Are you happy in China?

Hello everyone!

According to the 2016 UN World Happiness Survey, Denmark, Switzerland and Iceland are the happiest countries on earth.

How about you? Are you happy in China? Do you feel happier today in your host country than before in your home country? What has contributed to the change?

In your opinion, are locals in China happy? How can you tell?

Please share your experience!

China ranks 83rd in that ranking, among 157 countries studied.

China public is happy and proud of their country. Most of us guess they are not happy..But they are trust me !!

I am sure some of the local China Chinese are happy in China and there are those who aren't.  I am a Singaporean who taught in Singapore for 13 years before getting across to teach in the Philippines (7 years).  I further taught in Thailand for a year before getting across to teach in China.  I wasn't so happy in my first year as I was teaching English, however, now I'm very happy teaching Physics down in Qingdao.

There is an enormous amount of anxiety in China today. People rushing here and there with the predominant look of worry on their faces. Nobody smiles at each other, always wary of strangers. If you walk down any street carrying a shopping bag, passerbys never look at you; they look at what you're carrying with the questioning look that says - "what does he have that I don't have?' The Chinese still don't respect the que and shove and push you aside for a seat, anything, to beat out someone else. These are displays of happiness? Living among this unhappiness hardens one's basic sense of humanity and personal happiness and cheerfulness. It's not healthy. I'm not even talking about air quality and basic heath standards that don't improve.

Happy? China?


Most depressing, inhumane, soulless place I have ever lived. Most people are heartless, cold, ungenerous, and downright unpleasant.

Leaving just as fast as I can.

Have I met some nice Chinese people? Absolutely, but they are the overwhelming minority. China may have been a great society, people, and culture one day but that day is long gone, imo.

I hope your mileage varies.

It's probably hard to really judge happiness as an outsider to that society. I heard that everyone has an inherent capability to manifest true happiness no matter what external conditions. It is found by treasuring the person right in front of you, even when their life condition is beaten down by anger, foolishness or greed. Happiness only exists in contrast to fundamental darkness, which is also inherent in everyone. By maintaining our own happiness in the face of devilish functions and obstacles inside ourselves, in  society, and in the environment, we set the example for others. By doing so we reap the three treasures of Buddhism, of the storehouse, the body, and the heart, and contribute to world peace and happiness.  What could be more satisfying?

Come November I will have lived and worked in China for 20 years. Am I "happy" is the question? I am reasonably happy, but the question begs the issue be determined by your location. This is a fallacy (location determines happiness)  and a common and utterly typical/ordinary perception. When in reality, happiness is an inside job.

Sorry to say this. Not happy.Being an indian getting a job is very difficult.having knowledge and just sitting at home.only in few places or cities people are recognized for their knowledge.This is the status.

ChinaBroc :

but the question begs the issue be determined by your location. This is a fallacy (location determines happiness)  and a common and utterly typical/ordinary perception. When in reality, happiness is an inside job.

Happiness is an inside job, agreed. But to say your surroundings (people, lifestyle, attitudes) contribute nothing is a bit much, imo.

Surely, happiness is easier in a seaside community than Aleppo, for instance.

China is a nice country where I am living since more than 15 years.. but sometimes I should like to go back to my country ... that I have not seen since more than 12 years..

I try to see it as a "oneness of the self and its environment". This works both ways, for example under the usual range of conditions a strong self can overcome negatives in its external environment; transmitting courage, wisdom, compassion, and life-force outward in accordance with a mystic law, thus bringing change to the environment. Others allow the external environment to work on them, absorbing its positive and negative factors into their thoughts, words, and behavior.  Its our choice; living life by accident or by brave ascent?

If we find ourselves strongly beaten down by negatives in an environment and cant pull up, maybe its best to get away. When unpacking at the new location, expect to find out what part of that baggage was really the result of negative tendencies or bad habits in oneself.

As for the example of a conflict zone or any really toxic location, perhaps its best left to those like MSF doctors, ones with a strong base who devote themselves to practice for the happiness of others, without begrudging their own lives. Saints and martyrs to Good causes. Ordinary people are justified to flee and seek happiness for themselves. When it is totally irredeemable even the saints will work from afar, incorrigible disbelievers, animals, and angry fools concentrate and destroy the seeds of happiness.

Hi Priscilla,
How is your experience? In your starting post you seemed curious, did you try living or travelling in China yet? Do you have a favorite living place?

Ian McCartney :

Hi Priscilla,
How is your experience? In your starting post you seemed curious, did you try living or travelling in China yet? Do you have a favorite living place?

Hello Ian McCartney

Priscilla is a member of team and has launched this thread to as to gather infos that may be helpful to other expatriates.


Kenjee, Oh I see, thanks for explaining how this thread started.

I don't really understand the rank or score systems for "happiness" in a society or country. My way of seeing the world, as a Buddhist practitioner, makes it difficult for me to respond in ways that might be expected. The rankings and scores are quoted widely by the high scorers including my home country, Canada. Here we even got our car license plates (BC), emblazoned with "The Best Place on Earth". I was a bit embarrassed driving around in the US with this, and thought it was generating reaction to an appearance of arrogance.  One of my "happy" periods was when I lived in a small worker's cabin at Jabulani Village at Jena Gold Mine, in rural Zimbabwe (must be one low score!).

The "happiness" easily found by a privileged expat in difficult surroundings is quite different to what the local population mostly experiences when their life is struggle. On closer examination, much of the happiness that comes from status, disposable income, and other expat privilege and resources turns out to be temporary happiness, a conditions of rapture, and not the true irrevocable happiness that can be carried everywhere - that is what am am now focused on attaining.

I think your opinions are too extreme. I am from China and have lived in US for  8 years and just moved back to China few months ago. I think most of my family  and friends in China are happy.  Of course people everywhere has their pressure in certain way,  and of course China has a lot of problems, but that cannot change the fact that most people are able to get used to the society and make themselves happy in their own way.

I think happiness is personal, mostly depends on your status, income,  experiences and attitudes towards life etc..  It is not about where you live. I think my happiness levels are almost the same in US and in China.

Hi XiamenYu,
I share much of your experience, finding similar or greater satisfaction in my life in Dalian area compared to Vancouver, Canada. Now I live in a local way surrounded by Chinese family, not rich or poor, no expat privileged life, no desire for that anymore. Before as a expat mining professional I was enjoying the high life in China  and becoming more and more unhappy. Then I created my unhappiness for myself. Of course some around me now  suffer in game addiction,  excessive greediness, etc. But I believe the vast majority are honestly striving and good people, proud of achievements large and small, seeking to grow and learn, and always putting family first and actively support their young and old. Vancouver once scored best city to live in, but I think it was based on location and personal affluence among other things, as measured by a western paradigm, I'm sorry to say I didn't recognise so much happiness on the streets and in the workplaces there last few years. Not compared to some parts of China.

New topic