On foreign lives in contemporary China


A new collection of stories, edited by the photographer and author Tom Carter, showcase the breadth and depth of the expatriate experience in the country: The Atlantic

35 years ago, when Deng Xiaoping first introduced the economic reforms that powered China’s emergence on the world stage, foreign-born residents were a rare sight in the country. In those days, and for years afterwards, expatriates had to deal with prohibitions on staying in certain hotels, using Chinese currency, and even visiting certain parts of the country. Now, an estimated 600,000 foreign nationals call China home, and the country has become so friendly to outsiders that, in a recent study by HSBC, China was chosen as one of the two best countries in the world (alongside Thailand) to be an expatriate. Many of these foreign residents come on a one-year teaching contract, travel around, and leave; but many others stay in China for years, marrying locals, starting businesses, and even raising children. And many, in the tradition of expatriates throughout history, have decided to put their thoughts about China down.

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