China’s new open-door policy and spectacular growth over the past three decades has prompted droves of westerners to make the leap to the Middle Kingdom. The total number of expatriates presently living in China reached over half a million in 2010. Expatriates can be seen in nearly every provincial city in China, Shanghai and Beijing of course hosting most of them.
Life in China for expatriates today is not as difficult as in years past. The living standard in China's largest cities like Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai is as enjoyable as that of the western cities like New York, London and Paris.
Some expats find Chinese culture confusing, most consider it fascinating. The stable development of society and economy and rich job opportunities are all positive factors that attract more and more expatriates to come live, work and travel in China.
Expatriates in China are mainly employed in the information technology, education and finance sectors. In larger cities, there are also many expatriates who earn a living by opening their own western style restaurants and bars. Then there are those who have become celebrities in their own rights, either from capitalizing on their western face for television, by blogging about current events, or publishing memoirs of their adventures.Following is a sampling of China's most extraordinary expats living there today, and how they found their respective fortunes and/or fame and/or infamy.
David "China Bounder" Marriott
David Marriott sparked a cyberspace man-hunt several years ago after he set up a blog where he posted entries boasting of his many and varied carnal encounters with the women of Shanghai. Using the alias "ChinaBounder," Marriott sparked outrage among the men of Shanghai with his graphic descriptions of his success with Chinese women. In his blog, Chinabounder described in juicy details how he seduced multiple Chinese girls most of whom were his former students. The online campaign drew over 17,000 visitors and Marriot was threatened with murder and castration by conservative Chinese claiming he had blackened their country's good name. However, although he was thought to be an English teacher in his thirties, his cover was never completely blown. Now he has decided to reveal his identity in a publicity attempt for his new book, Fault Lines on the Face of China: 50 Reasons Why China May Never Be Great.
Dashan is the Chinese stage name adopted by Canadian Mark Henry Rowswell, who works as a freelance performer in People's Republic of China. Relatively unknown in the West, Dashan is perhaps the most famous Western personality in China's media industry. He occupies a unique position as a foreign national who has become a bona fide domestic celebrity. Dashan can speak English and Mandarin fluently. He also spoke Cantonese in a Ford Commercial targeted at North American Chinese consumers. see more on Dashan
Richard "Peking Duck" Burger
Richard Burger is author of the popular blog The Peking Duck, which has been publishing since 2002. The Peking Duck's posts on hot-button issues generate energetic comment threads from all sides of the political spectrum, and the site used to be a target of nationalist Chinese blogger trolls who criticized Burger for his views on China, which were often critical of the government. Burger recently became an editor at the newly launched English edition of the Global Times, a Chinese newspaper that has a reputation for leftist, nationalist content.
Peter Hessler is best known for his two books on China: River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, a Kiriyama Prize-winning book about his experiences in two years as a Peace Corps volunteer teaching English in China, and Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China's Past and Present, a collection of journalistic stories he wrote while living in Beijing. While his stories are ostensibly about ordinary people's lives in China and are not motivated by politics, they nevertheless touch upon political issues or the lives of people who encountered problems during the Cultural Revolution. see more on Peter Hessler