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Archived discussions

Formatting and language conventions

For articles about China, please use the 24-hour clock to show times, e.g. 09:00-12:00 and 18:00-00:00.

Please show prices in this format: ¥100, and not not RMB 100, 100 yuan or 100元.

Please use American spelling.

General section on retaliatory actions and/or or arbitrrary law enforcement?

The current problems Canadians have are clearly retaliation for the arrest of the Huawei exec, but there are other examples of retaliatory or arbitrary actions:

  • Americans pay more for Chinese visas than other countries & are fingerprinted in at least some cases, because Chinese pay more for a US visa & are fingerprinted
  • After Nigeria extended diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, Chinese visas were no longer issued to Nigerians in Hong Kong or Macau; Nigerians were told to go home to get a visa
  • One reason Hong Kong men swarm to Shenzhen (and I saw some in Zhuhai too) is that whores are much cheaper there. Some anti-Beijing Hong Kong politicians have been arrested for this when almost nobody else ever is.

Is there anything general & useful that we could say about this? I think there is a real difference in the role of law in Chinese vs Western societies, but am not sure what a travel guide might usefully say about it. Pashley (talk) 09:09, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

Reciprocal visa fees are common around the world, certainly not just in China. Other kinds of visa restrictions for political reasons are certainly not unheard of internationally either – remember the spat between Turkey and the US a year or two ago? I don't think there's anything China-specific about either of those.
As for arresting anti-Beijing politicians, this type of risk is mentioned implicitly in "Respect" but maybe it would be worth saying something more specific about it. —Granger (talk · contribs) 10:08, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
Maybe I'm missing the forest for the trees. Still, I'm struggling to figure out what the difference you're trying to illustrate is, unless it's just the difference between more democratic and less democratic countries. I'm going to bed soon—maybe after I sleep on it I'll have a better idea what you mean. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:43, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

China regionalization tweaking

Swept in from the pub

Please look at Talk:China#Southwest China region and express your opinion about some proposed changes to the regional groupings of provinces in the country. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:48, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

The changes were agreed to, but now, we need someone to change the static maps for China, East China, South China (formerly Southeast China), Southwest China and South-central China. The changes needed: (1) Guangxi was moved from Southwest China to South China (formerly Southeast China); (2) Fujian was moved from the former Southeast China (now South China) to East China; (3) Sichuan and Chongqing were moved from South-central China to Southwest China. Anyone who would like to take on this important task would be much appreciated! Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:00, 16 March 2019 (UTC)

Golden Age

While of course there will be some disagreement on this, from personal experience, I think it is safe to say that most Chinese regard the Han and Tang Dynasties the most highly among all the Chinese imperial dynasties. There is of course some basis to consider these the golden ages, since the Chinese military was strong, the arts and sciences flourished within Chinese society, and there were thriving trade routes between China and other civilisations. Of course, that may well be just my perception, so if anybody disagrees on this, please say so and why you would disagree with calling these the golden ages. The dog2 (talk) 19:29, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

I'd say this is fair and matches what I have been told by Chinese people. Thanks for seeking consensus. ARR8 (talk | contribs) 19:33, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
No disagreement from me, either. In particular, Tang Dynasty art is pretty universally considered the pinnacle of Chinese art. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:33, 10 May 2019 (UTC)

Trimming this article to make it more usable

This article is now about 305,000 bytes, up by 3,000 from the beginning of the year. It is the second-longest country page after Japan. Long articles are more difficult for readers to navigate, and often get that way because information is added that would be more appropriate to a regional or city article, or in a topic article? Is there any interest is working together to give the reader a more concise introduction to China by removing excessive verbosity, and moving details to other destination and topic articles?

Here are some suggestions to illustrate what I am proposing:

  1. China#Vietnam section has specific details on where to get buses and trains from Hanoi and other cities. It should only identify the availability, and the people find the details in the corresponding city articles. Done. ✔
  2. China#By train has a great deal of detail that could be moved into a Rail travel in China article combined with High-speed rail in China. Done. ✔
  3. China#Massage -- move the phrase book for massages to Chinese phrasebook Done. ✔
  4. China#Shopping is very, very long (several times longer than Eat, which is surely a more important travel experience for people going to China -- mon dieu the food is so good!), and could be branched off into its own article linked from this one. Done. ✔

Ground Zero (talk) 21:09, 19 May 2019 (UTC)

@Ground Zero: i agree with you... this certainly doesnt work as an article. In fact this page has a very large scroll, that it would go on about 4 papers. That isn’t easy to take around when travelling.... Arep Ticous 13:17, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

i would say move the by rail section like you mentioned and try and trim the vietnam section or move it into the vietnam article. Definitely move the massage language part into the phrase book and make a section there... id ont think its worth to be in the main article. Arep Ticous 13:20, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

I agree with these four suggestions. For rail information, keep in mind that we have an article on High-speed rail in China—maybe it would be best to combine that with most of the rail information in this article to create one comprehensive article on rail travel in China. —Granger (talk · contribs) 13:41, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
I think we should look at Rail travel in Japan for an example. It is very well-written with comprehensive information on both high-speed and conventional rail lines. The dog2 (talk) 20:13, 28 May 2019 (UTC)

@Mx. Granger: Couldn't agree more... Arep Ticous 15:26, 21 May 2019 (UTC)

5. The lengthy cycling section could be summarized, and the detail transferred to Cycling in China, following the model of Cycling in Switzerland, and other articles. Done. ✔

6. The lengthy "Learn" section could be summarized, and the detail transferred to Studying in China, following the model of Studying in the United States. Done. ✔ Ground Zero (talk) 16:38, 28 May 2019 (UTC)

I'd say we can also delete the "Learning Chinese" subsection under "Talk". To my knowledge, none of our other country articles have that, and such information better belongs in the Chinese phrasebook. We could, however, have short summary in the "Learn" section with basic information for foreigners who want to learn Chinese while living in China.
@Mx. Granger: As a American who has lived in China, perhaps you can help with providing this information if you don't mind. The dog2 (talk) 19:40, 28 May 2019 (UTC)
Moving the learning Chinese stuff to the phrase book with a "for more info" link makes sense to me. Ground Zero (talk) 00:03, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I am happy to go with that. But I think in the "Learn" section, we could have a short statement giving a broad overview of the options for foreigners who want to learn Chinese in China. Of course, we won't list individual institutions, but we can mention whether these classes are available at universities, private tuition centres or any other places. Unfortunately, I've never lived in China, and such classes are of no use to me since I already know the language, so I am not the best source for such information. The dog2 (talk) 00:53, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I've added some advice about learning Chinese to the "Learn" section. I know that classes are available at both universities and private tutoring centers. Others may know more. —Granger (talk · contribs) 01:05, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

Thanks for everyone's comments so far, and @The dog2: for assistance in trimming the excess from the article. I am waiting to see if there are any objections to renaming the rail article before I proceed with further changes. Ground Zero (talk) 01:22, 31 May 2019 (UTC)

  • Rail section is done. Ground Zero (talk) 19:01, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Learn is now done, which brings the article from 296,000 bytes to 241,000 bytes, and means that it isn't longer loaded with details that will be of interest primarily to niche groups. The information is still available is dedicated articles. I hope that the article won't return to becoming a repository for everything there is to know about China. Ground Zero (talk) 12:52, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

Chinese art

In editing, I am finding that there is some stuff that is interesting, but more appropriate for an encyclopedia, like the different styles of calligraphy, which really isn't relevant to travellers. As this article is very long, I am removing it. People looking for a deeper understanding of Chinese topics should go to Wikipedia, which his linked in the sidebar. Ground Zero (talk) 01:48, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

That kind of information could be useful for an article on Chinese art, if anyone wanted to start one. It's useful background for that topic, but the topic would have to have a primarily travel focus, recommending a bunch of places to see Chinese art, including places in Taiwan and some that everyone would agree are outside of China entirely and giving some basic descriptions of what the average traveler could see there (I write that advisedly, as my father told me that when he lectured in Taipei in 1976, he was shown the greatest collections in the art museum in Taipei that the graduate students in art that he was lecturing to had never been allowed to see and saw during his visit only because he insisted they also be invited; I hope Taiwan is less class-and-title-oriented now). Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:05, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
There are many museums in China you can go to see Chinese art like the Shanghai Museum. And yes, the National Palace Museum in Taipei is a great place for that. Outside China, of the places I've been, I would say the Met in New York City and the British Museum in London have really nice collections. The Chinese government considers all these to be stolen (which is actually true, since these were mostly pillaged from China during wars with the Eight-nation alliance) and wants them returned to China, but in all honesty, the reason why these art pieces survived is probably because they were not in China when they had the Cultural Revolution. The dog2 (talk) 02:11, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
The Musee Guimet in Paris has some good Chinese art, too, although as I remember, they have more spectacular pieces from Cambodia, Java and I think India (the photos at the links give you only a very small taste of their collection; I believe I remember correctly that they had an entire Cambodian temple set up on the ground floor). It's been a while since I was there (I don't know if I went there in 2002, in which case, it would have been in 1992). Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:47, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
There is an w:Asian Art Museum (San Francisco) in San Francisco. Ground Zero (talk) 02:52, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
One more that I just recalled is Tokyo National Museum. Its collection is not as big as the Met or the British Museum, but it's got some really nice pieces. The dog2 (talk) 03:13, 29 May 2019 (UTC)
I remember the Sackler Gallery (now Freer/Sackler) in D.C. also had some nice pieces. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:49, 29 May 2019 (UTC)

archiving the talk page activity so far

the talk page seems to be crowded with posts... why dont we consider archiving it? Arep Ticous 13:23, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

You can definitely go ahead and do that. I created a new archive page to get you started (see the red link at the top of this page). Ground Zero (talk) 13:41, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Yes, good to ask permission, but not required. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 14:10, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

A Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 20:06, 22 May 2019 (UTC)

Upgrade to Usable/Guide

I will say first of all kudos to everyone who contributed to trimming this article to make it more readable. Now that we have a lot of improvement on that front, it appears that this article is no longer and outline and probably has enough information to be promoted to usable or guide status. What does everyone say? The dog2 (talk) 04:13, 2 June 2019 (UTC)

The content in a large country article isn't usually the issue in promoting it to usable or guide. The problem is the quality of articles breadcrumbed under it. To promote this article to usable, we first need to get the listed cities and other destinations up to usable. Leshan, Qomolangma, and Mount Tai are still at outline status. —Granger (talk · contribs) 10:55, 2 June 2019 (UTC)

Swap Kunming for Dali?

Yes, Kunming is the provincial capital, but it's not so much of a tourist destination—certainly not as much as nearby Dali. Kunming is visited less as a destination in itself and more as a transit point to reach other places in Yunnan. In the list of 5–9 cities, I want to suggest swapping Kunming for Dali, which better represents what travelers go to Yunnan for. —Granger (talk · contribs) 11:00, 2 June 2019 (UTC)

Is there a lot of business travel to Kunming? Remember, this isn't a guide only for tourists but a travel guide. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:42, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
Broadly speaking, I think the lists of 5–9 cities should be geared more towards leisure travelers than towards business travelers. Business travelers usually pick their destination based on their company's needs. Travelers browsing a list of cities in a country article are usually trying to figure out what destinations will be most interesting or fun.
But regardless, I don't think Kunming is a particular business hub. I don't know for sure, but I would guess it gets less business travel than various coastal cities that aren't listed. Shenzhen, Dongguan, Xiamen, Shantou, Tianjin, Dalian and Qinghai all come to mind. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:42, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
Maybe one of them should be listed. If geographic balance is at issue, Dongbei has no representative, so it would be kind of a wash if Dalian were put in. Ikan Kekek (talk) 14:46, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
I listed those cities to make the point about Kunming, but I'm not trying to argue we should change the list to include more business hubs. For the reasons I stated, I think the list should focus on interesting destinations rather than business opportunities, and in any case it already includes the economic powerhouses of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Suzhou, and Hangzhou. —Granger (talk · contribs) 15:04, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
The thing is, I don't think Dali will be considered a major city, while say, Dalian or Qingdao would be. As far as tourist attractions go, Dalian is known for its Russian buildings, while Qingdao is known for its German buildings and, of course, the Tsingtao beer brewery. If we want to add a city in the northeast, I would suggest Harbin. Like Dalian, it is known for its Russian buildings, and there is the snow and ice festival that is a major tourist draw. It is also a provincial capital, so that makes it a business destination too. The dog2 (talk) 16:24, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
Good points. I considered suggesting Harbin too. It would be a shame not to have Yunnan represented in "Cities" or "Other destinations", since the province is an important tourist destination, but of course in such a big country not everything can be represented. Replacing Kunming with Harbin works for me. —Granger (talk · contribs) 23:24, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
Okay, I've switched Kunming for Harbin. —Granger (talk · contribs) 11:43, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
The current cities are too concentrated at the Shanghai region, with 4 cities clumping at that region. And Chengdu is also a major tourism city but it doesn't get a list. If I'd say, I'll have the 9 cities listings like this:

(Guilin removed because to me it doesn't seem that well known compared to other places, maybe it could go under Other Destinations.)

(Nanjing removed because Suzhou and Hangzhou are both major well-known tourist destinations and Shanghai is the largest city in China, but Nanjing isn't that important to travellers)

  • Shenzhen (To balance out the Shanghai region, I added another city of the Pearl River Delta region and according to Wikipedia, it is the most visited city in China, although I doubt it. But I had just been there and it seems like a pretty nice and famous destination)
  • Shanghai
  • Suzhou
  • Xi'an

The SmileKat40! (*Meow* chat with me! | What did I do?) 15:17, 12 June 2019 (UTC)

My reactions: First of all, Guilin, as a city, cannot be put in "Other destinations". Secondly, Guilin is super-famous from the entire tradition of Chinese landscape painting! It should not be removed, in my opinion. However, if it is, the recourse would be to put not Guilin but something like "Karst limestone cliffs on the Li River between Guilin and Yangshuo" in "Other destinations". On Nanjing, it's of great historic importance as the former Southern Capital, but I haven't been there and don't know if removing it is justifiable or not. Without considering what substitutes for what, Chengdu would certainly be reasonable to list, and Shenzhen, too. Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:48, 12 June 2019 (UTC)
Listing Chengdu seems reasonable enough to me. I don't support listing Shenzhen—it's an important business hub but not a major international tourist destination compared to the other cities we're discussing here (see my comments above for why I think the list should focus more on tourism than business travel). And we already list Guangzhou, so Shenzhen would exacerbate the problem of our destinations being concentrated in too few regions. I don't know about Nanjing, though it's a very famous and historically important city, for whatever that's worth. —Granger (talk · contribs) 09:02, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
My views in brief: I support Guilin and Nanjing remaining on the list for the reasons stated above and I agree with Granger that Shenzhen probably shouldn't be on it. I would suggest instead replacing Harbin with Chengdu. STW932 (talk) 13:01, 13 June 2019 (UTC)
Although I have never been to Chengdu, but I know it is famous for having a giant panda research centre you can visit. As for Shenzhen, I have been there and it certainly has tourist attractions, such as the two theme parks; Window of the World (世界之窗) with miniatures of the world's most famous landmarks, and Splendid China Folk Village (中国民俗文化村) with miniatures of China's most famous landmarks, as well as spas for many visitors from Hong Kong. That said, I don't think it should be listed because it is so close to Guangzhou, which is already listed, and a much better place if you want to experience Cantonese culture because of its much longer history. As for Nanjing, you can visit the tomb of the first Ming Dynasty emperer, the tomb of Sun Yat-sen and the presidential palace of the Republic of China. It is most certainly a major tourist attraction.
In general I think our city lists should balance showcasing China's regional diversity and being important tourism and/or business hubs. Therefore, I think that having Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing all listed is overkill, as it doesn't showcase China's regional diversity, even though these four cities are all major tourist destination. I would say, we should have two; Shanghai and one other city. Perhaps we can consider Xiamen, since like Guangzhou, it was a major source of immigration to Southeast Asia, and you could in some way consider it a gateway to Taiwan since they speak the same language and have very similar cultures, and it is really close to the Taiwan-controlled island of Kinmen. I would also suggest perhaps adding a city in western China like Urumqi or Lhasa. The dog2 (talk) 01:37, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I don't really know how much we should agonize over this. It's super-hard to pick just 9 cities to represent China, and there are a number of ways we could go. That said, if we really want to emphasize regional diversity over everything else, we could keep just one of Hangzhou, Suzhou and Nanjing and plug in Chengdu and Lhasa in place of the ones we remove. Or we could add Chengdu and Xiamen, your other suggestion. I don't think it would make that much sense to put Urumqi in this list. It has no attraction on the level of the Potala, yet it's the capital of a province that is suffering severe repression. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:01, 14 June 2019 (UTC)
I don't think we need to add Lhasa—we already have two Other Destinations in Tibet. —Granger (talk · contribs) 18:15, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
Fair enough. I surely don't think it's necessary, either. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:29, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Fair enough, I was just throwing a few cities out there to see what people think. Speaking of which, Chongqing is another major city that is not listed. I'm not sure how big of a tourist attraction it is, but it was the capital of China during World War II after Nanjing was taken by the Japanese. But that said, Chongqing and Chengdu are very close to each other, so listing both might be overkill. Which city would most people consider to be more important? The dog2 (talk) 19:14, 15 June 2019 (UTC)

I would say Chengdu. —Granger (talk · contribs) 20:54, 15 June 2019 (UTC)
So how does swapping Hangzhou and Suzhou for Chengdu and Xiamen sound then? The dog2 (talk) 04:23, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
OK, if you figure that Nanjing is more important to include than Hangzhou or Suzhou. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:44, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps it might be helpful in this context to take a look at some statistics on tourist numbers. I found the following figures for 2017 on

List of cities by tourist numbers (all tourists, foreign and domestic)
  • 1. Chongqing: 542 million
  • 2. Shanghai: 327 million
  • 3. Beijing: 293 million
  • 4. Wuhan: 259 million
  • 5. Chengdu: 213 million
  • 6. Tianjin: 209 million
  • 7. Guangzhou: 200 million
  • 8. Xi'an: 180 million
  • 9. Hangzhou: 162 million
  • 10. Shangrao; 160 million
List of cities by tourist numbers (inbound tourists only)
  • 1. Shenzhen: 12.07 million
  • 2. Guangzhou: 9 million
  • 3. Shanghai: 8.73 million
  • 4. Hangzhou: 4.02 million
  • 5. Beijing: 3.93 million
  • 6. Xiamen: 3.86 million
  • 7. Chongqing: 3.58 million
  • 8. Tianjin: 3.45 million
  • 9. Chengdu: 3.01 million
  • 10. Wuhan: 2.5 million

Note: 'Inbound tourists' includes tourists from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Moreover, a large percentage of inbound tourists come from those areas. In the case of Shenzhen , about 80% of inbound tourists were from Hong Kong or Macau.

STW932 (talk) 06:07, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

Thanks a lot. these statistics would argue in favor of Chongqing over Chengdu. Does that site have numbers on business travelers? Also, we don't have an article about Shangrao! A city that has 160 million tourists visiting it every year needs an article! I'm not familiar with the place but would encourage anyone to start the article. Ikan Kekek (talk) 07:00, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
No, I don't see any numbers on business travellers. Regarding Shangrao, it is true we don't yet have an article on the city's urban area. However, we do have articles on Wuyuan County and Mount Sanqingshan National Park, which are jurisdictionally part of Shangrao. Shangrao is one of those cities where the rural area is much larger than the urban area, and where the top attractions are also mostly situated in the rural area. That being said, urban Shangrao is clearly an important transit point, so it would be useful to have an article about it. Perhaps I'll create that article myself in the not-too-distant future. STW932 (talk) 09:58, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
On business travelers: I know that a majority of those participating in this thread think business travelers are less important than tourists for the purpose of this guide, but in cases in which different factors are at play, perhaps some figures on business travel might function as some kind of tiebreaker. My feeling is that our criteria are (1) number of visits by foreign tourists; (2) number of visits by domestic tourists; (3) regional balance; (4) number of visits by businesspeople, academics and foreign students (including those spending a year abroad). And the reason I think number of visits by foreign tourists is a more relevant criterion than number of visits by domestic tourists is that, presumably, few Chinese people would rely on English-language Wikivoyage for information on places in China; they'd rely on a domestic travel site or Chinese-language Wikivoyage. Ikan Kekek (talk) 11:37, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
@Ikan Kekek: I worry that I've been misunderstood. I haven't said "business travelers are less important than tourists for the purpose of this guide". My point is that for the list of cities specifically we shouldn't worry about business travel, because travelers using this list to choose a destination are almost certainly using it to choose based on tourist interest rather than business opportunities. Business opportunities are so industry-specific (and even organization-specific) that I can't imagine a business traveler coming to us to figure out which cities offer the best business opportunities for their specific situation. I suspect that in most cases, a business traveler's destination has been chosen before they ever look at a travel guide. Once the business traveler has figured out their destination, I do think we can play an important role helping them figure out transport, safety, fun stuff to do in the evening, etc. I've worked on some articles such as Rocha and High Point with business travelers in mind. (In general, though, I do think the majority of our audience is leisure travelers.) I have more thoughts on this but don't want to be too long-winded; I can explain my reasoning more if you want.
I agree with you that foreign tourist numbers are more relevant for this purpose than domestic tourist numbers. —Granger (talk · contribs) 12:41, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
OK, noted. And academics and students? Ikan Kekek (talk) 12:52, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
My impression is that academics and students are a mixed bag. Some are interested in doing Program X or researching Narrow Topic Y, and their destination will be determined by that. Some just want to have a fun time or an adventure abroad and are more focused on tourist interest than academic value. Many are somewhere in between.
To the extent that a traveler is looking to have fun doing tourist-type stuff, they might look at our list of cities for ideas. To the extent that they're focused on academics, I don't see them getting that information from the list of cities. (That said, they might get it from some other part of the travel guide, which is why I just made this edit.) In a way I guess my point isn't so much about the type of traveler using the list of cities, but more about the type of information that the list can feasibly convey. —Granger (talk · contribs) 13:13, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
A 1-liner listing could possibly mention that a place is a center of business or education, but that might not be nearly as striking as other things about it — in which case, your point is made. Ikan Kekek (talk) 13:20, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Yeah, in some places (like Dongguan, Chapel Hill, High Point, probably Shenzhen, maybe Guangzhou/Panyu) I'd say the local education or industry is important enough to mention in a one-liner listing. —Granger (talk · contribs) 16:33, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────As for Xiamen, it is a major business destination for Taiwanese, as well as many ethnic Chinese from Southeast Asia. As I mentioned, Chengdu is notable for its panda sanctuary, and it is also a major business destination. Chongqing would be a tourist destination if you are interested in World War II history. As a side note, there are nonstop flights to all three cities from Singapore, so they most certainly have some international importance. I'd be open to considering Chaozhou as well, given the large Teochew communities in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore, and how famous Teochew cuisine is in all these areas. And not to mention, you can catch nonstop flights to Shantou (since Chaozhou doesn't have its own airport, and is served by Shantou's airport) from both Bangkok and Singapore. The dog2 (talk) 17:21, 19 June 2019 (UTC)

I don't think we can consider so many coastal cities and have any hope of reasonable regional balance. Ikan Kekek (talk) 18:31, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
Chengdu and Chongqing are not coastal cities. And for the record, Xi'an, which is already listed, is not either. The dog2 (talk) 19:17, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
I hope you don't think I lack basic geographic knowledge of China! You mentioned Xiamen, Chaozhou and Shantou. Why would we consider any of these but Xiamen? Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:29, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
I personally would lean towards including Xiamen since it's more economically important than Chaozhou and Shantou, but I'm just putting several suggestions out there. That said, it is certainly true that Teochew cuisine (from Chaozhou and Shantou) is very highly regarded among Singaporean Chinese, and it is more common for people to want to go to a Teochew restaurant than a Hokkien restaurant (in Singaporean terminology, this refers to people from the area around Xiamen), even though the Hokkiens are more numerous in Singapore.
Speaking of geographic knowledge, this is not targeted at you, and I believe that someone like you with a doctorate are more knowledgeable than that, but you'll be surprised at how ignorant some Americans can be when it comes to foreign geography. I have encountered many Americans who think that Singapore is in China. The dog2 (talk) 19:39, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
My geographic knowledge doesn't have anything to do with my being a Doctor of Musical Arts. I've been a geography buff since I was 6 and used to have a collection of over 20 atlases before I donated most of them to the library to save space. My travels over the years have added to my geographic knowledge, but it's primarily from pure interest. And no, I would decidedly not be surprised how ignorant many if not most American are about geography, but I'm not "most Americans", thank you. Ikan Kekek (talk) 20:15, 19 June 2019 (UTC)
I think some people here might be forgetting that Chinese cities often have vast areas of rural land under their jurisdiction, so it's not just urban centres we are talking about here. Chongqing is an extreme example, covering an area the size of a small province - more than double the size of Hainan. Indeed, that probably explains why Chongqing gets so many visitors. Of the city's eight 5A-rated tourst attractions, each and every one of them are to be found outside the city's urban core. And no, those are not the World War II sites, they are cultural sites like the Dazu Rock Carvings and scenic areas such as the Three Gorges and the Wulong Karst Landscape. STW932 (talk) 14:15, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
Point very well taken. Ikan Kekek (talk) 17:37, 23 June 2019 (UTC)
@Mx. Granger: So what do you think of Chengdu and Xiamen replacing Suzhou and Hangzhou then for regional balance? There hasn't been much objection from what I have seen, so perhaps it's time we move forward with this. The dog2 (talk) 15:17, 25 June 2019 (UTC)

[unindent] The figures for domestic and foreign tourism above would seem to argue against removing Hangzhou. Suzhou and Nanjing aren’t on those lists above, so if we’re going to remove 2 cities from that general area of Central Eastern China, I think those make more sense to remove. Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:57, 26 June 2019 (UTC)

Joining the discussion late.
Beijing, Shanghai & Xi'an should obviously stay. I'd say also Harbin & Guangzhou, important cities & they help with regional balance.
That's five.
I'd say keep Kunming; it is the transport hub of the region & almost anyone bound for Dali, and/or Lijiang which is equally important as a tourist town, will pass through it.
To me, Chengdu seems more important for our purposes than Chongqing; it is the cultural capital of the region with great temples, market, ...
That's seven, with a decent regional balance.
Both Suzhou & Hangzhou should stay; they are top destinations for domestic tourism, get lots of international tourists, & have World Heritage sites.
That's nine. I think we are done.
Guilin is not important enough as a city to rate mention here, but the region that includes it & Yangshuo is a top tourist destination; I'm not sure how to handle that.
Shenzhen, and Zhuhai across the river, do get huge numbers of visitors,mainly from Hong Kong & Taiwan.
I would not add Daiian; one city up north seems enough & Harbin is probably more important
To what extent is this whole discussion unimportant, or can it be made less important by adding appropriate links? Region articles like PRD & East China, and itineraries like Yunnan tourist trail cover many of these destinations. Can we just link to those & therefore drop Dali or Shenzhen here? Pashley (talk) 14:58, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
The thing is, having Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing all on the list is a bit overkill. Sure, those cities are all economic powerhouses and major tourist destinations, but we also need to think about regional balance. I have been to all those four cities (albeit to Nanjing way back in the 1990s as a kid), and they are great places to visit, but when almost half the list is comprised of cities from one single region, that's a problem for regional balance. The dog2 (talk) 18:03, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
A lot has just been said here, so I won't respond to everything, but some key points: I think Chengdu would be nice to include if there's a good way to make room for it. I don't know one way or the other about Xiamen. I agree it feels like we have too many cities in the Shanghai area but I don't know the relative importance of Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Suzhou—I won't object to removing one of those in favor of Chengdu. I continue to oppose including Kunming or Shenzhen, for reasons I've already mentioned. —Granger (talk · contribs) 21:13, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
As tourist destinations, I think all 3 are almost equally important from a perspective of historical tourism. Hangzhou is known for West Lake and the surrounding attractions, most notably including the Yue Fei temple and his tomb. Suzhou is know for its traditional Chinese gardens, and the city itself is generally just a pleasant one with streets in traditional Chinese architecture. Nanjing is home to the presidential palace of the Republic of China, as well as the tomb of Sun Yat-sen, and the tomb of the first Ming emperor. I would say Hangzhou and Nanjing are probably a little more important than Suzhou economically. Both Hangzhou and Nanjing have their own airports, while Suzhou does not, and relies on the airport in Wuxi. That said, it is also true that Suzhou is considered to be the main cultural centre of the region. I don't know how relevant this point would be, but Nanjing is a Mandarin-speaking city, albeit with a dialect that is somewhat different from standard Mandarin, while Suzhou and Hangzhou are both Wu-speaking cities like Shanghai, albeit with all 3 cities having dialectal differences from each other. The dog2 (talk) 22:21, 26 June 2019 (UTC)
I was not saying keep Nanjing. Granted it is an important city, but China has dozens of those & we want omly nine here.
My nine cities, as listed above, would be Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Harbin, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu, Suzhou & Hangzhou. Pashley (talk) 00:31, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
I'm good with that list except for Kunming. —Granger (talk · contribs) 01:54, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
That list still has 3 cities in the Shanghai area, but I guess it will have to do. If we are to leave Kunming in, perhaps the description can say that it is the gateway to Dali and Lijiang. In that way, it will keep its travel relevance. The dog2 (talk) 14:45, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
In a country as vast, diverse, and fascinating as China, I think it's weird and misleading for a "Top 5–9" list to include a city that, from the traveler's perspective, is basically just a transportation hub. —Granger (talk · contribs) 15:36, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
I get what you're saying, but Kunming is also famous for a certain type of noodle (called 米线 in Chinese; I don't know what the English name is), and culinary tourism is very much a major part of many East Asian and Southeast Asian cultures. And that is not just for Michelin-starred fine dining. Many people do in fact travel to different cities to sample the regular working-class food as the primary purpose of the trip. So it's not as if there's no value to tourists. And Lijiang and Dali don't have international airports, so if you want to visit those cities from overseas, you'll probably have to fly into Kunming and take one of the high-speed trains over. Personally, I'm ambivalent about whether or not to list it, but I just want to point out the potential value in case the consensus goes in favour of Kunming. The dog2 (talk) 16:33, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
米线 are easy to find in Dali too—if I remember correctly, that was the first meal I ate when I got there. Anyway, I'm not saying Kunming has nothing of tourist value—I'm saying that if we include it in our shortlist of cities in China, that would make it sound like much more of a destination than it really is.
If we want to give more focus to culinary tourism, that would be a good argument for Chengdu (for world-famous Sichuanese numbing-spicy food, and I've also heard it's a good place to try Tibetan cuisine if you don't want to get a permit to go to Tibet) or maybe Xiamen (for seafood and Fujian cuisine). For what it's worth, Dali is a good place to get Bai cuisine. —Granger (talk · contribs) 18:45, 27 June 2019 (UTC)
I haven't been to Sichuan or Fujian province, nor for that matter Guangxi, but I'm not sure I understand why Guilin, with a population of 4,747,963 as of 2010, is definitively too small to be listed, in spite of its role as the anchor of an area that has largely defined Chinese classical landscape composition for hundreds of years. I'm not sure this is an apples-to-apples comparison, but per w:Suzhou, "Suzhou is a prefecture-level city with a population of 4.33 million in its city proper, and a total resident population (as of 2013) of 10.58 million in its administrative area." According to w:Guilin#Demographics, "Population: 4,747,963[1]; Urban population: 975,638[citation needed]", so I don't know where that leaves us. Meanwhile, I think the regional question is relevant. If we can't list Shenzhen or other huge Pearl River Delta cities because they're too close to Guangzhou, we shouldn't be able to list both Hangzhou and Suzhou, and the tourism figures above suggest Suzhou should be the odd city out. I won't argue strongly for listing Guilin, though. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:21, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────If you ask me, I'm fine with just leaving Shanghai, and taking away the other three nearby cities. In that way, we can make way for a listing in western China, and also include Chengdu and perhaps Xiamen. The dog2 (talk) 00:58, 28 June 2019 (UTC)

And as to culinary tourism, I didn't say we should focus on that. I was just saying that it is just as valid a reason to travel as any other type of tourism, so it should definitely be taken into consideration in formulating our city lists. The dog2 (talk) 05:31, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Hangzhou is #4 in foreign tourism, ahead of Beijing. I doubt we should remove it. Ikan Kekek (talk) 06:12, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
I do agree with you on culinary tourism, and that argues for the inclusion of a city in (or formerly in) Sichuan province. Ikan Kekek (talk) 22:10, 28 June 2019 (UTC)
Agreed on that. I do lean towards Chengdu since it is the heart of Sichuan culture. And besides, it's also famous for the giant panda sanctuaries, which many tourists visiting China will be interested in checking out. How about for now, we just swap out Suzhou for Chengdu, and we can try building consensus for another swap after this to achieve more regional balance? The dog2 (talk) 04:01, 29 June 2019 (UTC)
Pashley doesn't agree, but I think the rest of us do. Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:08, 29 June 2019 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've implemented the change. I think we should do one more swap to achieve regional balance. The question is what for what? Hangzhou and Nanjing are both major tourist destinations, but I still feel that having 3 cities in the Shanghai area is overkill. The dog2 (talk) 18:00, 5 July 2019 (UTC)

Phone tapping

China Is Forcing Tourists to Install Text-Stealing Malware at its Border Pashley (talk) 01:23, 3 July 2019 (UTC)

This should be mentioned somewhere. Is it a "Get in" issue? Ikan Kekek (talk) 04:11, 3 July 2019 (UTC)
Maybe Canada's Government travel advisories has updated for the reason. ("Entry and exit requirements - Screening of digital devices") Mariogoods (talk) 08:42, 23 August 2019 (UTC)

How to characterize Chinese characters

The recent edits to this paragraph by me and others have produced something that I think isn't very clear, so I want to suggest a rewrite that we can workshop here on the talk page.

Chinese is written using Chinese characters (汉字, hànzì, lit. "Han characters"). Unlike an alphabet that represents individual sounds, each Chinese character represents a meaningful syllable: a word or part of a word. Although they look impenetrable at first, there is some method to the madness: most characters are composed from base components combined with other characters (often giving clues to both pronunciation and general meaning). The same characters are used in Japan and Korea with usually similar meanings, albeit different pronunciations.

@Bigpeteb: What do you think? Is this a fair characterization? Is there anything you think is misleading or given undue emphasis? —Granger (talk · contribs) 01:26, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

Yeah, that's a pretty good way to rephrase and condense it! I'd amend it slightly to say "Unlike an alphabet that represents individual sounds without any inherent meaning, each Chinese character represents a meaningful syllable: a specific word or part of a word" or something like that.
(Thanks for bringing this to the talk page. I should have done so myself sooner.) --Bigpeteb (talk) 03:36, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
Okay, rewritten accordingly. —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:44, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
That looks just about right. Admittedly, as a fluent speaker of the language, I don't think much about this, but we do learn in class that you can group Chinese characters into different categories. Some are pictograms, some are ideograms, some have both phonetic and semantic components and so on. Unfortunately, it will probably get too complicated for us to go into that kind of detail in a travel guide. The dog2 (talk) 14:57, 10 August 2019 (UTC)

Law enforcement

I have commented out this section:

"An alternate interpretation is that China simply takes a different approach to law and freedom. Liberal democratic countries are also known to spy on their own citizens, for example, and the freedoms espoused by other countries demonstrably do not eliminate religious and racial segregation, crime, or political extremism. The Chinese view, which began evolving in the 18th century as new Enlightenment ideas about democracy were compared to traditional Confucian values, is that too much freedom is dangerous. While American culture emphasizes individual freedoms and self-interest, Chinese culture emphasizes the collective good of the society, and hence considers it acceptable for personal freedoms to be curtailed if doing so benefits the society as a whole."

This section, to me, is political discussion, it's background, it's not directly relevant to travel. Since the beginning of July, the article has grown steadily from 242,000 bytes to 257,000 bytes because of the tendancy to add anything and everything that is interesting or may be relevant to China. If we want to keep this a useful guide for travellers, we must be selective about what we include, and choose the most relevant,, not just anything that is relevant. I propose to delete this paragraph. Ground Zero (talk) 17:57, 3 November 2019 (UTC)

I think the second part of the paragraph, from "The Chinese view..." is useful for travelers. The first two sentences are useless to the traveler. I propose a different wording:
"Westerners visiting China should remember that the Chinese view on politics, which began evolving when Enlightenment ideas about democracy were compared to Confucian values, is that too much freedom is dangerous. Chinese culture emphasizes the collective good of the society, and hence considers it acceptable for personal freedoms to be curtailed if doing so benefits the society as a whole."
Is this an improvement?--Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 18:43, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
Are we going to give similar analyses for every country with an authoritarian government? Didn't Italy have similar views under Fascism? The basic principles of Confucianism - and not only those about the relationship between the people and the government - are relevant but seem to me to belong in a "Religion" section, not a section about oppressive actions by the government that sometimes impinge on visitors. Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:38, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
We could remove that phrase completely. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 20:16, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
How does this help travelers "stay safe"? This is an example of how things get dumped into country articles, losing sight of this being a travel guide. Or do we think it's okay for articles to expand indefinitely without regard for usability? Ground Zero (talk) 20:25, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
If we use my wording, we’ll actually be shortening the article, not making it longer. It’s a safety issue because you need to know how not to be arrested by the government, in this case the Chinese government. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 21:52, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't see advice on how to avoid being arrested in what you've written above. This is background or context information, not practical advice. Ground Zero (talk) 22:00, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
”Chinese culture emphasizes the collective good of the society, and hence considers it acceptable for personal freedoms to be curtailed if doing so benefits the society as a whole.” That’s worth noting if you’re a traveler that is considering doing anything with the slightest risk of trouble with the Chinese government. --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 22:59, 3 November 2019 (UTC)
Oh sure, there are lots and lots of things the are "good to know" about China. We could fill a whole wiki about a 5000-year-old country of of 1.3 billion people. But if we put it all into one article, no-one will read it. That's why practical advice is probably best. Ground Zero (talk) 04:33, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
I think it is much more than just a difference in emphasis, collective good vs personal freedom. See above. I think the Party sees law & law enforcement as primarily means of moving toward their goals; some notions that are fairly basic elsewhere — rule of law, no-one being above the law, checks & balances, ... — are pretty much absent. I'm not at all certain what we could usefully say about this, though. Pashley (talk) 03:48, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
Could you try writing a paragraph with this information that we can use? --Comment by Selfie City (talk | contributions) 12:32, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
That said, I think what we really need to reflect here is that China is generally safe for the average tourist. Sure, you may here horror stories about people getting detained and what not, and while it's true that Chinese punishments are harsh by the standards of the Western world, but if you're just doing the regular touristy things, the police aren't going to target you. The main thing that may catch Western visitors off guard is that while illicit drug use is socially accepted in the West, especially among teenagers and young adults, and most Western countries are moving towards drug legalisation, the really do not tolerate drugs in China. So if you try taking drugs in China, you will get into serious legal trouble.
As for the collective good vs personal freedom thing, there is definitely some truth to it. Even though I wasn't born in China, I grew up in an ethnically Chinese family and the general sentiment among my older relatives is that bread and butter issues, as well as economic well-being are the most important things, and democracy is only a peripheral concern so long as the aforementioned two needs are met. If you ever listen to an election rally in Singapore and compare it to an American election rally, you will notice that difference in emphasis. That said, I'm not sure how travel related it is, so I'm fine leaving that out. The dog2 (talk) 18:39, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
The dog2, don't ignore that Singapore in particular has that attitude. I think that Taiwan is a lot less like that, considering how their politics is (are?). Ikan Kekek (talk) 19:48, 4 November 2019 (UTC)
That's a fair point, but of course, the thing to remember is that Taiwan was under Japanese rule for 50 years, so when the Kuomintang took over in 1945, the Taiwanese people would probably have felt more Japanese than Chinese. But even so, there is still not as strong an emphasis on individual freedoms in Taiwanese culture as there is in American culture; the family is still a lot more important to Taiwanese than to Americans. As for Singapore, things are changing among the younger generation, especially with the rise of social media; it is certainly conceivable that the PAP would lose the election once my parents' and grandparents' generations pass on as the younger generation gets more and more exposed to American ideals of individual freedom. And not to mention, most of the upper class elites in Singapore go to university in the United Kingdom or United States, so they will most certainly have been exposed to Western ideals, and bring some of that back with them. The dog2 (talk) 20:08, 4 November 2019 (UTC)