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David Wild » Director Consular Services China, Beijing

Communication in a crisis

The terrible events of this weekend’s earthquake in Sichuan Province have reminded us again of how susceptible this part of the world can be to natural disasters. Our team in the Consulate in Chongqing reacted quickly, ready to provide assistance if any British nationals were caught up in the damage. Aside from contact with the authorities on any nationals directly affected, we changed our Travel Advice to reflect the disruption in the area. Travel Advice … Read more »Communication in a crisis

It’s a bit like Marmite

Feature image for:  It’s a bit like Marmite

Another guest entry to mark International Women’s Day – this post by Laura Wharmby, a member of the Beijing Embassy’s Communication team, who works with us in Consular Section one day a week. But how can she hate Marmite..? A friend once said that living in China conjures up one of two distinct feelings… love or hate. I’m not quite sure you can so easily define what it feels like living … Read more »It’s a bit like Marmite

International Woman of Mystery

Feature image for:  International Woman of Mystery

To mark International Women’s Day, this week’s blog is given over to Usha Patel, Vice Consul in Shanghai. OK, maybe not the mystery part:  but I would like to consider myself to be an international women living and working in one of China’s most international cities, Shanghai! Firstly, a bit about myself… I’m currently the Vice Consul in Shanghai managing the Consular Section (David’s my boss). I had been working … Read more »International Woman of Mystery

When I’m 64

Twenty years ago British nationals in China were comparatively rare, generally either short-term business visitors or students of Chinese, very few of them outside Shanghai and Beijing. Now with a growing resident community in China and around the region, consular teams face questions we did not encounter then. How do we interact with a British Citizens who may have a tenuous link to the UK – or who may live and work in China, have a family here and consider … Read more »When I’m 64

Something in the air

There’s been so much press about the pollution levels in Beijing recently. Today’s a bad day and I can only just see the building opposite our office. What’s it like? If you’re old enough to have grown up in an area where houses burnt coal for heating, you might find the smell strangely familiar: in many cities in northern China, district heating plants burn coal for steam heating and most power generation is coal-fired, so quite often in Winter … Read more »Something in the air

Global families

Governments across the world are coming to terms with providing consular assistance to their nationals in a very global, mobile world. Just 20 years ago, British visitors to China were comparatively rare, generally either business visitors or students on short term travel to Beijing or Shanghai. The dramatic growth in overseas travel and international families mean that services have to be delivered in innovative (and more cost-effective) ways that reflect … Read more »Global families

Punching above your weight

I’m on planes quite a lot. Wedged into the back of a packed 737 recently, I spent 3 hours between a remarkably stout man by Chinese standards and another who belched loudly every two minutes or so for the whole flight – I think it was the pickled cabbage. On flights like these, you end up questioning your own life-choices and career path, staring at an out-of-date copy of the … Read more »Punching above your weight

Embassies, airlines and evacuations

I liked Tyler Brulé’s piece in last weekend’s Weekend FT about national carrier airlines as embassies, pondering the fate of Malev, the Hungarian national carrier. “I wonder what will happen next time a group of Hungarian tourists need to be airlifted out of a sunny banana republic that’s just seen its government implode?  Will Budapest have to put a call through to the offices of Ryanair in Dublin to organise an evacuation?” … Read more »Embassies, airlines and evacuations

The former spousal affection is faded

As the song says, ‘Love and marriage, love and marriage, Go together like a horse and carriage’.  While it is the week of Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be worth looking at what happens when people get married in China. We see it all – birth, death and everything in between including marriage.  The title of this week’s blog comes from a common  translation from Chinese of the one … Read more »The former spousal affection is faded

Propaganda and fireworks

Grilling lamb in Chaoyang Park

Happy Lunar New Year! A bit late, I know, but here in China we’re still only about half way through Chun Jie (Spring Festival). It lasts 15 days and at different points, you can expect renewed bursts of fireworks.  Fairs spring up in parks and around temples – we recently went to Chaoyang Park fair to absorb the sights, check out the food stalls,  (“Whole Sheep Grill!”  “Boil Corn!” and so … Read more »Propaganda and fireworks