Looking back on the year that is coming to an end can be an exercise in wistful nostalgia or gleeful good riddance, but whatever your feelings, 2013 is coming on tomorrow. What will 2013 bring? Here’s a peek at some changes you can expect here in Beijing for the coming year.
More Visits to the In-Laws
If you or your spouse is a Chinese national, expect to be spending more time with your parents or your in-laws, or be prepared to face legal repercussions if you don’t. China recently passed a law mandating that adult children visit their parents “often,” though “often” was not defined. This stems from China’s longer life expectancy, ageing population, and neglected elderly. May be time to make some plans to use your next holiday to see Mom and Dad, because remember, in a few decades it will be your kids visiting you.
Know your H2O
Now that you’ve got the hang of PM 2.5 air pollution readings, there will be new data to check: tap water quality. Starting on January 15, 2013, Beijing Waterworks Group will publish
the quality of the city’s tap water on their websites. The data, which will be published quarterly, will cover degrees of color, turbidity (cloudiness), and remains of disinfectant.
Stricter food safety rules
In the realm of it’s-about-time, Beijing is introducing stricter food safety laws
and an accountability system for food safety. The regulation goes into effect April 1, 2013 (thought that doesn’t seem so auspicious a date), and states that vendors or producers found to produce or sell unsafe food will be banned from the food sector for life. Additionally, those found responsible for safety issues, including company executives, will face a five-year ban from the industry.
One of the most rampant problems, that of “gutter oil,” which is re-processed used cooking oil, will also be addressed in some capacity, as the law will prohibit catering business from dumping or discarding kitchen garbage, and that used oil should be collected by specialized companies. This is only a municipal law, but the announcement comes shortly after Shanghai announced that companies that disobey food safety laws will be blacklisted.
Equal rights for (some) foreigners
Foreigners who get a permanent residence permit in China (aka the Chinese “green card) will now get almost the same rights as local Chinese
. This means those permanent residents will enjoy the same rights to pension, property and employment, as a Chinese citizen. The only right permanent residents will not share with Chinese citizens will be political rights, but they will benefit from endowment, medical, unemployment, injury, and maternity insurance. These lucky green card holders can work without a permit, and other immediate family members can apply for visas, residence permits, and even a green card. As for the children of green card holders, they can attend their neighborhood school and won’t be charged extra fees.
Getting that green card will likely prove tricky. The Chinese government’s official website states that those who wish to apply for a permanent resident permit must be healthy, law-abiding, and hold no criminal records. They should also have “invested in China directly, have steady investment condition and good revenue record for more than 3 years.” There are specific stipulations as to job titles as well, and must hold or rank above “assistant general manager or factory director … associate professor or assistant researcher, or have enjoy [sic]the equal treatment in China for more than 4 years.”
There are further, even more opaque stipulations, such as applicants must “have great and outstanding contributions to China or meet the special requirements of the Chinese government.” For more of the requirements, visit their Permanent Resident Requirements page.
Crackdown on Jaywalking, Beijing Style
Don’t stop teaching your kids to look both ways, but apparently Beijing police have been spurred into
striking hard at “brining order to traffic and security.” That means cracking down on crossing against lights and motor vehicles driving on the wrong side of the street. Don’t hold your breath for a quick change, but don’t be surprised if there are more traffic monitors in 2013.
Photo courtesy of flickr user Francisco Diez