I'm in northern China. I had bought a box of 20 Xmas cards to send to various friends and relatives back home in the UK. Earlier today at a branch of the Chinese Post Office, I was told that the post office no longer processes enveloped material unless it is sent by EMS!
Previously, an ordinary letter sent non-EMS to the UK from my location cost around 7 Yuan. But by EMS the same wieght of letter will cost 220 Yuan from here. Of course, in the light of this great hike in postage costs I have decided to stop posting letters and cards, such as birthday cards to my friends and relatives in the West from China. For F_ _ _'s Sake!
I think it's likely that the Chinese Post Office has also stopped processing mail from abroad to China if it is not sent by EMS. Last time I received an EMS delivery from the UK, the franked postage for it was around 2 Quid!
220 Yuan in China can buy a lot. For example, I can buy around 70 large 600 ml bottles of average quality Chinese beer with 220 Yuan. But 2 Quid in the UK is nothing when you go to the shops.
Happy Xmas to y'all in advance from a thrifty ex-foreign teacher!