The Police - China Blues - CycleBlaze

October 10, 2020

The Police

I'm currently in the process of having my 2018 Tour translated into Chinese and posted on my WeChat Official Account. It started out as a project to train my assistant in translation but with how the Chinese TikTok viewer numbers are going, may very well turn into my pimping the manuscript out to publishers for dead tree publication.

I mention this because the most recent entry to be made "translation ready" was one where, in having some problems with the police, I said:

...any attempts to tell either of us that I needed to leave would, most assuredly, be met by me complaining to provincial level authorities or higher.
Now, I'll admit, I've never actually complained to provincial level authorities (or higher) about shitty behavior on the part of local police with regards to telling me I can't stay somewhere because the merest fact that I'm threatening that I might do this has generally gotten the local police to back down.

I can now say that this is no longer the case.

The more I thought about the behavior of the police officers, the angrier I got. If the hotel I picked rather at random has had multiple episodes of turning away a foreigner because the police have told her she's not allowed to take foreigners, and she's just a random nothing special hotel, the number of people who have been inconvenienced by this balderdash must be in the hundreds.

And for the officers who were there because she called them for help regarding my unwillingness to leave to tell her that she could be in trouble if didn't leave, that's just not cool.

Or the supervisor that made the call to "let" me stay also explicitly refusing to "allow" me to show him that the foreigner registration system already existed on the hotel's computer because he'd already tripled down on lying to my face about them not having it and it was easier to manually write down my info (and maybe register me, maybe not) than to let me irrevocably prove him wrong.

The letter which Tyra wrote for me in Chinese and submitted to the Prefect's Office for Kaili Prefecture is a work of art.

It not only mentions poor attitude and a lack of professionalism on the part of the officers from the other night, it talks about the waste of police resources (4 officers, 30 minutes) that should be used doing actual police things, and the negative repercussions which the ongoing enforcement of this unwritten policy has surely been giving to the city of Rongjiang on important economic indicators (such as tourism) for at least the past 8 years.

What it doesn't do is complain about how I was treated.
It details how I was treated, but it doesn't complain about it. 

Because my being treated poorly by the police is a trifling matter hardly worth mentioning (so trifling that I actively draw attention to the fact that I'm not mentioning it) when I can mention how shocked I am that they were treating citizens poorly.

If we don't get a response within the week, the next plan of attack is to complain to the Foreign Affairs Office. Again, not at the Rongjiang level of things, but to Kaili. This will be followed by the Public Security Bureau. If necessary, it will continue to the province. 

I am pissed.

I knew that the majority of "No Foreigners Allowed" policies are specific extralegal unwritten policies specifically implemented by the police because the police are afraid that, should anything happen to a foreigner in their jurisdiction, they-the police-will get in trouble with their supervisors; and, the best way to avoid this is to simply prevent foreigners from ever being in their jurisdiction in the first place. I knew this but I really wanted to think that it was just accidental ignorance coming about from not often encountering foreigners and not knowing how to deal with us.
I really wanted to think that some of them actually thought restrictions still existed. 

Instead, despite them rather clearly being educated (albeit unintentionally) in "this is not right" 8 years ago, not only has nothing changed with regards to them enforcing a policy which they clearly know they aren't allowed to be creating, they were also just doing a really shitty job at being police officers. Somehow, even coming from a city as fucked up as Baltimore, I have a fairly high opinion of what the police are supposed to be and, I'm sorry, but "bullies in uniform" simply isn't part of that description.

These guys were being bullies.
And if they are going to bring that much aggression to a business owner asking them for help over what's ultimately a very minor matter, how badly are they going to mishandle something important?

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