The Police - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

October 24, 2019

The Police

118 to 4

It is illegal to own guns in China. It is illegal to hunt wild animals in China. It is illegal to kill wild birds in China. It is illegal to intentionally damage telecommunications wire. And yet, they still have to specifically make a point of prohibiting taking pot shots at birds perched on telecommunications wires!
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As it dragged on, and on, and on, I actually was starting to feel kind of bad about the whole situation because, even if I got my way in the end (after an hour and thirteen minutes), I probably could have been nicer to her.

I don't even know how many different police officials she contacted throughout the whole ordeal. All of them, without fail, initially agreed with her assessment "the foreigner can't stay here". All but one of them had spines made out of tissue paper that proceeded to immediately crumple the second I said "of course I can". The one whose spine wasn't made of tissue paper was made of wet newspaper.

Photographing the information I've filled out to ask someone whether or not it's correct
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Wet Newspaper was sure it was the Law. He actually resisted my mind control rays for like four rounds of telling me "no". At this point, things had been going on for rather longer than I like, and I was ready to start laying down ultimatums. "Either she lets me press the save button on the registration form, or you send police officers here so I can show them how to press the save button."

And he actually did, he sent two beat cops to the hotel to support the poor front desk girl in getting me out of her completely unsuitable hotel and over to an acceptable hotel for foreigners.

According to the accompanying work signs at this closed construction site for a half finished bridge, this bridge across the Min was supposed to open on December 26, 2018
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Only the beat cops weren't made of such stern stuff. They did (as Chinese police do) the bit where they listen to both sides and then they came up (as Chinese police do) with a fair and equitable solution: foreigner says she knows how to register, computer has an option for registering foreigners, let foreigner click the save button.

Front Desk Girl didn't like that solution. Not one bit. Because what if the registration was wrong! What if there were mistakes? What if the information that had already been cross checked against the passport, cross checked against the photos of the passport, cross checked against the scans made of the passport when it was taken somewhere, what if it changed? What if it had a mistake? What then? It was being entered into the computer system by hand and not all proper like the way information is supposed to be entered (by scanning a card over a card reader). THERE COULD BE MISTAKES!!

She was getting frantic at this point.

A collapsed railway bridge as I get close to Nanping
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And the Beat Cops, who clearly weren't ready to deal with a Chinese woman about to go into full meltdown, said "we gave you a solution, byeeee!"

"But the foreigner is still sitting behind my front desk!"
"And I'm not leaving until you let me press the save button and go up to my room. I can stay here all night if you want."
"You need to make her leave."
"I'm not leaving."
"She's not leaving."
"All you have to do is let me press the save button."
"But you might have typed something wrong."
"I'm not leaving until I have a room."
"Listen to her! She won't leave. Can't you make her leave?"
"Not really...."
"Can you arrest her?"

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The Beat Cops looked at each other, looked at me, looked at Front Desk Girl, looked back at each other, and proceeded to go off at her in local dialect that was just close enough to Modern Standard Mandarin for me to understand "Are you fucking mental? You're afraid of the paperwork possibly related to her typing something wrong and now you want us to arrest a foreigner because she's trying to check into a hotel? Do you have any goddamn idea how much paperwork we would have to do if we arrested a foreigner? For something this stupid? No. No we can't make her leave. Not going to try either. You want her to leave maybe you should let her finish her registration. We're leaving now. GOOD BYE!"

Would you believe it still took another 20 minutes before I got my room key?

This is the best picture I have of Speed Racer and the electric attachment to his manual wheelchair. I had to go 25kph just to keep up with him and he was much more maneuverable and used to local traffic than I am.
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Fit SteveHi Marian, great journal and riveting reading! As someone as familiar with the nuances of Chinese culture as you are, what do you figure are the actual reasons why they don't want foreigners in so many of the hotels? All I can ascertain so far from the journals is they claim not to have a "license for foreigners" or the system doesn't allow them to register foreigners, but we know it's not true based on the laws and how you can successfully register. So what's the deal? I've never really understood this one
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4 years ago
Marian RosenbergTo Fit SteveI'm tempted to make an entire entry just on this topic.

In fact, I think I will.
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4 years ago
Fit SteveThanks a lot, I really appreciate it. That entry was very insightful and explains a lot. It seems to agree with a lot of other aspects of living in China how things are made unnecessarily complicated
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4 years ago
Marian RosenbergTo Fit SteveI feel like a lot of "unnecessarily complicated" stuff in China, perhaps even most of it, is less a case of it actually being complicated and more a case of incompetent people doing a bad job at trying to make their error into your problem.
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4 years ago