What students lack in comfort and attention, however, they are compensated for by a relative degree of freedom to make their own arrangements. Students can make their own travel plans, for example, and in doing so can determine the style and schedule of their trips far more easily than the honored foreign guest who tours with an entourage or is met along the way with in- terpreters and guides. Ironically, students also have the opportunity to understand the intricate workings of the bureaucracy because they often come face to face with it, and such experiences, although frus- trating at times, also offer insights not always available to those shel- tered by high status. Sometimes busy foreign affairs personnel, who may not have been involved in placement negotiations at a higher level, are not quite certain of the status of their guests. One senior scholar, whose housing and travel arrangements were far from satisfactory because the waiban did not offer assistance, concludes that, in general, China does not have the physical facilities or student and faculty personnel to handle all those it would sincerely like to welcome. He goes or to say that the result of so many people coming in through the new "open door" is that "China seems to find it difficult at this stage to discriminate among her visitors with respect to their usefulness, seniority, etc. As a con- sequence, allocations of all kinds seem to be made literally on a first- come/first-served basis." It can be assumed generally, however, that when foreign affairs officials work on behalf of their foreign guests, it is to their own advantage rather than against their interests because they bear ultimate responsibility for the visit. As one young woman who works in the foreign affairs office of a large, prestigious Beijing unit remarked to a foreign couple about to embark unaccompanied on

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48 CHINA BOUND a long journey to western China, "If anything happens to you, I will pay for it!" THE QUALITY OF LIFE Every work unit is a minisociety with its own traditions, folklore, factions, history, and style of working with foreigners. Among university campuses the superficial aspects of life, such as dormitory accommodations, organizational structures, even the style of the buildings, might be uniform, but the flavor of daily life may be very different. The location of the city in which you live, the size and personality quirks of the foreign community there, the unit's ex- perience or lack of it with foreigners, and its standing with other or- ganizations all make a great difference. A small normal college that does not enjoy prestige within the educational system may be either more defensive and rigid with its foreign guests or more welcoming than a large key university; a research institute that has never hosted foreign guests may be eager to establish new ties or, alternatively, suspicious and unhelpful at first. As a result, generalizations about daily life must be made with caution. Nonetheless, recurring themes do emerge from reports and conversations with foreigners who have lived in China for any length of time. One frequent observation is that there is little separation between personal and professional life, especially for those who live on the cam- pus of their work unit. But no one, not even a hotel dweller in a far corner of the city, is immune to frequent visits from anxious colleagues, especially in the first few weeks when there is a genuine concern that newcomers become acclimated as soon as possible. There is reason for worry: most foreigners do in fact fall ill or at least feel out of sorts initially. But such attention sometimes only prolongs the adjustment process. As one American comments, "Some things are difficult to get used to the absolute lack of privacy is one. There are people hovering about me from 6:30 a.m. until I retire. They are all well-intentioned, trying to make me comfortable and trying to help. But it's hard to adjust to and in many ways sets up a barrier between me and the society I am studying. I am gradually finding ways to get around this, but the key here is patience." Indeed, the word "patience" comes up again and again as Americans offer advice for getting along in China: "Patience is the most valuable trait to take to China. The Chinese don't operate from the same premises as Americans do in terms of the appropriate way to get things done and a good measure of understanding is required to avoid considerable frustration." And from another: "Be sensitive to Chinese personality traits; they are much more patient than we, and a quick temper will

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SETTLING IN 49 get you nowhere. Never take yourself, or the Chinese, too seriously; they are extremely modest, a trait we Americans should learn to prac- tice more assiduously." Foreigners learn very quickly that there is a severe shortage of space in most Chinese organizations and that few of their Chinese colleagues enjoy the luxury of a private office or for that matter, any office at all in some cases. Foreign visitors have admitted feeling ashamed at being so well-housed when their Chinese colleagues have to work with- out quiet space and to live in small and crowded quarters. As one researcher in a scientific unit put it, she felt guilty when she realized that her office had once accommodated six or eight of her colleagues, who now had to do without in order to supply her, the foreign guest, with adequate office space. Some scholars whose work takes them to the countryside discover that special quarters with showers, kitchens, and personnel to staff the establishmenthave been put together just for their use. Such luxurious accommodations place them embarrass- ingly far above the living standard of their Chinese neighbors. On the other hand, some researchers and teachers have been dis- mayed at the conditions of laboratories, classrooms, and dormitories, which are not generally heated or well-maintained and are sometimes downright unsafe. One scientist, for example, discovered asbestos ma- terials filtering through the heating system, and others have com- plained about inadequate fire escape outlets in dorms and hotels. But anyone who has visited a Chinese home, or is sensitive to the working conditions of colleagues, understands that in most cases foreigners en- joy conditions far superior to those of their Chinese counterparts, who are often quite frank about the problems generated by lack of space. Because of the shortage of space and because many members of the damsel live on campus, business that is considered public and profes- sional in the West is often conducted in the room of the foreign guest. It is not unusual for a foreign visitor's room to become the only place to hold language tutorials, conduct financial negotiations, arrange for travel, and so on. Although first meetings with Chinese colleagues may be very formal, once a relationship is established, friends and colleagues feel free to stop by, without phoning ahead, simply to visit; or they may make vague plans to meet, leaving you bound to your room for hours at a time waiting for a friend or student who promised to stop by "sometime in the afternoon, today or tomorrow." Sometimes Chinese colleagues and friends will appear without any notice at all at times when they are least expected early on a Sunday morning, for instance. The only time that you can be relatively sure of privacy is during the xiuxi or rest period, from noon until 1:30 or 2 p.m. You, in turn, should not disturb Chinese friends at that time, which is not only a respite but for many an opportunity to run errands or do the day's marketing.

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50 CHINA BOUND There is, in the words of one American scholar, a "different concept of privacy in China people walking into one's room freely, inspecting personal items, reading mail, asking questions. An adjustment is needed." You will also find that the boundaries in China between acceptable questions and embarrassing intrusions are different, and you must be prepared to answer all sorts of questions that Americans generally consider taboo about money earned and spent, where you have been that day, or where exactly you plan to go tomorrow. But rarely will Chinese colleagues and friends especially the older generation ask you about your personal life beyond a polite concern for health and family matters, nor will they offer details about theirs. Some foreigners have learned only by accident, for example, that a longstanding Chinese friend is divorced or about to marry. As one senior scholar observed, "It often took a genuine effort to establish a dialogue that moved beyond the superficial aspects of daily life, especially with my older Chinese colleagues." Younger people are sometimes far more open. American students can expect a great deal of curiosity about U.S. life (from rock stars to ro- mance), and they may, in turn, be offered insights into Chinese family life, courting behavior, and marriage expectations. Often the most in- tense encounters occur when you are traveling, for it is easier to talk frankly with people you will never see again. PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS Barriers between outsiders and Chinese citizens are still formidable because they are the result not only of cultural differences but of official policies designed to mitigate the influence of foreign culture. Some of these barriers are obvious: Chinese guests often are required to register when visiting a foreigner in a hotel room; the Chinese are denied entrance to stores reserved for foreigners unless they have special permission. Other impediments are less clear and more troubling. Some Chinese intellectuals are cleared for contacts with foreigners while others must ask permission to visit a foreign friend. And some Chinese are obviously nervous about contact with foreigners for reasons an outsider may never be able to fathom. In addition to individual fears of the consequences of friendships with foreigners, your Chinese acquaintances may be responding to changes in government policies that affect their relationships with outsiders. Many times these shifts are known to foreigners only indirectly for instance, when their relationships with Chinese friends subtly change without explanation or when the rules governing access to institutions or materials become more restrictedbecause policy shifts of this sort are rarely articulated publicly. Over the past few years, vicissitudes in regulations affecting foreign students have created a good deal of confusion. Students report that

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SETTLING IN 51 at times they are free to invite Chinese friends into their dormitory for conversation, and then suddenly new registration procedures will be announced that limit visits to certain hours or prevent them altogether. These procedures are rationalized with explanations that make little sense such as the common one that officials are only "protecting" their guests from the unsavory designs of certain "bad elements." Many Americans in China during the antispiritual pollution campaign in late 1983 described how they began to suspect a policy shift when all their Chinese friends suddenly became cool or were simply unavailable, and when libraries and reading rooms previously open were abruptly closed to them. Because as guests, as outsiders, foreigners operate so much in the dark, it seems best to let Chinese colleagues take the lead in deter- mining the kind of relationship that can develop under circumstances that only they can fully comprehend. Some foreigners have expressed doubts about whether the Chinese even know fully the present or future consequences of contact with foreigners. As Anne Thurston observes in her useful comments on the personal side of carrying out fieldwork in China ("Social Sciences and Fieldwork in China: An Overview," in The Social Sciences and Fieldwork in China: Views from the Field), antiforeign and anti-American feelings can be found at all levels of Chinese society. Suspicion of a foreigner's activities is most easily aroused when the outsider steps out of the bounds of the category in which he or she originally has been placed. Whether the foreigner is labeled a tourist, a foreign expert (a teacher), an undergraduate or graduate student, or a foreign scholar will have considerable bearing on what the foreigner is permitted to do. A tourist, after all, is expected to sightsee, a foreign expert to teach, a student to study, and a foreign scholar to conduct research. For a foreign expert to attempt to conduct research without official permission is to risk serious misunderstanding and potential jeopardy to Chinese friends who may have assisted in that research. (The Social Sciences and Field- work in China: Views from the Field, p. 24) Those who travel to China to carry out serious work of any kind must have the sanction of officialdom at some level. Even with that sanction, they may well find it hard to balance the demands of a project with sensitivity to the situation of Chinese colleagues and friends. The term guanxi comes up again and again when anyone, Chinese or foreign, tries to discover how to accomplish anything in China. It seems that the bureaucratic structure at times merely provides a framework for the more intangible workings of intricate webs of personal relations and favors. Chinese friends will tell you that personal relations (who you know, who owes you a favor, or who thinks you might be able to be of use in the future) are far more important to understand than the formal lines of authority. For example, Chinese friends that you have

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60 CHINA BOUND afternoon; or that a long-awaited trip to the field is finally scheduled- for the next morning. HOUSING Foreigners who study or work in the Chinese educational system are categorized according to the type of program in which they participate. Each group is subject to different housing and financial arrangements. Students almost always are assigned to a campus dormitory reserved for foreigners. Most colleges and universities do not allow Chinese and foreign students to room together, and the trend in the larger schools is to segregate foreign students in separate dormitories. How much students pay out of pocket is determined by the.kind of program in which they enroll. Most U.S.-sponsored language programs charge a flat tuition, room, and board fee that covers all the essentials including meals; other programs include only partial payment to the Chinese organization for these services. Graduate students and undergraduates who make their own arrangements with a Chinese institution of higher learning will pay all expenses directly to that institution. In addition, there are a variety of agreements between Chinese and U.S. institutions for student exchanges that include remission of tuition or room-and- board costs. "The Regulations Concerning the Admission of Foreign Students in Chinese Schools, 1986" (see Appendix B. items IV.A and IX.B) spell out the rules governing student housing. "Chinese schools have separate dining halls for foreign students. However, foreign students may, if they wish, have meals in the canteens for Chinese students. They should observe the regulations of the dining halls and canteens and maintain order in them. Chinese schools provide dormitories for their foreign students. In general, two students share one room. No special accom- modations are available for married couples or for students' family members. Foreign students must abide by the school's regulations re- lating to housing." In some schools, if space permits, students can occupy a room alone that is, if they pay for the unused bed. The 1986 regulations also set dorm rates: US$1.50 per bed per day for a double room, two students sharing a room. The cost of a single room is US$4.00 per day. Scholars and academic visitors above the student level are considered guests; they usually are housed in hotels and guest houses and must pay tourist rates from their own funds. Because Chinese organizations usually have longstanding arrangements with one or two hotels to house their foreign guests, there is not much room for choice. Recently some foreigners who know the system well have been able to arrange their own housing but only if space is available. The high volume of tourists

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SETTLING IN 61 in China often negates the possibility of striking out alone to find hous- ing even if the host unit tolerates such initiative. Sometimes guest houses on smaller campuses will house students, scholars, and foreign teachers but at different rates depending on status and amenities. Teachers are classified either as foreign experts (who are selected by the State Education Commission) or as foreign teachers (who make direct arrangements with the host unit). Provisions for teachers vary according to the organization, but generally either on-campus apart- ments or hotel suites are provided. As noted earlier, the regulations governing foreign experts state that the hiring party must provide hous- ing and the following related items for the employee: furniture, bed- ding, a bathroom, a television set, a refrigerator, and the facilities for heating and air conditioning. However, returned experts caution their successors that while these material comforts are usually in place, prob- lems with maintenance and electricity sometimes seriously reduce their rr. ~ ertlclency. There is a good deal of flexibility in this scheme. If space permits, some institutions allow researchers to live on campus in housing re- served for their own faculty or foreign experts. In such cases the rates are higher than for teachers but usually considerably lower than the cost of a hotel room. Similarly, in some units researchers and teachers have been able to live in student dormitories but usually only after some negotiation and for a higher fee than students normally pay. Researchers who travel or who work in the countryside have been housed in a variety of accommodations- from dormitories (at about Y4 per night) to moderately priced hotels in larger cities (at Y80 and up). HOTELS Hotel accommodations in China range from the very ex- pensive joint-venture hotels that offer Western amenities and service at Western prices to very modest establishments that house Chinese travelers as well as foreign guests. In most cases, if your Chinese hosts make arrangements, they will place you in medium-priced lodging, usually one of the older Chinese hotels. Typical suites include one or two rooms, a private bath, a very small closet or wardrobe, a bureau, a desk, a telephone, and a color television. The amount and type of furniture in each room is fixed by regulations, which allow for very little maneuvering within the system. Most long-term residents find ways to decorate their room with plants, prints, and extra furniture purchased outside. For a small daily charge, some hotels will set up a temporary cot for visitors, particularly relatives. Kitchen facilities are rarely provided, but all hotels have a dining room and most offer both Chinese and Western food. Hotel fare is

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62 CHINA BOUND usually relatively expensive (about Y6 to Y8 for a simple lunch and Y15 for a dinner with several dishes) and almost always monotonous. To combat both high prices and the monotony, you can eat out frequently in neighborhood restaurants or other hotels or find creative ways to eat "at home" (see the section on food and cooking supplies in Chapter 2, "Preparing for the Tripod. Some residents have lunch at their work unit for a few mao per meal, eating only breakfast and dinner at the more expensive hotel restaurant. Some units strongly advise their foreign guests against eating in the canteen sometimes to maintain the separation between foreigners and danwei personnel but sometimes because the food is genuinely of poor quality. One researcher who insisted on principle that he be allowed to take lunch at the workplace was told repeatedly by colleagues that the food was not up to minimal standards of cleanliness. When he finally won the right to eat at work, he became violently ill. Some reading rooms and offices close down for the noon xiuxi, and it is simply easier to return to your hotel for lunch and rest or to prepare for the afternoon's activities. Hotel life in China is comfortable but confining. The academic visitor who goes to China to gain access to the culture often finds that social life there revolves too much around a community of foreigners, many of them cynical and disillusioned. There are far too few opportunities for casual, everyday contact with Chinese friends, who often cannot visit a foreigner without signing a slip at the hotel desk that identifies their unit and the room they are to visit. In some hotels Chinese visitors cannot even enter the grounds without a pass. The irony of hotel life is that it is hard to see Chinese friends naturally within its walls but even harder to maintain some privacy from the Chinese staff at the establishment. Keys are usually kept at the service desk on each floor, and service personnel are generally very responsible about protecting guests from outsiders. But because they consider the hotel their place of work rather than the living quarters of their guests, work schedules generally take priority over the individual needs of temporary residents. It is not unusual for five or six fuwnynan (service personnel) to visit the room every day, each with a different task from cleaning the bathroom to watering the plants. The hapless foreigner who spends any time at all in the hotel room must adjust to these elaborate routines because it is nearly impossible to have them altered. On the positive side, however, getting to know hotel personnel and to understand the nature of the hotel as a workplace offers another interesting perspective on Chinese life. CAMPUS APARTMENTS Campus housing is remarkably similar throughout China. Henderson and Cohen's description of the physical plant in their urban medical danwei represents a typical layout:

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SETTLING IN 63 As one faces the hospital, the staff apartments are to the left, specialized or newly constructed facilities at the back, and the medical college on the right. Bricks lie in large and small piles in every empty lot, tangible evidence of the constantly changing physical environment. In the midst of the bricks, chickens scratch, children create makeshift platforms for table tennis, and construction teams are rarely absent. The apartment buildings are brick and cement. The older ones are one story high, with communal kitchens and baths for several families in individual three- room apartments. The newest buildings are four- and five-story cement structures housing one-hundred families. In addition to housing, the unit includes a dining hall, a day-care center, a bathhouse attached to the hospital boiler room, an administrative office, a garage for unit cars and jeeps, and shops for the maintenance and repair staff (plumb- ers, carpenters, electricians). (The Chinese Hospital: A Socialist Work Unit, p. 12) Many teachers are housed in apartments on the campus of their host institution. Some of their comments about this housing appear below. Foreign teachers at the college share an old brick house which is cen- trally located. It is a spacious, two-story structure, but attracts furry four legged friends (our cat ran away in frustrations. There are large, single rooms and bathrooms, with reversible heating/air conditioning units. Overall, it is very pleasant. For a family of four, we had an apartment on campus in the Foreign Experts' Building. The apartment included two bedrooms, a good sized living room, Western bathroom with bath but no shower, a small kitchen with two gas burners and a refrigerator (which we moved from the living room to the kitchen). Hot water is generally plentiful at night and in the early morning. Radiator heat was available for several hours in winter evenings after December 1. The furniture provided was fine; esthetic improvements can be made inexpensively. We're in a newly constructed guest house for foreign experts. The rooms are modern, spacious and relatively well appointed. There is a living room, two bedrooms, small kitchen (with no cooking appliances), and bathroom. The furniture is tasteful and abundant: four armchairs (no sofa), two end tables, two nightstands, two large desks, three single beds, a vanity, two bookcases, and a crib. However, the central heating is not adequate. We also have problems with our housemaid who thinks the apartment is hers, not ours. She lets herself in anytime she wants with her own key, gives advice loudly on all subjects and does not clean well at all. There is a compound for foreign experts and Chinese professors and administrators. There are four apartments per building, which are brick, two story, circa 1950 vintage with mice in the downstairs apartments. The apartments are either one or two bedroom, with a kitchen, living room, and bathroom. They are largely carpeted and have bookshelves,

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64 CHINA BOUND desks, chairs, beds, and almost everything needed. Bedding is provided. Each apartment has a propane stove, refrigerator, washing machine, color television, and air conditioner. Our housing is adequate but cramped. We use the one large room as a bedroom, sitting room, and office for my spouse. The smaller room serves as my office and our dining room where we eat light meals. (There is no kitchen.) There is a separate room outside the apartment for our teenage son. The furniture, carpet, and wallpaper are pleasant. It is air conditioned, and we have a small refrigerator and a color television. However, there is insufficient drawer space, inadequate closet space, and hot water is only available for a couple hours in the morning and evening. Overall, the most common housing problems included poor and leaky plumbing, insufficient heat, a lack of hot water, inadequate storage space, poor lighting, and erratic electricity. And there was one other commonly noted condition, to which most Americans (like the teacher whose comment follows) became resigned: "Be prepared to share room and board with local vermin. They are ubiquitous and bold but rea- sonably well-mannered and thrifty." Foreigners in China, like the Chinese themselves, devise different ways of coping with food preparation. Henderson and Cohen present some of these: At noon, people pour out of the buildings and stop by the dining hall to purchase a square-shaped portion of rice or several squares for a family.... To avoid the ten or fifteen minute wait for lunch, some carry their rice home and cook vegetables in their own kitchens. Others, for convenience and to save home fuel, buy their lunch and either take it home or eat it at the dining hall.... Most agree that home cooking is better and a little cheaper, but the dining hall is chosen for convenience. Foreign residents have the same range of choices, and most eat out, either in the dining hall or in local restaurants, for the same reasons that motivate their Chinese colleagues. Some returned teachers indi- cated that the food provided by their work units ranged from excellent to disastrous: The food at the cafeteria is inadequate, so I make my own breakfast and have an ayi (maid) who cooks dinner for me five nights a week at a cost of Y50 per month. There are a number of good restaurants close by also, and good vegetable markets abound in the area. The residence dining room serves Western breakfasts and Chinese lunches and dinners; three times a week, a Western lunch is also offered. The food is generally good, occasionally outstanding. I have a refrigerator in my apartment, so I can also shop and cook for myself.

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SETTLING IN 65 We must eat in the foreigners' cafeteria where the food ranges from very poor to good. The atmosphere is reminiscent of a cross between an automat and a warehouse. The "window style" service means you have to wait in three different lines before getting all desired items; this means the cold food (supposedly hot) gets colder. In the section of the cafeteria served by a waitress, the food is somewhat better, but it's repetitive and disproportionately expensive. There was a woman who cooked for the five foreign experts at the university. We paid a monthly fee for food (she'd do the buying and give us a bill at the end of each month). I usually ate one to two meals daily and my monthly bill averaged about Y35 each month (US$12.50~. I also did some cooking for myself; my kitchen had cold running water, a one burner hot plate and small refrigerator (all supplied by the uni- versity), to which I added a small toaster oven purchased second hand from another foreign expert. The food in the dining hall is fine, but the service is very slow and not at all well organized. However, there are many good local restaurants where the food is inexpensive. STUDENT DORMITORIES Whether located on the campus of a university, a research institute, or a medical college, dormitories are remarkably uniform in their outward appearance and furnishings. Al- most all dormitory buildings are gray, three-story cement edifices with communal shower rooms, spartan laundry rooms equipped with wash- boards and clotheslines, communal bathrooms with Asian-style squat- ter toilets, a television lounge, and a reading or reception room. In many dormitories boiled water for drinking must be carried from a boiler room. Hot water for laundry or showers is usually available only a few hours each day, often right after the dinner hour. Not all dor- mitories are heated, and those that are usually have heat for a few hours in the morning and again in the evening. When the heat is on, the rooms are quite comfortable, but hallways and communal rooms can be cold and dark in the winter. Electricity is erratic, especially in the evenings. Many colleges and universities are building new dormi- tories with more Western-style facilities to house foreign guests. Room sizes vary. Some (for example, in the Shaoyuan Lou Guest- house at Beida) are small (3 meters x 4.5 meters); others are quite large, even by Western standards. No matter what their size, however, all rooms are furnished with a bed and desk for each occupant and at least one bookcase and wardrobe. Rooms are spartan: whitewashed cement walls, drab gray cement floors, and a stark fluorescent tube overhead. Every newcomer is routinely issued a thermos for storing potable water, mosquito netting, a padded cotton quilt, woolen blanket,

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66 CHINA BOUND two sheets, and a wash basin. This basic "survival kit" should be taken along whenever you move in China and should be turned in upon final departure. Most students have found that with some imagination and effort rooms can be decorated and arranged to suit individual tastes. How a room might be made more livable is described by a CSCPRC-sponsored advanced graduate student who lived in Beijing from 1983 to 1985: During my second year at Peking LBeijing] University, I stayed in a west facing room on the fifth floor of the Shaoyuan foreigner and guest compound. The room has a small porch and a spectacular view of the West Hills to the northwest of the Summer Palace and the Yuquan Pagoda. It was warm enough in the winter after I winterized the win- dows and porch door by applying polyethylene sheeting and paper "storm windows." However, under the afternoon summer sun it was uncomfortably hot, even with a Venetian blind to let the air through and keep the sun out. This student and others mention frequently the importance of fol- lowing the Golden Rule in finding ways to live harmoniously, in the absence of clear legal and disciplinary codes, with more than 500 for- eigners from over 60 different countries expected just at Beida in 1986- 1987. Foreign students can eat at the foreign student dining hall for a few ynan a day, or they can eat at the Chinese students' canteen for even less. The latter are crowded and lively; there are usually no tables or chairs and students are responsible for bringing their own bowls and utensils. Most students complain that the food is monotonous and some- times greasy and cold, but in fact an effort generally is made in most institutions to provide a nutritious diet at a nominal cost. Chinese and foreign students alike devise ways to cook in their rooms using hot plates and ingredients from local stores and markets. Most neighbor- hoods have at least a few good restaurants for eating out. The dormitory community is a mixed one on most campuses. For- eigners of many nationalities, Chinese caretakers, teachers, and some- times foreign teachers all live together. The dormitory is cared for by the shifu, the workers who answer phones, clean the hallways and common rooms, distribute newspapers and mail, and generally watch over dormitory residents and their guests. Mail comes in twice each day and is generally placed on a hall table or in mailboxes designated by nationality. Most dormitories have only one or two telephones for incoming and outgoing calls, and residents are notified of calls by loud- speaker. Some of the dorms that have been built recently have better telephone facilities. The Shaoyuan Guesthouse at Beida, for example,

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SETTLING IN 67 has a phone on each floor, and the apartment suites have their own telephone. ARRANGEMENTS FOR ACCOMPANYING SPOUSES AND CHILDREN Chinese regulations prohibit students from bringing spouses and chil- dren to China, but researchers and teachers may be accompanied by their families if prior permission has been received from the host in- stitution. Not all institutions may accede to such requests, however; most have problems supplying housing for foreigners due to acute hous- ing shortages. In addition, not all cities can provide adequate medical care, especially for small children. These factors may lead to a reluc- tance on the part of host institutions to accommodate families. Often those Americans who do take their families to China have been espe- cially grateful to their Chinese colleagues for their efforts to help find adequate housing, to secure slots in overcrowded day-care centers, and to arrange for language tutorials for older children. Spouses who accompany Americans going to China as "foreign ex- perts" often are invited to teach English or other subjects in demand as a "foreign teacher"; their salaries usually are lower than those paid to foreign experts who may teach identical courses. But most spouses find work of any kind preferable to spending long hours alone in a hotel room or apartment. More important, the position offers them an entry into Chinese society and an opportunity to make a much-needed con- tribution. Arrangements for children in China vary. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing reports that there are no English-language schools of any kind for de- pendent children of foreign experts or researchers working in China except for those operated by foreign diplomatic missions. One of these schools, the International School, was founded in Beijing in September 1980 by the embassies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It is a coeducational day school for grades one through eight admitting foreign children 5 to 13 years old. The curriculum is based on but not limited to U.S. educational models. Space is extremely limited at the school, and priority is given to chil- dren of official personnel of the five sponsoring missions. Students of other diplomatic missions receive second priority; dependents of other nationals of the five cooperating countries such as businessmen, jour- nalists, and foreign experts have the lowest admission priority. If you are interested in the school, you should submit an application as early as possible before your proposed arrival in China. Annual tuition is US$4,200 with no additional fees.

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68 CHINA BOUND The U.S. Consulate General in Shenyang has established the Amer- ican Academy, which is located on the consulate compound. Tuition is US$2,500 per semester. The curriculum consists of an accredited cor- respondence course administered by an American teacher. The school operates only if there are sufficient students and an available teacher. For information, write to: Shenyang American Academy c/o U.S. Consulate General Shenyang FPO San Francisco, CA 96659-0002 Several foreign experts and consulate staff members in Shenyang have placed their children in local schools. Tuition per semester is Y120 for middle school and Y90 for elementary school. There is no single school designated to accept foreign children; however, several schools have admitted them in the past. The U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai also has established an American school in one of the consulate's buildings. In 1982, the tuition was US$5,000 per year. For updated information, contact: U.S. Consulate General Shanghai 1469 Huai Hal Zhong Lu Shanghai, People's Republic of China The American School of Guangzhou is located on the fourth floor of the Office Tower in the Garden Hotel. The school accommodates chil- dren of kindergarten age to the eighth grade. Tuition for the school year is US$8,200. If there is no English-language school in the area in which you will be working, one alternative might be send your children to a Chinese school. For information about such possibilities in Beijing or in a city in which one of the U.S. Consulates is located, contact the U.S. mission in that city (see pages 120-121 for addresses). It might be possible for Chinese schools to accept foreign children, but, of course, classes in such schools will be in Chinese. Americans who have taught in China and who have taken their chil- dren have worked out a variety of solutions for day care and schooling. A few examples are presented below. Teachers located in Beijing who had a two-year-old child hired an ayi (maid) through the Foreign Experts Bureau. The ayi worked eight hours a day, six days a week, for a fee of Y50 per month. For an extra Y5 per month, the ayi washed the child's clothes and diapers. Another couple in Beijing whose son was in the ninth grade arranged for him to take correspondence courses from the University of Nebraska School of Continuing Education. He spent eight hours a day studying eight

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SETTLING IN 69 subjects and had a tutor for French and Chinese. The parents noted that there were no other teenagers in the area, a circumstance they regretted, but they hoped the experience of being in China would be compensation for the lack of peers. A couple in Tianjin with two children sent their five-year-old daugh- ter to a Chinese nursery school six days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Their 12-year-old son attended a Chinese music academy from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then returned by bicycle to their hotel where his mother taught him his American curriculum in the afternoon. Neither child spoke any Chinese on arrival nor were there any English-speaking staff at their schools, but the parents felt that their children did remarkably well and that children of other foreign experts in the area also seemed to adjust rather easily. Teachers in Shanghai commented that American preschool children seemed to thrive in Chinese kindergartens but that older children had some trouble adjusting to Chinese schools which in turn had difficulty accommodating foreign children. The American school at the U.S. Con- sulate has received plaudits from parents in the past, but unfortunately the school now has stopped Chinese-language training. It also has be- come rather expensive to arrange transportation for children from in- stitutions at some distance from the school because the city of Shanghai has abandoned its former policy of allowing foreign teachers to pay Chinese rates for taxis and some institutions are reluctant to provide cars. During their first year in China, a couple in Lanzhou with children aged 11 and 13 sent them to a Chinese school three afternoons a week for art, music, and physical education. During their second year, the local school system was reorganized and the arrangement was no longer possible. So the children's mother taught them their American curric- ulum at home, with advice from the children's teachers in the United States. A teacher from the university's primary school taught them Chinese for three hours a week, and another university teacher gave them Chinese painting lessons once a week. As there is no foreign language school in Nanjing, a couple there with children sent them to the university's Chinese preschool in the morning through lunchtime. In the afternoon, their seven-year-old child did his American second-grade work at home. The arrangement worked out well, and the children gradually learned some Chinese. One note of warning was added to this report, however. The parents had given strict instructions to the children's school not to give them any medications or vaccinations without prior parental approval. They were glad they had made this request because there was a serious health incident at the school when the wrong medication was mistakenly given to a large number of children. The parents believed this was probably an isolated

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70 CHINA BOUND incident that would not be repeated, but they wanted to recommend caution about such school medical treatments to other Americans tak- ing children to China. In Wuhan, Americans with children there reported that at the local primary school "foreign children are extended every courtesy and the teachers are warm, helpful, considerate, and very flexible." Their chil- dren attended the school when they wished and also had an English- speaking tutor. The parents also reported that the children liked the school so much that they went even when they were not required to attend. The son of a couple in Xuzhou who was a sophomore in high school studied by correspondence with the American School in Chicago and the University of Wisconsin extension. His parents commented that the latter is superlative and has high academic standards. One last piece of advice: some of the teachers offering comments urged parents who plan to take children to China to find out about arrangements for housing and meals before they go or they may re- ceive a large bill at the end of their visit for their children. THE ACADEMIC CALENDAR The academic year in China revolves around the Spring Festival or Lunar New Year (chunjie), a celebration that theoretically marks the end of winter. The month-long holiday after chunjie, which usually falls during the last week of January or the first of February, marks the end of the academic term that begins in late August or early September. The second term begins around the end of February depending on the date of chunjie and runs through late June. The pace in most work units slows considerably during these holidays because staff often travel to visit relatives or for sightseeing. Most foreigners in recent years have found these holidays especially enjoyable when celebrated with Chinese friends and colleagues. If your research plans require meetings with specific scholars or continuation of work during one of these holidays, be sure to make arrangements as far in advance as possible, recognizing that your plans could force your coworkers to give up their vacation time. Foreigners are given time off to observe Chinese holidays, and many institutions schedule trips or other activities during semester breaks. Shorter holidays, such as National Day (October 1) and May Day (May 1), may offer opportunities for two or three days of travel. Foreigners are not entitled to time off for their own national or religious holidays, but it has been possible in some units to arrange for celebrations of Christmas, Hanukkah, and other holidays. Chinese guests appreciate joining in these festivities.