Going to the Movies? How to use Your Smart Phone to Buy Discount Movie Tickets

My wife and I have lived in Beijing for several years. Over the years we’ve had many friends venture to the movies theaters to watch the latest hits while we stayed home and enjoyed the savings of 10RMB DVDs. Now certainly there is a worthwhile savings for those who are patient enough to wait for a quality copy to come out to the dwindling number of DVD stores, but we all know that going to the theater is just not the same experience. There’s just something about the big screen, especially in 3D that blows away the home viewing experience.

 

A few months ago a local friend gave us some free movie tickets. Another friend then told me about an app that would allow a view of all the current movies and where they were playing. I then chose a 3D movie I knew my life would love to see for her birthday, but you guessed it, the free tickets were for 2D movies. I was now finally motivated, I had to have those tickets, but the price! So I asked another friend and they told me about the app. I actually bought the tickets while standing in line at the theater and saved substantially at the counter.

 

So, if you have an interest in either watching Chinese or Western movies (in their original language) in Beijing, with the original voice soundtrack, and don’t mind or actually would enjoy practicing your Chinese reading by following the Chinese subtitles, then this app is a must. The app is free and is called Mtime, or in pinyin – shiguangwang (时光网). Below is the step-by-step process for downloading and using Mtime.

 

Note that these directions are specific to making your purchase using a Chinese bankcard.

 

1)   Download the app and open it.

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2)   The Home page is at center bottom and the current movie list is displayed with a customer rating from 1-10 (this post will not go into what the other bottom tabs are for).

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3)   Scroll through and pick the movie you’re interested in.

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4)   Push the orange purchase ticket (购票) tab.

 

5)   Here you will have a choice of dates at the top and below a scroll down for movie theaters showing your movie pick. I prefer to narrow the options by tapping the middle green circle tab (地区) so I can choose theaters in my district. If you’re in Chaoyang District you might want to choose the second tab for your nearby (附近) theaters.

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6)   Scroll down and select the tab for your choice of theaters.

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7)   You will see optional show times and prices for your movie tickets. Touch the tab for your preferred show time.

 

8)   Reserve your seat(s) by touching the seats you prefer. You can touch and order as many seats as you want from those that have not been reserved. The seats you reserve will appear orange while the rest are blue. The bottom will display the row (排) and seat numbers (座). When you’re finished you can press the orange next (下一步) button.

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9)   Enter the cell phone number and password you would like to use (there should be at least one numerical digit).

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10)  Now push the light blue register tab (免费注册) (In the future, once you’ve registered, you can tap the log in (登录) tab, that is, assuming it remembers your phone number).

 

 

11) Enter your phone number and your preferred password, then push the tab to obtain your verification number (获取验证吗) and you will receive a text with your verification code.

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12) Enter the code and push the (提交) tab.

 

 

13) You get a pop up window that asks you to confirm that you want to go forward. Touch the definitely (确定) tab if you definitely want the tickets.

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14) Now you have two choices, either registering your email address or cell phone. If you want to order tickets only with your phone, then touch the submit (提交) tab (this post only follows the track of using your cell phone).

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15) You will get a screen that confirms you order and the amount. If it all looks right tap next (下一步).

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16) Now you have a choice of payment options. The simplest is to use the Union Pay online option (使用银联在线付款) which is the second orange tab.

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17) Now enter your bankcard number and touch “next”. You will get a second window. Enter your pin# and your registered phone number and then touch the orange SMS tab. You should receive a text with the required SMS number. Enter the number and touch “Start Pay”.

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18) When processing is complete, Mtime should hold a record of your ticket purchase. You should also receive a text with the purchase details. You can show either of these at the ticket window to receive your tickets.

 

 

Of course I accept no responsibility for the accuracy of this post, or any losses you may incur as a result of following the above instructions.

 

There you have it. Enjoy your movie!

Learning Chinese in Beijing? – Top tips on renting a flat – Part 3 – Preparing to leave

Learning Chinese in Beijing? – Top tips on renting a flat – Part 3 – Preparing to leave

(This is the third blog post on renting a flat. Click here for the first and second posts.)

“Why do I need to prepare to leave? But I’ve only just moved in…!”

No, I’m not confused, it actually is important to think right at the start about how you do things to ensure that your leaving process is as smooth as possible. This post came about after one of our former students told us about some of their experiences of moving away from their apartment and some of the things they wished they had known in advance!

View from Huaqingjiayuan flat in Wudaokou

Wudaokou from a Huaqingjiayuan flat.
Road noise can be an issue if your flat doesn’t have good double glazing

Drinking water

Most people arrange to have big bottles of water delivered to use with their water machine. When you first get one of these you will have to pay a deposit (probably 50RMB). You need to make sure that you keep the original receipt for this deposit, because if you don’t, when you come to leave, you won’t get your deposit back! (For further ahead; although they will deliver water, when it comes to leaving, you may need to take the bottle back to them yourself, so be sure to get their address.)

Bottled water - you don't want to drink the tap water

Unless you bring out a filter system for your tap water you will need to buy bottled water for your flat

Utilities

I mentioned this in the last post, but you should keep your receipts for gas/electric and water, so that you can prove to the landlord/agent how much you have paid.

Deposit/Contract

If you don’t already have one, getting a receipt for your deposit is a good idea so you can be sure to get back what is due. Ensuring there is a good inventory of the apartment, including a note of the overall state of the apartment, is also a good thing to do as soon when you move in. (A good rental agency should in theory have already helped you with this…) Now is also a good time to double check your contract to see if there are any ‘hidden’ clauses such as paying a tax for garbage disposal or other fees you haven’t thought of (which your landlord may try to impose on you when you leave). In theory you will have already checked this type of thing out before you sign the contract, but realistically, in the stress of getting everything done, some things may easily be missed. Local friends can be a great source for helping you understand some of the finer subtleties that us foreigners might miss! Finally, if there is nothing in the contract about extra fees being your responsibility, have made a good inventory, and you have a receipt for your deposit, and then as long as you leave the apartment in good shape you should be able to get your whole deposit back! Enjoy your stay in this great country!

One other thing to remember is that China generally deals in cash, so you need to get used to withdrawing and handling large bundles of cash.

One other thing to remember is that China generally deals in cash, so you need to get used to withdrawing and handling large bundles of cash.

Learning Chinese in Beijing? – Top tips on renting a flat –Part 2

(This is the second post on renting a flat. You can find the first post here.) So, you have successfully negotiated a contract, got the keys, moved your stuff in, and registered with the police. Now what?

Renting a flat – Paying for Utilities 

Gas and electric both require to be purchased in advance. Each has a separate card that you will need to make sure is provided for you by your landlord or rental agency. It’s a good idea to check on both the gas and electric meter as to how much credit there is on the cards (Sometimes this will be done by the agent when you move in, as they may want to charge you for this, especially if there is a large credit). If the credit is low, then you will probably want to go and buy more credits sooner rather than later (or risk your shower going cold, or your dinner being half cooked!)

 

Beijing gas meter

Beijing gas meter, generally found in the kitchen

Gas

Your gas meter is likely to be inside your own apartment and so should be easy to find. The available credit will be clearly displayed. Gas can be purchased from the Bank of Beijing (if you have a Chinese bankcard from any bank then you can use their 24 hour self service machines. If you do not have a Chinese bankcard, you will need to queue up and pay over the counter). Gas can also be purchased from designated selling offices (ask your agent or a friend for the location of the one in your area). You need to insert your card into the gas meter for it to register your account, then within 24 hours you can go buy the gas. The easiest way is just to insert the card into the machine immediately before you head out and then reinsert the card into the meter as soon as you return to add your gas credits. Most meters also have batteries that occasionally need to be replaced. Generally speaking, if your gas isn’t flowing when the meter still shows you have credits, then the culprit is likely dead batteries.

 

Beijing Electricity meter

Your electic meter is usually in the corridor outside your flat. Insert your card to find out much credit you have left.

Electric

Electric meters can be a little trickier – they are almost always outside the apartment, and often are grouped together, so the key thing is to work out which one is yours. The suggestion from the official website  is: Way to check the meter of your house: turn off the switch of the meter, if the power in your house goes off means that the meter is connected with your house. I just successfully tried this with ours, and found the switches are in a little box under the meters. However, if you have to try quite a few before you work out which is yours, this may give you some unhappy neighbours, so another suggestion is to turn on your air-conditioning and see which meter starts using more electric. (There is a little red light on the right of the credit display, which flashes ever faster as your electricity consumption goes up. Incidentally, the display will only show numbers constantly once your credit is less than 200, to find out how much credit you have if there are no numbers, just put the card into the machine with the chip facing outwards) Electric can be purchased from many of the banks, including: Bank of China, Bank of Beijing, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). It can also be purchased from any sale outlet of Beijing Electric Power Corporation. Again, you need to insert your card into the machine before you go. Note – you can only top up the electric when it is below 200kWH. The Beijing governments official English website has info on buying electric and is actually pretty useful.

 

Beijing gas and electricity cards

You need to make sure your landlord gives you the relevent cards for putting credit on your electricity and gas meters

Tap Water

Water is the simplest – as it is not pre-pay but is billed by actual usage. Once every two months or so, someone will come round to read the water meter and tell you how much to pay. I have always just paid them directly as this saves a trip to the bank. Previously I know people were sometimes nervous to do this in case the worker just pocketed the money, but they have recently introduced a new system, which means you get an electronic receipt from the person when you pay them (which you can then keep to prove to your landlord that you have paid, just in case they try to charge you!) If you see anything we have missed, please use the comments below to share your experience of renting a flat in Beijing. Our final post should be out in a couple of days, which will include advice on what you need to be aware of at the start so that your eventual leaving process is less stressful.

Learning Chinese in Beijing? – Top tips on renting a flat (Part 1 of 3)

Mid August onwards is the time when many international students start to arrive in Beijing to begin a semester or two of Chinese studies. If your language school or university doesn’t provide accommodation (or if what is on offer there is not what you are looking for), how do you go about renting a flat i.e finding somewhere decent, at a price that suits you and with a landlord that is helpful? What are some of the key things that you need to know to make sure you are all above board, fulfilling all the regulations? What can help you have a smooth transition into actually living in your own place, and what do you need to know at the start that will make it easier when you leave?

Part one in this mini series will look at some of the key things to think about when first looking for, and negotiating a place to rent. Part two will consider things to think about after you have moved in. Part three will help you think about what you are going need to be ready for when you eventually move out.

Firstly, we’d like to point you to a great article that was posted towards the end of July 2013, which gives a really good overview of most of the things you should be aware of when trying to find a place to rent in Beijing/China. http://www.saporedicina.com/english/rent-in-beijing/

One important point to note: it is good to be aware that things here in China have a tendency to change FAST! So advice given this week may not be fully accurate in six months or a years’ time. However, at the time of writing this post we still feel most of the advice in the Sapore di Cina article is up to date, and some of it is pretty timeless.

A couple of things that the article does not mention, or only mentions briefly, are also important to consider.

renting a flat in wudaokou

The modern Huaqingjiayuan housing complex is right next door to our language school 1on1Mandarin

Registration

It is mandatory for all foreigners to register at their local police office within 24 hours of arriving in the country. If you stay in university accommodation or a hotel, this will be done for you. However, if you are renting a place, you will need to personally make sure you register. There is a fine of up to 500RMB for not registering. Previously there was often a degree of leniency in the time, however, over the summer of 2012 there was a significant crackdown on foreigners living in Beijing, and since then the rules are being enforced much more stringently. (Having said that, different local police offices do still have different practices!)

The Practicalities

In order to register you will first need to go to the correct local police office. In theory your landlord should accompany you the first time you go, and if this is the case, then registration should go smoothly. However, if your landlord is not willing to come with you, then you need to make sure that you at least know where to go! Once you get there, you will need to provide a number of documents. (This may vary slightly depending on which office you go to – again, different offices have different practices!) The minimum you will need is:

  1. Your passport, with valid Chinese visa, and date of entry stamp
  2. Your contract

Recently I have heard that you will also need to provide some sort of proof that your landlord has paid his rental tax (*more info regarding the rental tax below). This may be in the form of an official receipt, or it may be a ‘letter of invitation’ (essentially something only provided if your landlord has paid their tax). The easiest way to deal with this the first time is to insist that your landlord goes with you, and that they then provide you a copy of this document for you to use yourself on subsequent occasions.

The post below gives more detailed info as to what is required. (It doesn’t mention anything about proof of tax payment, but the article is about a year old, and this has been much more rigorously enforced recently.) http://www.themiddlekingdom.org/everything-you-need-to-know-about-residence-registration/

Rental Tax Landlords are required to pay a yearly tax of 5% of rental income. If a landlord has Chinese tenants, they will often manage to avoid paying this. However, if a landlord has ‘foreign’ tenants, then as they are required to register with the police, this makes it very difficult for the landlord to avoid paying the tax. There are numerous examples of people trying to register and being told that the 派出所 (local police office) will not register them as the landlord has not paid their tax. (We have personally experienced this twice so far.)

This blog post from last year (2012) is a good summary of this tax, and some of the pitfalls to be aware of (with some info on registration for good measure).  The key sticking point is, that although it is supposed to be the landlord who pays the tax, they often don’t want to, so will essentially ask you to pay it. If it is an apartment you like you will need to come up with some compromise for this or there is a good chance they will just rent it out to someone else. However, you do need to make sure that it is very clear in the contract that you have paid the tax, and you need to make sure that you get the appropriate receipt. Insisting that the landlord comes with you when you first register should take care of this, however, you still need to get a copy of the tax receipt as each time you leave and re-enter (or get a new visa) you may need to take it back to the police office when you register again!

Renting a flat in wudakou - cheaper option

Housing in Wudaokou – old style

Housing agents

If you are renting through an agency, which will be the case for the majority of people, it will not be uncommon to find that the owner of the property does not live in Beijing, or even if they do, they are ‘not available’. In these cases ensuring that you have an agent who can provide you with all the documentation you need is very important. Should you choose to come and study with us at 1on1 Mandarin, we have a good relationship with various housing agents that we trust, so we will be able to give you an introduction, as well as being able to help you out with some of the language difficulties you may face. Just let us know when you sign up that you would like us to help you with this.

Welcome to China! We wish you all the best in your new adventure.

Watch out for our second post on renting a flat in the next day or two, which will include advice on sorting out your utilities and how to put credit on your gas & electricity cards.

Vocab for Breathing Healthy in Beijing

 

great wall of china

Here are a few basic vocabulary words about health and air pollution that you can use in everyday conversation.

breathe 呼吸 (hū xī)

air quality 空气质量 (kōng qì zhí liàng)

air quality index (AQI) 大气质量指数 (dà qì zhí liàng zhĭ shù)

clean air 清新 (qīng xīn) or 干净的空气 (gān jìng de kōng qì)

fresh air 新鲜空气 (xīn xiān kōng qì)

air pollution 空气污染 (kōng qì wū răn)

particulates 微粒 (wéi lì) or 颗粒 (kē lì)

dust 灰尘 (huī chén)

HEPA High-Efficiency Particulate Air 高效能粒子空气 (gāo xiào néng lì zĭ kōng qì)

HEPA filter 高效过滤网 (gāo xiào guò lǜ wăng)

Air purifier 空气净化器 (kōng qì jìng huà qì)

mask 口罩 (kŏu zhào)

lungs 肺 (fèi)

 

Goobo: “The air is so clean today! Let’s go for a picnic at the park. The fresh air and the scenery will do your lungs good.”

“今天空气这么好,我们去公园野餐吧!那里空气清新,风景秀丽,对肺有好处!“

Palunka: “Are you kidding me? The air is SO polluted today. Stay inside and turn on your air purifier.”

“开什么玩笑?外面污染这么严重,我看还是待在家里开空气净化器好了。”

Goobo: “But the AQI reported in the paper is fine. Besides, I haven’t changed the filter in a long time.”

”可是报纸上说大气质量指数还不错啊!而且过滤网很久都没换了。“

Palunka: “Then we’re going to buy a filter right now. Put on your mask. It’s dusty outside. Let’s go!”

“那我们现在就去买过滤网吧!记得戴上口罩,外面灰尘太多了!走吧!”

growing cleaner air in your home

Money Plant

There are at least three ways to combat air pollution in your home and outdoors – air filters 空气净化器 (kōng qì jìng huà qì), houseplants 室内植物 (shì nèi zhí wù), and masks 口罩 (kŏu zhào). Most of these options aren’t portable, but check out low-cost ways to help you stay healthy at the MyHealth Beijing blog.

Fight “Crazy Bad” Air Pollution — Cheaply

MyHealth Beijing

 

a refreshing and wild trip into Tian Shan mountain of Xinjiang

Tian Shan of Xinjiang

As I can see in Beijing,  all expatriates like to travel.  When living in Beijing for awhile, you’ve seen the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.  Have you ever wanted to get out of the big city and go on trips which are designed to encourage, support and renew your life. I know a friend who started JWA Trip here in Beijing and bring people on backpacking trips into Tian Shan mountain of Xinjiang. They will go to the few remaining unspoiled locations in Xinjiang and experience the beauty of wilderness.

One of trips they are doing is the adult backpacking trip, is a ten day backpacking trip that begins and ends in Urumqi, Xinjiang. Upon your arrival in Urumqi, your trip includes all transportation, lodging, food, and equipment for your ten day journey.

After transit through Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang’s Uyghur Autonomous Region, you will spend 8 days, 7 nights backpacking through the Tian Shan mountain range. In the Celestial Mountains; a seldom-traveled range that could easily be mistaken for the Swiss Alps, you will travel through untouched high mountain meadows, spruce-fir forests, waterfalls, rivers, and alpine lakes. As you experience one of China’s few remaining unspoiled locations you will practice a variety of wilderness skills such as navigation, back-country cooking, camp-site management, safe travel techniques, and leadership.

Tian Shan mountain of Xinjiang

 So if you wanted to go on trips for a refreshing and adventurous experience,  The JWA ten days backpacking trip into Tian Shan mountain which will be a trip you would like, here is more information about their trips this summer

http://jwatrips.com/adultbackpacking

Thanks JWA for those beautiful pictures, here are a few more:

Lastly, here are a few more helpful information provided by JWA:

• Each participant will be carrying a backpack that weighs between 40 and 50 pounds, filled with personal gear, group gear, food and water.

• Hiking will take place between the elevations of 4500 and 12,000 feet. Because of this, we ask that each participant set personal exercise goals for themselves. Strength and speed are of little importance when backpacking, though building up your endurance will increase your level of enjoyment while on the trail. Running three miles, three to four times a week will best prepare you for your Journey Adventure.

• The weather in Xinjiang is wonderful in June, July, and August. Due to the varied elevation at which you will travel, you can expect to encounter temperatures as low as 40°F at night and as high as 90°F during the day. For most of your time in the mountains, the temperatures should be between 60°F and 85°F . Average rainfall is around 1 inch or less per month in Xinjiang. However, additional rainfall often results in mountainous environments. Wind can also be a factor in the mountains with average wind speeds around 11 mph.

• In the months of June, July, and August, there will be daylight from around 6:30am to 9:30pm.

• There will be a maximum of 12 participants in each group, in addition to the 2-3 guides.

 

How to get a Chinese visa with the least amount of money

The other day, I received a friend’s newsletter which shared a very helpful tip about how you can extend your Chinese visa with the least amount of money.  As a Chinese language school in Beijing, we often need to provide visa or extend visa for our students. Just last week, we helped one student extend her visa which cost about 1500 RMB in total for another 3 months visa, it took her about 2-3 hours to finish the visa extension process including traffic time on subway.

If you follow the way mentioned in the newsletter, it would cost about 800 RMB  , however, you will need to take train and spend one night in Erlian.  Below is the tip my friend shared and step by step information how you can get your visa extended.

—–

First, head to the Beijing Railway Station and hop on the K23 to Erlian/Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. It leaves at 8AM on Mon/Tues/Wed and arrives in the border town Erlian at about 8:30PM that night. Cost for your hard sleeper: about 148 kuai.

You’ll have to spend the night in Erlian, so head to one of the hotels across from the train station. Rooms range from 80 kuai to 150 kuai per night. For dinner, the “ganguo” (dry pot) at the restaurant near the bus station is pretty good (40 – 80 kuai).

Unless you want to see the sights (there’s a dinosaur museum that is supposed to be interesting), just hop in the cab the next morning and tell the driver that you want to go to the “guomen” (the border). Cost of the ride: 10 kuai.

You have to buy a ticket to cross the border (5 kuai). You then hitch a ride in a dilapidated jeep to drive you from China to Mongolia (50 kuai one way, which is unfortunately the “foreigner price”. Cabs can’t drive you to the border). You’ll get out and go through both customs, get your stamp in Mongolia and then turn around and enter back into China, where you hop in another jeep for another 50 kuai.

Given the limited return options for the train (it leaves for Beijing only late Thurs and Sun nights), most people opt to take the sleeper bus leaving a few times every day (220 kuai).

Total cost of your visa run: less than 800 kuai.

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My friend’s newsletter called Expat Package which is a weekly newsletter about life in Beijing. If you are interested in received more tips from him, you can sign up for his free newsletter here:  http://www.expatpackage.com

 

Problem Capsule in China

Right now, one of the biggest news here in China is about Problem Capsule – 问题胶囊 (wèn tí jiāo nánɡ )which was being discovered recently. The problem is about corporate use of industrial gelatin production of hollow capsules. Here is one of most recent news video report on Problem Capsule:

 

If you are in China or coming in China soon, here are some Capsules found as Problem Capsule – 问题胶囊 (wèn tí jiāo nánɡ ), please try not to take them or take your own necessary medication with you from your own Country.

 

脑康泰胶囊 – (nǎo kānɡ tài jiāo nánɡ);
愈伤灵胶囊 – (yù shānɡ línɡ jiāo nánɡ );
盆炎净胶囊 – (pén yán jìnɡ jiāo nánɡ );
苍耳子鼻炎胶囊 – (cānɡ ěr zǐ bí yán jiāo nánɡ );
通便灵胶囊 – (tōnɡ biàn línɡ jiāo nánɡ );
炎立消胶囊 – (yán lì xiāo jiāo nánɡ )
人工牛黄硝唑胶囊 – (rén ɡōnɡ niú huánɡ xiāo zuò jiāo nánɡ )
阿莫西林胶囊 – (ā mò xī lín jiāo nánɡ ) - unfortunately I took some a few weeks before. :cry:
诺氟沙星胶囊 – (nuò fú shā xīnɡ jiāo nánɡ );
羚羊感冒胶囊 – (línɡ yánɡ ɡǎn mào jiāo nánɡ )
抗病毒胶囊 – (kànɡ bìnɡ dú jiāo nánɡ );
清热通淋胶囊 – (qīnɡ rè tōnɡ lín jiāo nánɡ );
胃康灵胶囊 – (wèi kānɡ línɡ jiāo nánɡ )
Have you ever thought you would put your life in such risk when you come to China?

Breathing in Beijing: Air Pollution in Beijing – Fact or Fiction?

A few days ago, I received a newsletter email from Beijing United Hospital which talked about some facts and fictions about air pollution in Beijing, since it’s a hot topic which everybody’s been talking or caring about, specially, those who are living in Beijing or planning to visit Beijing, I thought it would be good to repost it below.—–

Air pollution ( 空气污染 – kōnɡ qì wū rǎn ) ​is an unfortunate reality for all of us in China as only 1% of all cities meet the World Health Organization’s guidelines for healthy air. Beijing’s air is particularly notorious (and is worse than Shanghai or Guangzhou), but Beijing actually isn’t near the top 10 of the world’s most polluted cities. This fact shows that air pollution, far from just a China problem, is all too common in most developing countries, especially India.

Recently, the Chinese press greatly expanded their coverage of air pollution. However, there are still quite a few myths and misperceptions about air pollution, which I would like to attempt to clarify below. My ultimate goal is to provide the evidence so that we can make healthcare decisions based on facts, not fiction.

Fact or Fiction: A day of breathing Beijing air is like smoking a pack of cigarettes.

This is fiction. I often hear apocalyptic statements about air pollution, especially the idea that breathing Beijing’s air is like smoking a pack a day. This statement is a bit extreme. I did my own data analysis and found that the total amount of small air particles (PM2.5) we breathe each day is far less than one pack. In fact, it is only 1/6 of one cigarette. This amount of exposure is about the same as secondhand smoke. That finding surprised me, but I think the larger message is that any amount of smoking, even “light” smoking, is far more serious and lethal than living in the heaviest pollution in the world. From this perspective, perhaps Chinese public health would benefit more from drastically reducing smoking rates than from focusing on expensive industrial fixes to lower ambient pollution.

Fact or Fiction: Living long-term in polluted cities shortens life expectancy​.

This is fact, but with many caveats. Living in any city with high air pollution does reduce life expectancy, but every city in the world affects your health in good and bad ways. Living long -term (more than six years) in a city with air similar to Beijing gives you a 32-49% increased risk of pollution-related death than living in a city that has perfectly clean air. It’s important to consider the risk in the context of compare this risk to other cities. For example, residents of Los Angeles have a 16% greater risk, while citizens of Paris and San Francisco have a 20% and 13% greater risk, respectively.

Fact or Fiction: Children’s lungs are more vulnerable to air pollution.

This is an unfortunate fact. The better studies, especially a few from Los Angeles school systems, have shown air pollution can cause small but permanent lung damage to a growing child’s lungs. This is actually my main concern here in China, and I hope all parents take this risk seriously and reduce their children’s risks as much as much as possible, especially ​by buying a good HEPA-certified (HEPA = high-efficiency particulate air) air purifier for their child’s bedroom. These filters, when used in small rooms with the doors closed, can filter up to 99 percent of air particles. I also feel that all school systems should have an air pollution action plan, which limits outdoor activities depending on the hourly Air Quality Index.

Fact or Fiction: Air purifiers are effective in reducing your exposure.

This is a fact, and that’s good news for those of us who feel helpless about air pollution. We tend to focus on the outdoor air quality, but don’t forget that we all spend about 90% of our lives indoors. Indoor air pollution is likely to be about 50-80% of outdoor levels. So while you may feel helpless about air pollution, you still have control over 90% of your exposure. That control mostly involves good quality indoor air purifier systems, whether stand-alone or built into your central HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning). I consider air purifiers a wise investment. These HEPA filters are rated to filter out more than 99% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns, which covers not only the most dangerous particles but also viruses, bacteria and many dangerous indoor chemicals. I’ve done some real-world testing on a few of the most popular brands and found that all models were extremely efficient in small rooms with doors closed, removing 95-99% of all particles. That means that even on “crazy bad” nights, your bedroom will be a safe oasis. Simply running a good purifier at night automatically decreases your lifetime exposure to pollution by one-third — in any city you live in.​​

To summarize, I’ve lived in Beijing for more than five years practicing Family Medicine, and while I do take air pollution seriously, I feel that my quality of life and overall health are very high here in China. Don’t panic. Acknowledge the facts. And be smart about air pollution.

To give the credit to Beijing United Hospital and Dr.Saint Cyr who wrote this post, here is the original post: http://beijing.ufh.com.cn/en/health-information/health-line/68/Breathing/