Lu-Hai Liang

thoughts from a freelance foreign correspondent

Published pieces about being in China: 2012-present

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Some friends and I.

Me and some friends

Here is a list of articles that I have had published about my time in China. The following collection of articles are specifically about life and the experiences I’ve had in China, rather than journalism about China itself. This post will be updated whenever something new is out.

Fast track to love? Hunting for a date on Beijing’s subway

This is a lighthearted piece about the time I took on a bet to see if I could get a date while riding Beijing’s crowded subway system within a week. A piece of whimsy that was fun to write but hard to pull off.

“Finding a date in Beijing is not especially difficult. If you know where to go, you can have your pick of either wayfaring expats, happy-go-lucky students or young, eager Chinese all on the lookout for potential mates. Beijing, like any other great city of the world, is a mass of people trying to hook up”.

An ode to Chinese greasy spoons

This is quite tightly written and quite a personal piece too. About the first fragile months after I’d moved to Beijing, my ambition as a young journalist, and growing up in the city through the habit of eating out.

When I first arrived in Beijing in the autumn of 2012, I was nervy. A confused young journalist straight out of university and with big ambitions. I walked the large, grey streets of the city aware of my surroundings, but alien to the environment. Everything was ordinary and extraordinary, new and old; a city of 21 million people where the mundane – a beggar, a street festooned with litter – jostled with the outlandish. 

Travel and Videogames: Missing Play in Beijing

I’ve been a gamer for a long time but since moving to Beijing I’ve mostly not been able to. This essay explores the incredibly strong desire I had to play and how much I missed playing my console. It’s also about travel, reality and the desire for adventure.

“I knew that I should be having adventures and experiences for real, too. For myself, rather than through a virtual character. That I should get to know “reality”…. When I was 18, I decided to go abroad. I lived in a small town thousands of miles away from home. I learnt a lot about relationships, what I want and how to get it, all that stuff”.

8 things China taught me about networking

I wrote this when I was still figuring out the freelance ropes in Beijing. It’s for a student magazine that I happened to email in 2012, asking if they would take pitches from China. Happily the editor agreed, and what followed was a great experience writing features for the magazine, something I was very grateful for (as well as the pay of course).

In Chinese culture there is a concept called “guanxi”. Its meaning is hard to translate, but the essential idea is that you should create and develop connections of all kinds throughout life. Here in Beijing, people I hardly know have offered to ask their relatives or friends to inquire about possibilities for me. They follow up on these courtesies as they know cultivating relationships strengthens their own standing. It’s taught me that networking doesn’t just mean gaining business contacts – it’s also about building a social web”.

The good, bad and ugly of moving to Beijing

In Beijing, with the relative wealth of being an expat and the advancement of social and professional circles, the feeling of having had made a life for yourself is palpable. In short, it’s progress. It’s going from living in a tiny, squalid hovel, trying to save money, for seven months, and then finding accommodation seven times larger. It’s these big and soulful moments that confirm within yourself the certainty of what you’re capable of.

Discrimination based on ethnic origin can be blunt in China

It’s a common sight in the clubs of Beijing and Shanghai to see a “models table”, where attractive foreigners (usually hired Russian models) are used for decoration. As a Briton of Chinese heritage living in Beijing, I have had experiences where my white friends were waved into clubs for free while I was stopped and asked to pay.

Published (for free):

Why I moved to China to become a freelance journalistWannabeHacks

Beat the British chill and head eastThe Guardian (careers blog)

Does Asia hold the answer to your graduate career hunt?The Guardian (careers blog)

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