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Should I live in Beijing or commute?


Stephenhillcoat's picture
By Stephenhillcoat - Posted on
11 September 2016

Opportunity has come up - that if successful - would mean being located in Beijing. Have read horror stories about pollution. My dilemma is - live in Beijing or commute from Shanghai or other City that is Western friendly?

Meagan's picture
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Last seen: 5 days 12 hours ago
Joined: 07/07/2016

Living in:
Cape Town, South Africa

From:
Cape Town, South Africa

Hi Stephen,

Pollution is indeed an unfortunate reality that expats moving to Beijing have to face. This can be mitigated to an extent by installing air purifiers in your home and car (if you commute by car). It is generally recommended that face masks be worn when outside walking or cycling, though there is some debate in scientific and medical circles on whether the masks are actually effective in filtering the air.

The longer you live in Beijing, the more pronounced the effect on your health is likely to be. Two years or so is unlikely to have much of an impact in the long term, but staying longer than that may bring a risk of health problems developing.

Shanghai is definitely less polluted than Beijing, so that's a good option - however, if your commute is going to be a long one via public transport and/or walking or cycling, the effect of this should be considered too since you'll be breathing in pollution during this commute twice a day. On the other hand, going in using a car with an air filter installed should be okay.

Hope this helps. Best of luck with your move.

Meagan
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Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Commute?? You do realise it is over 1200km to Beijing from Shanghai.

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Meagan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 5 days 12 hours ago
Joined: 07/07/2016

Living in:
Cape Town, South Africa

From:
Cape Town, South Africa

Oops, you are quite right - I must apologise, I should have checked the distances before agreeing that commuting from Shanghai would be a good idea. As a general idea though, I still think it may be possible to live outside of Beijing and commute there daily, but as I mentioned, the length of the commute will also have to be taken into account.
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Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

Thank you for the comments so far.

Very conscious of pollution issue. Also, now aware of commute from Shanghai.

Key question for me - if successful - would there be a better quality of life in Shangai with a once weekly commute and spend the rest of the week in Beijing in hotels.

Are there areas outside Beijing that are less polluted and offer facilities for expats

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Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I have been living in Beijing for nearly 14 years. Like most Newsworthy stories things are blown out of proportion regarding the pollution.

Yes there are bad days with high pollution but it is not a reason to reject a job opportunity here.

Not everyone has air filters and most people don wear masks.

I have never worn a mask and I don't have a filter at home or in my office.

I am more worried about crossing the road in Beijing than the pollution.

To commute from another city is not an option.

If you want "to feel better" the Shunyi Expat enclave might be better for you than downtown but it does not really affect the air quality

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Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I understand you are discussing about commuting between different cities in China. My question is: are you actually allowed to commute between different cities in China, or are you obliged to take your residence at the same municipality where you have your work permit?

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