The Chinese vampire is called the Jiang Shi, which, interestingly enough actually translates to something along the lines of the word zombie. The “zombie” terminology for the Chinese vampire is actually a fitting description. Unlike our current movie-focused view of the vampire, Chinese vampires are depicted as corpses that go after humans to sustain themselves. At first, these types of vampires look relatively human, but over time as the corpse it is inhabiting starts to age, it also starts to rot and decay, and mold starts to grow on its body causing the Chinese vampire to eventually become a walking rotting green-tinged semblance of a human – a zombie!
The Chinese vampire presents an interesting question and debate – do vampires and zombies have more in common than humans give them credit for? If you ask any person in Western culture, they will quickly and unequivocally tell you that vampires and zombies are worlds apart. Vampires are intelligent – zombies are not. Vampires do not live in rotting flesh – zombies do. Vampires are fast, zombies are slow. Vampires suck the blood of humans. Zombies do not. The Chinese vampire depiction of the blood-suckers challenges all these assumptions and beliefs in one quick blow, and brings new imagery to the mind. Because, if you really think about it, it becomes quite apparent quite quickly that both of these undead creatures are very very similar, no matter how much the vampires want to deny the semblance.
Will the vampire-zombie similarities catch on in a more widespread fashion? Doubtful, as it is interesting however to note that as the current version of the vampire becomes more and more popular, this traditional version of the Jiang Shi has started to change to resemble our cool, popular, very human-looking vampire of today.