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Chinese Voices Project: Consumer Culture

A City of Drivers (1.0 / 355)
Joanna Hsu
    The popular image of Beijing as a city of bicyclists is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as the family car comes to be seen not as a luxury but as a basic necessity for middle-class urbanites.


McMansions in Beijing (1.1 / 447)
Joanna Hsu
    Luxurious new houses are springing up like mushrooms in the suburbs of Beijing, fueling debates over the ethics of conspicuous consumption in a nation whose population remains overwhelmingly poor.


Popcorn, Peanuts, and Mao Zedong (1.1 / 435)
Joanna Hsu
    Passengers on a Chinese train are a captive audience irresistable to hucksters of all stripes, selling--at a healthy profit--everything from flashlights to Mao Zedong souvenir cards.


In Pursuit of the Perfect Face (1.2 / 312)
Chun Juan
     Judging from the number of newspaper ads, plastic surgery is all the rage among the new rich in Chinese cities. It's still got a stigma attached to it, though, making it one of the few forms of luxury consumption you won't hear them bragging about.


Starbucks in the Forbidden City I (1.3 / 319)
Chun Juan
     The Starbucks franchise in the Forbidden City has been the subject of major controversy in the Beijing blogosphere.


Starbucks in the Forbidden City II (1.4 / 371)
Joanna Hsu
     Another take on the Starbucks controversy.


A Food Poisoning Scare (1.4 / 481)
Emily Fang
     Food allergies are always dangerous, but they're even more so when restaurants don't take measures to accommodate them. This lunch out in Beijing led to a trip to the hospital--and an apologetic call from the manager.


A Girl Named Mark (1.4 / 411)
Joanna Hsu
     A trip to a Beijing Walmart reveals a certain carelessness in the assigning of English names to Chinese cashiers, and suggests the prestige value of English even in unlikely settings.


Walmarts in Beijing (1.6 / 318)
Joanna Hsu
     Walmart superstores have been blamed for killing off thousands of small family-owned businesses in US towns; their effects in Beijing neighborhoods seem, unfortunately, to be much the same.


Christmas Eve Birthday (1.7 / 265)
Chun Juan
     A December 24th birthday just isn't the same since Beijingers have taken up the Christmas habit.


The Changing Culture of Teahouses (1.8 / 236)
Yang Qiong
     The traditional teahouse in China has gone the way of the American coffeeshop, from being a casual neighborhood gathering place to an elite preserve for luxury consumption.