Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Friday Food 186 – Insect Shit Tea

chopsticksFriday food is a weekly article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week, we are getting shitty.

A recent trip to the Dong ethnic minority (侗族) lands in Sanjiang Autonomous County (三江侗族自治縣) in the far north of Liuzhou prefecture, where Guangxi, Guizhou and Hunan meet. turned up this curiosity.

虫宝茶 chóng bǎo chá (literally ‘insect treasure tea’) is the excrement of a type of moth caterpillar which eats tea leaves. When the tea exits at the other end, it is collected and dried.

The insect tea is added to regular tea and is considered to have medicinal properties, particularly for stomach ailments. It tastes vaguely fungal to me, like mushrooms.

Tea Field in Buyang Village (布央村), Sanjiang

Official Statement on Kindergartens

Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency issued the following statement on Friday.

Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, November

In light of the recent infringement of young children in kindergartens, the Office of Education Steering Committee of the State Council issued an urgent circular on the 24th and immediately deployed a special supervision and inspection of the normative behavior of kindergartens in the whole country. It demands effective reduction of the incidence of similar incidents, to ensure the majority of children’s physical and mental health.

“In the recent past, many infants have been abused  in kindergartens, causing bad effects and causing serious harm to the infants and their families.” The circular pointed out: “The occurrence of these incidents shows that some places and kindergartens still have mismanaging systems

According to the circular, all localities should immediately organize special supervision and inspection of the performance of kindergartens in accordance with the requirements of the “Law on the Protection of Juveniles”, the “Teachers’ Law”, the Regulations on the Administration of Kindergartens, the Procedures for the Administration of Kindergartens and the Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Parks and Homes Conducted by Kindergartens, focusing on examining the building of ethics and morality and timely detection of problems and rectification. Kindergartens hurting young children and other malignant events, must be resolutely found, investigated and dealt with, and must resolutely prevent the occurrence of kindergarten child injury, and effectively protect the safety and health of children.

The circular stressed that education administrations and kindergartens throughout the country should further strengthen risk management and control of kindergartens, strengthen access control, and strengthen supervision over technical means to form a normalized regulatory mechanism, establish and improve the accountability mechanism for handling emergencies in kindergartens, clarify the relevant responsibilities, and hold responsible persons responsible for serious accidents or adverse social impacts caused by inadequate management.

The circular also requires that all localities should establish a routine monitoring system for behavior of kindergartens and parks, keep abreast of the behavior and basic operation of kindergartens and parks, and submit relevant data and information as required. Especially significant events must be properly handled, timely reported, and protection of kindergarten should have standardized management and healthy development.

The original Chinese follows,







Kindergarten Cretins

It has been reported that Chinese censors have issued orders preventing reporting or commenting on reports of the recent child abuse scandal in Beijing.

The story which broke a few days ago alleged that RYB (Red Yellow Blue) New World Kindergarten in Xintiandi, in eastern Beijing had been drugging children and forcing them to stand naked or be locked up as punishment for disobedience. Worries have also been expressed that the children may have been sexually abused. The kindergarten is adjacent to a military base and its director is married to a former military official. The military has denied any involvement

Parents gather outside the kindergarten in Beijing

“For two days my daughter has been crying: ‘I’m not sick, so why give me shots?’” one mother told China Women’s News, a party-run newspaper.

Another parent claimed children had been told to take two white tablets each day after lunch, for reasons that are unclear.

“Disobedient students were also forced to stand naked or were locked up in a dark room at the kindergarten,” a third parent told the magazine Caixin.

Police and education authorities said they were investigating and would seek harsh punishment if the allegations proved true.

For two or three days, Chinese social media was awash with denunciations of the NASDAQ listed operators PYB, but on Thursday government sources issued the following statement to the media.


Don’t report or comment on the matter of the Red Yellow Blue New World Kindergarten in Beijing’s Chaoyang district.

Presumably concerned about a middle-class backlash and fury, the Chinese authorities have again reacted in their usual cretinous way by banning all discussion. They are more interested in protecting themselves than protecting children.


November 25th It has now been reported that one teacher has been arrested and placed in criminal detention for suspected abuse.

November 28th Here is a summary and update on the scandal from SupChina.

Note: Comments on this (and the next) article have been closed due to an overnight deluge of dishonest, abusive, racist and personal comments. This includes morons claiming that it is a fundamental human right for people to sexually abuse children and people making up what I “said” then arguing with that instead of what I actually said. Oh and the Trump chumps yelling “Fake News!” without  specifying what news is fake – the scandal, the ban or that the scandal and/or ban has been reported. An unsurprisingly high number of these comments come with different names and fake email addresses, but from the same ISP. Idiots.
November 26th, 2017


Shopping in Liuzhou is a lot better than it used to be, especially for what might be considered “western” requirements, but is still very limited. An improvement on impossible, but only just.

Things changed a few years back as online shopping hit China in a big way, especially through Taobao and Tmall. Most things you can imagine wanting or cannot imagine at all are available – from books and music to electronics, food, clothes (including western sizes) etc.

However, the site is nearly all in Chinese and this limits its usefulness for those who can’t read Chinese and have to seek assistance from Chinese friends.

Now however, a newish website, Baopals is offering a portal to Taobao and Tmall in English. Based in Shanghai and started by three American expats, the site offers access to what they claim to be over 800 million items.

The site also offers full instructions, details of payment and refund methods, and additional information on things like Chinese clothing sizes etc.

To visit the site click on the logo above. (Note: You may have to disable any VPNs or proxies to gain access.)

Don’t spend all your money!

Friday Food 185 – Liangfen

chopsticksFriday food is a weekly article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week, we are having fun.

Liagfen (凉粉) is a type of noodle made from starch and water. It is sometimes referred to as ‘starch jelly’ and is usually made from mung bean starch although other starches can be used.

The Chinese name literally means ‘cold powder’ and although the dish made from these noodles is served cold, the second character, , pronounced ‘fun’, is a funny one. Although the primary meaning is indeed ‘powder’ it is also used to denote certain products made from the powder, giving it the secondary meaning of ‘noodles’. But only certain noodles – mainly rice noodles and starch noodles. 米粉 means both rice flour and rice noodles and is often abbreviated to just . Wheat noodles (面粉) are instead abbreviated to just the first character, .

Imagine my amusement when I recently came across this.

These are packets of mung bean starch labelled as 凉粉粉 (liáng fěn fěn) meaning it’s the powder used to make the noodles which are named after the powder from which they are made!

We have here two types labelled white or black. In fact white and brown would be more accurate. The starch is boiled with water until it congeals and is spread out, then cut into noodles by hand.

Of course, the starch can also be used as with any other food starch to thicken sauces etc.

Trusty Vegetables

Having alluded to this in my last post, I  suppose I ought to explain more. I guessed a local had set it up. A few weeks back, as I was returning home from work (the curse of the drinking classes*) I spotted this at the entrance to the neighbourhood semi-compound where I live. I guessed  it must have been set up one of the locals, but I was wrong.

The Leaning Tower of Greens

Basically, it’s an unmanned vegetable stall which operates on a trust system. Pick your greenery of choice and pay by one of the telephone payment methods or drop your pictures of the Chairman in the box. Every thing is the same price – ¥3 a bunch.

It turns out that these have been springing up in residential areas for around a year and have mostly been set up by one man, a Mr Yu. Of course, it being China, there have been many copycats and soon there will be many more.

Yu says that 85% of customers are honest and Liuzhou government are holding this up as an example of how civilised the people are now, under their glorious leadership..

I only have two problems. There is a supermarket only 20 metres from that stall which has fresher looking and cheaper greenery. Every time I walk past the stall, which is most days, there is a sad selection of veg wilting in the sun, My pet rabbit would probably turn it down, if I hadn’t stir-fried her.

* ascribed to Oscar Wilde.

Vegetables and Death

I don’t know what to make of this. Yet, it’s something I’ve seen often. From Liuzhou’s media, yesterday.

Obviously, I don’t know where you are or come from, but, despicable as the Daily Mail and anything Murdoch breaths on are, there is no way the media in the UK would publish this. Yet in China, it’s OK.

Culture difference, I know, but it seems to me there is so little value on life here. This image obviously shows no respect to the deceased and must be upsetting for family and friends.

On Tuesday afternoon, an unidentified 70-year-old woman was crossing a marked zebra crossing when she was hit by a truck and instantly killed.

Now, I realise that it is probably very hypocritical of me to post the image, but I do so to make a point. It seems to me that a society which lauds a system selling vegetables on a trust basis and calling it an example of how much more civilised the city is becoming thanks to the efforts of the communist party, but shows no respect whatsoever for the dignity that the dead deserve and the compassion the mourners merit, has a very long way to go.

By the way, the vegetables story was on page 2 and the dead woman story on page 6. Priorities. Self praising propaganda must come first.

Gun Central

Who knew?

It seems Liuzhou is (or was) the centre of an international arms network.

58 people across China have been arrested including an unspecified number of foreigners.

The gang is understood to have bought gun parts from overseas suppliers and trafficked them around China using courier services. Shenzhen, in Guangdong province, was identified as the main point of entry, while Liuzhou, in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, was the principal distribution hub.

The gang leader, who has only been identified as a 30-year-old man surnamed Wu*, and three accomplices were arrested in a weapons storage facility in Liuzhou on April 18.

Wu squealed the details of all his customers and authorities say most, if not all, illegal weapons have been recovered.

He has pleaded guilty at a trial, but no news of his sentencing has yet been released, nor does there seem to be anything on the other 57 varieties of people arrested.

Prehistoric Fish

When I read the headline saying “Two Giant Prehistoric Fish Found in South China Waterway” I assumed that someone had been shopping in Bubugao Hypermarket’s crappy seafood section again., but no.

It seems that two alligator gar fish were found in Hedong Park (河东公园). These are native to the southern United States and northern Mexico and are thought to have been dumped into the park’s artificial lake by someone who kept them as pets until they grew too large. They are over 1 metre long and weigh around 10 kg each.

Alligator gar have been around since the time of the dinosaurs with fossil evidence indicating the fish were around over a 100 million years ago.

Under Chinese law, releasing non-native species into the environment can be punished with a fine of up to 10,000元


I wonder what they taste like.

Friday Food 184 – Buckwheat Noodles

chopsticksFriday food is a weekly article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week, we are bucking trends.

Recently, a new arrival in Liuzhou asked me where she might find buckwheat noodles in town, as she is gluten intolerant. I was, happily, able to tell her and thought I should share here.

The noodles are, surprisingly, more easily available than one might imagine. Almost every largish supermarket has them. What you have to look for is the Chinese name. Few are labelled in English. The Chinese is 荞麦挂面 for the dried variety and 荞麦面 for the fresh. (As ever, hover your mouse pointer over the Chinese for an enlargement and the Pinyin)

The dried are by far the most common. This bag containing 1kg dry weight costs between ¥7 and ¥10 depending on which supermarket.

Dried buckwheat noodles

‘Fresh’, as opposed to dried, are less easily available, though Bubugao has them in their chill cabinets. Around ¥4 for 200g. However, if you do have any gluten intolerance, then beware. These noodles contain more regular wheat than buckwheat.

Fresh “buckwheat” noodles

Just typical. The only ones to be labelled in English and the label is totally misleading.

NB (Ass-covering disclaimer): As anywhere on this blog, please remember I am not in any way medically qualified and accept no responsibility for any consequences of readers eating anything I mention. If you have dietary issues or allergies, please double check everything, then check again.

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