Ask Beijing Today is our weekly attempt to make life in China less confusing. Whether it’s tracking down the papers to apply for a Chinese green card, dealing with KTV-crazy neighbors or finding the best buy on saffron, we are happy to help.

Send your questions to or post with the hash tag #askbjtoday on Twitter or #askbt# on Sina Weibo.

This Week…

Q. Do you know if the lavender at Blues Dreamland will be in bloom already if I visit the place around 2-5 June, 2016?

A. It seems like you’ve got Beijing down! Blues Dreamland is a vintage lavender theme park. Summer is of course the best time to visit because it’s the blooming season for lavender, but we’re concerned that June might be a bit too early. Why not wait until July or August when the flowers will certainly be in full bloom? Many locals like to go there during the Qixi festival – the Chinese Valentine’s Day, which in most cases falls in August.

Q. My husband is considering an expat position in Beijing (his company is proposing to relocate him for four years). As his wife, would I get a work permit? Visa is a certainty, but would I be allowed to work there?

A. As a spouse you will only receive a residence permit. If you find work in Beijing, your employer will/should organize your work permit.

Q. I remember some time ago some expats mentioned they wanted to engage in business whereby they would order things off Taobao and resell them to earn money. Is this still going on?

A. We don’t know much about that, but you can read the terms and conditions on the English version of Taobao.

Q. On the second row of the very last page of the Foreign Expert Certificate, it’s written “The Certificate to be used as identification for foreign experts working in China, valid for the period stated.” Can I use it to buy railway tickets or check in at a hotel?

A. Have a passport copy ready, and together with the FEC, it should work for identification. Banks usually require both documents, but you should be able to buy train tickets using a copy of your passport. For hotels, you’d better have both documents at hand.

Q. Can I buy Ventolin over the counter here?

A. Yes, you can. Most pharmacies sell it. To avoid them pushing traditional Chinese medicine on you, I suggest you take your old container with you to show them what you want.

Yang Xin

About Yang Xin

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Yang Xin is a '90s girl who is obsessed with music, tennis, reading and pretty boys. She hopes her life and career will take her around the world.

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