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WeChat Payments By Phone

john  —  December 21, 2015


Pay­ment by mobile phone is becom­ing increas­ingly pop­u­lar in China using the WeChat app. It’s one of the lat­est tech­nol­ogy trends rein­forc­ing the impor­tance of how the hum­ble mobile phone is chang­ing our life. It’s already made the land­line tele­phone, music play­ers and cam­eras obso­lete. Now it could eas­ily replace car­ry­ing a wal­let with your money or credit cards. Canthy’s not a techie, but her lat­est addic­tion is using her mobile phone to buy things online or in store.

(Blog posted by Ray on November 16, 2015)


Chinese authorities have lifted firewall controls on Facebook, Twitter, and other foreign social networks, but only in places like 5-star hotels frequented by international businessmen. Users reported that they could easily login to blocked websites while connected to lobby Wi-fi at high-scale hotels in Shanghai, Beijing, and other foreigner-heavy Chinese cities.

The South China Morning Post broke this story today in an exclusive, and reports:

One visitor to Beijing, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Post that he could easily use his mobile devices and laptop to access both Facebook and Twitter at the lobby of the St. Regis Beijing hotel and in his room during his stay in the hotel, which had often been the home to many US presidents during their visits to China. […]

“It’s not just St. Regis. A lot of my friends told me that they can also access Facebook and Twitter in many other five-star hotels in Beijing,” said the anonymous hotel visitor.

“This has even become an unspoken secret among many local Beijingners. If you want to get on Facebook and Twitter to post messages, especially to your friends who live abroad and use the two social media [sites] often, now you know where you should go in Beijing – go to those five-star hotels.”

Even in smaller cities like Dongguan, an economic boomtown in the Guangdong province near Hong Kong, five-star hotels like the Lotus Villas Hotel offer free wifi service to all visitors to the hotel, allowing them to visit Facebook and Twitter. Lotus Villas is a popular hotel for those attending business conferences in Dongguan, where many Hong Kong businessmen have significant investments.

First gigantic rooftop rock villas, now Facebook and Twitter; the rich really do get everything in China.

Source: shanghaiist.

Anyone who has been on a subway in a major Chinese city can vouch for the abundance of mobile users in the Middle Kingdom. One could rightly assume that getting a cell phone and plan would be as easy as buying a bottle of water. Unfortunately, the process can prove to be confusing and reliable information is difficult to obtain online, especially in English. But with a few key pointers, you’ll be freely tapping away on your touch screen in no time.


1) China Mobile

As the world’s largest mobile phone operator, China Mobile would appear to be your best option. China Mobile has the most reliable and widespread coverage; it’s estimated that they cover 97% of the entire population.

For international calling, you must buy an IP (voice over IP) card. You can purchase these at the same place you buy a SIM card or refill cards. Simply follow the instructions on the card and be sure to double-check the rates to your home country so you don’t run out quickly. International text messages start at about 0.45 RMB per text, but receiving international texts is free. Make sure you enter the appropriate country code before sending your SMS.

You can purchase a new China Mobile SIM card almost anywhere they sell cell phones, and even from street vendors; just point to your phone and say “SIM kǎ”. Often you will purchase a SIM card with 50 RMB credit. Certain numbers will cost you more if they contain more “lucky numbers”; 8’s are associated with wealth and prosperity while 4’s hold connotations of death and bad luck. A cell number with lots of 4’s may be significantly cheaper to purchase. You can purchase refill cards (sometimes slip receipts) at most convenience stores and street vendors; say “你卖手机充值卡吗?”(Nǐ mài shǒujī chōngzhí kǎ ma?). Be sure to specify your provider as cards are exclusive to each company (Zhōngguó yídòng中国移动is China Mobile; Zhōngguó liántōng中国联通 is China Unicom). These are usually in 50 and 100 RMB increments.

You will be able to choose your plan when you purchase your SIM card. The most common prepaid package is called M-Zone, and the most basic plan is about 0.12 RMB per minute (domestic calls) and 0.08 RMB per text message (domestic). You can change your plan, add more text messages or up your data plan by calling 10086.

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Be Careful on Twitter Links

john  —  April 17, 2012

As I’m checking my DMs in Twitter, I was caught up by the attention of one DM because of the message content. I clicked it, of course, due to curiosity whether it is true or not. But in my surprise, I found out that it’s a trap, that link will take all you account infos such as email and passwords.

Good thing I am smart enough to check every details why my Twitter session “Timed-out” and found out that it is php engine that can hack you).

(Picked from sobrang juicy)

Related article:

What to do when you’ve been Hacked! (

Has your internet been abnormally slow lately? Many Beijingers have been experiencing slow internet connections especially when trying to access foreign websites. It does seem, however, that this issue has only affected certain areas of Beijing or certain ISPs. There are a few solutions that you can try to increase the speed of your internet or the access to certain blocked or slow websites.


Changing your DNS (Domain Name System/Servers) could potentially increase the speed of your lookups and provide access to sites that are blocked by your ISP. While the results are varied depending on your location, if you are experiencing slow internet it may be worth a try. Many will opt to use a Public DNS such as OpenDNS or Google DNS. Here is a link for you to find out more about Google Public DNS.


Virtual Private Networks or VPNs have become increasingly popular when trying to access sites that may be blocked or inaccessible. VPN has been traditionally used by universities and companies whose students or employees must access or send private data however many VPN hosts now provide services for individuals. Most people who use VPN will have their preference of which one works the best. To help you make the decision, Lifehacker put together a list of their top 5 here (

(Blog contributed by TheBJReviewer on May 26, 2011)

He is an American. He names himself Mike on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging service which combines features of Twitter and Facebook and has 90 million users. He has recently come to China. That’s all we know about him so far. An average Joe who loves and seeks adventure in the Middle Kingdom, just like tens of thousands of his fellow countrymen.

However, he gained fame overnight, at least on Sina Weibo, for guilelessly questioning the Great Firewall and becoming one of the shortest-lived Weibo users, after his account was snuffed out several hours after his first post was posted.

The fateful microblog post says: “Hello everyone. My name is Mike. I come from the United States. I have just arrived in Beijing. I want to get in touch with my family on Facebook, but I can’t get access to it. Is there any method?”

The post soon became a wildfire. The tech-savvy and the kind-hearted as well as the playful and the cynical flooded his microblog page. It was allegedly shared by over 10,000 users before the account was deleted by censors at Sina Weibo.

(Blog posted on September 29, 2011 by Jing Gao. You can see the original article by following this link to Ministry of Tofu)


Related articles:

 Great Fire-wall ‘upgrade’ hits internet users as China prepares crack-down

 Guide: Website Visibility in China

Chinese Internet Users Unable to View Overseas Websites

Charting China’s Social Media Censorship

Reverse engineering Chinese censorship: When and why are controversial tweets deleted?