Why does the western Chinese region of Xinjiang have “so many terrorists”? And do people from central Henan Province really steal manhole covers? These are just some of the questions that Chinese people ask about themselves and each other. Or at least, those are the questions they ask Baidu, the country’s top search engine.
The men’s room in the passenger station in Qujing, Yunnan Province will be familiar to anyone who has answered the call of nature in China’s innumerable other provincial bus stations. Dim fluorescent lights give a clinical blue pallor to the bleary-eyed, fidgety travelers waiting their turn for the urinals and stalls lining either wall.