In a follow up to a very popular video I made about how China can actually be FREER than the USA, I decided to talk about the things that you absolutely cannot do in China.
The differences in personal freedoms are real here, and I'd like to break it down.
#5 - DRUGS There is this notion that drug use (particularly cannabis) is becoming a social norm in a lot of western countries. With countries like Portugal decriminalizing, and states in America changing their laws and attitude towards marijuana, you wouldn't be blamed for assuming that this might be a global phenomenon. Unfortunately (depending on your opinion) this is simply not the case in China. China, and many asian countries in general, have responded to the western attitude change by cracking down even harder on the drug, with many high profile cases entering the media. Forced urine tests in bars are a norm here, and punishments are high.
#2 - THE INTERNET I was pretty happy when I moved to China in 2008 when I had almost completely unblocked internet. Sure, pornography was blocked, but for the most part, everything like YouTube and Facebook was accessible. You'd get the impression that things are opening up, and the Communist Party of China is loosening it's grip.
It's never been harder to get around the great firewall, and rumors of more VPN crackdowns make this a pretty scary situation.
#3 - SARCASM Language barriers can make anyone crazy, especially in a country with very little spoken English proficiency. However, language also constructs a lot of our humor, and sarcasm is simply not a thing here in China. It often leads to very confusing conversations.
#4 - GAMBLING Ok, ok... gambling is literally everywhere in China, but it is HIGHLY illegal. As a foreigner, I'd avoid any poker nights involving money, as you might be the target of a crackdown. Not to mention, gambling, especially online gambling, in China is rife with scammers.
#5 - FREEDOM OF SPEECH Most people think that China is a country without freedom of speech. They would be wrong if they are talking about 99% of daily life. China's restrictions come from internet speech, and freedom of assembly. You are pretty much free to say what you want, but if you form a group, or try to speak your mind in protest, that's where things get messy. Criticism of politics is best left between friends here, as doing anything on mass scale will land you in trouble.