The Police - China Blues - CycleBlaze

October 17, 2020

The Police

All told, if you include every single incident where the police have been involved, to any extent, in my getting lodging for the night (including ones with friendly police, with apathetic police, and with police who were confused as to why the hotel was calling them), it's probably close to 200 times. It's just that I choose to only keep score of the antagonistic ones. 

It's possible to get more than 1 point per incident. The rules are that the person telling me "no" must do so to my face (rather than over the phone) and that he or she must be in a different position than the previous person. So three regular officers gets me 1 point but the captain who shows up later to also fail to convince me that I need to go somewhere else is another point.

I have to check but I believe my current score is 131 to 6.

It is unclear whether or not my assistant's third person letter on my behalf made it through to the right people or not as the website where it was submitted as a complaint letter had some issues. However, further actions on her part ended up with her talking on the phone with a Captain Somebody (she got his name, I just don't see any reason to be using it here) whose exact office she didn't quite get because he slurred his Mandarin and she didn't realize it was important until too late in the call to ask him to repeat himself.

Captain Somebody is either stupid/lazy or thinks we are. Since I didn't deal with him myself, it's really quite hard to say which.

The end result of his bloviating at her, refusing to answer direct questions, and lying about things that anyone with an internet connection can check, is not only that Captain Somebody has not gotten us off his back, Captain Somebody has also gotten my assistant angry at the Rongjiang Police as well.

Most unfortunately for Captain Somebody and his colleagues, there are many many more departments left that we can complain to before we even start moving up the chain of command.

The next letter not only brings up all the points from the previous letter, it also has screenshots from TripAdvisor, WikiTravel, and the CTrip English language app (regarding the "only hotel in Rongjiang allowed to take foreigners per government policy"), and goes into the economic effects that foreign backpackers have on developmentally backwards areas as a motive force for positive change and how the actions of the police, whether through laziness, incompetence or corruption, are actively disrupting market order.
It's brutal.

Like I said before, I'm pissed off. Because I've had interactions with a lot of local Chinese police and few of them have been anywhere near as downright unpleasant as those guys.

Tonight's police, for example.

They showed up at the room after I was in it because nobody ever thinks to hide where they put the keys behind the Front Desk. Who could imagine the idea of an unwanted customer? Who could imagine this hypothetical unwanted customer forcing you to take her money?

I'd say about 99% of the questions were the kind of Covid related stuff that I've not encountered since before Yangshuo. However, there's currently not one but two active second wave outbreaks. Guangzhou, which did not achieve community spread, is linked to poor practices at a quarantine facility while Qingdao, which did, is linked to poor practices at a hospital with Covid patients. There's also the mystery of the Taiwanese patient who has been living on the Mainland this whole time and who tested positive when he arrived in Taiwan from Jiangsu.

They tried, quite gently, to convince me that I would be much more comfortable at the "Foreigner Hotel" and ought to go there. However, they used the phrase 外国人指定的宾馆 rather than 涉外宾馆 and then clarified that this was the hotel which "knew how to register foreigners on the computer" as opposed to being the hotel which was "allowed to have foreigners". Big big difference between those two statements.

Once, "I'm already registered" came into play, they were like "You know how to do that?! Awesome!"

The only person who was hostile or unpleasant at any time during this whole scenario from initially showing up at the hotel through to police at the room to checking the computer information against my passport was me. And I wasn't even all that bad. At my very worst (although initially answering the door of my room with wet hair and a towel wrapped around my naked body was definitely a somewhat rude kind of power play) my behavior rarely went beyond annoying people until they had no choice but to do what I wanted them to.

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