Is stealing from the police a crime in China?

Trip Start Jan 30, 2007
Trip End Dec 31, 2011

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Flag of China  , Yunnan,
Saturday, June 21, 2008

The other day was a good day. Not just because I stole from the police. Or because I drank the most delicious mango juice.

After months of worrying, weeks of waiting, and half a dozen visits to the local Entry/Exit Bureau of the police, I finally got a visa extension. It required one photo, $22US, and a friend to guarantee I won't do anything bad (or their business gets closed and I get deported).

So on that day - the day my old visa ran out - I was excited and quite relieved. Once I got the confirmation that they would issue me with a new visa, I arrived at the police station and there was something on my mind. I was worried. Real worried that my bike would be stolen from outside the station.

So every so often, I would have to look out of the small office onto the pavement to check if my unlocked bike was still there. Luckily the mountain bike remained outside, untouched.

And it wasn't til afterwards, once I'd signed forms, posed for a photo, promised to be good, etc, that I realized I had inadvertently 'taken' a ballpoint pen from the police station.

But what was I to do? They've given me the pen to sign a form. There were others arriving to queue and wait and sit around on the comfy sofa. And I was on my way home, passport in my pocket, the inkjet ink still drying on my visa, and the words of the official still ringing in my head: if you want to stay longer, you need to find someone in government to help you, otherwise set up a company. Setting up a company is expensive and takes a long time. Maybe the best thing for you is to find a local girl to marry.

Fortuitously, my friend is organizing this weekend a 'lovers' day' in the local style, which provides an opportunity for men and women to meet over singing, eating, dancing and witnessing a wedding, presided over my a shaman.

But, despite the advice of the policeman, even if you marry a local, it doesn't mean you get residence for life or any such privilege.

See next entry on the pros and cons of marrying a Chinese . . .
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