China Focus: Foreign vloggers show real China to global audiences

2024-July-5 13:50 By: Xinhua

BEIJING, July 4 (Xinhua) -- When Sammy and Tommy, an adventure travel couple from the United States, embarked on their journey through China, they never imagined how it would unfold.

Reflecting on the recent trip to China, the couple expressed their astonishment in a video posted on their YouTube channel, "Sammy and Tommy," which has around 174,000 subscribers.

"Beijing has not been what we expected at all. I definitely expected it like a loud, crazy (and) noisy city and it's truly been like the complete opposite. Everything is so green and people have been so friendly," the duo shared passionately.

The couple are among the many foreigners who have visited China and been astounded by its efficient public transport services, the widespread use of cashless payments, and other "life hacks."

Through platforms like YouTube and TikTok, foreign vloggers are now sharing their experiences of this diverse country, offering a glimpse into the real China while dispelling common stereotypes and misconceptions.

For many, it is their first visit to China, and they have found their experiences far exceeded expectations. Their videos showcase immaculate public spaces, secure nighttime strolls and cutting-edge infrastructure like high-speed trains, among others.

"What I saw really surprised me," said Josie from Sydney, Australia, who has some 977,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel "josie lifts things," in a video of her time in Shanghai.

"The constant smiles, the curious kids and the general friendliness of everyone we met made me feel so comfortable and welcome in a country I was honestly really worried about visiting," Josei said in the video, which garnered over three million views and about 52,000 likes.

Currently, foreign nationals from 54 countries are eligible for the 72/144-hour transit visa-free policies that are effective at 38 ports in 18 provincial-level regions across China. During visa-free stays, tourists are permitted to engage in short-term activities such as travel and business visits.

China has also implemented a visa-free policy for ordinary passport holders from over a dozen countries and allowed visa-free entry of foreign tourist groups aboard cruise ships via all cruise ship ports along the country's coastline.

Additionally, authorities have taken a slew of measures to make it much easier for foreigners to use mobile pay in the country.

Benefiting from favorable policies, an increasing number of foreign tourists are choosing to explore China, venturing beyond megacities like Beijing and Shanghai to discover some of its more remote corners.

Official data show that the number of foreigners visiting China in the first quarter of this year increased more than threefold compared to the same period last year. A total of 466,000 visas were issued to foreigners, up 118.8 percent year on year. Additionally, nearly 1.99 million foreigners entered China visa-free, a year-on-year increase of 266.1 percent.

On social media platforms, travel videos tagged with "ChinaTravel" are trending and international tourists are flocking to famed scenic spots.

Speaking about why he visited China and documented his journey, Canadian vlogger Kourosh Kamyabi said that after seeing the negative portrayal of China by some Western media outlets, he decided to see the country with his "own eyes."

"So I went to Shanghai and I was shocked, it's very safe and clean. I actually saw a lot of advancements that we don't have in Canada and I love the city's subway system," said Kamyabi.

"Western media reports about China rarely touch on the country's modern development and improvement of people's lives," said Wang Weijia, director of the Institute of Global Communication at Peking University.

The streamlined visa process facilitates foreigners to record authentic perceptions of a real China and share their perspectives with a global audience, which is good for eliminating stereotypes, Wang added.

Editor: WXY
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