Xinjiang, China...getting around here
Fred Richardson writes from the "San Juan Islands, half-way between Victoria and Vancouver, on the wrong side of the line." Fred has some experience of his own to add to Anthony Germain's March 10 report of stepped-up policing of journalists in China.
Just listened for the second time to your discussion with Anthony Germain on the new (or current) restrictions and controls on journalists. I travel in China on a tourist visa, much more flexible than a 'journalist' visa (I wouldn't want to travel with one of those in any country!). For years, I've used a name card to tell people something about myself, and to give my email address. The card has Chinese on one side, English on the other and says in four lines: All Electric; Road Construction and Excavation; Precision Explosives Work; and last, Author.
The reaction to this card is very different in the US and in China, something I have found amusing for years. In the US, officials get tense and worried when they see the "Explosives" line; no reaction to the rest... I don't show it or give it to anyone in American airports (not in this land of fear!).
In China, few pay any attention to the "Explosives" line (occasionally, someone might point at the word and ask, "Ba-boom?" and when I nod, they raise an eyebrow and smile). Officials, especially the police, take no notice of that word. But they become formal and serious when they see the word, "Author": I'm asked politely, but without a trace of a smile, "Journalist?"
In Xinjiang last summer, I had many encounters of that sort. I was there just one year after the troubles and fighting between Han and Uyghur triggered by the attacks on Uyghur workers in the factory in Shaoguan, Guangdong, and it was still tense.
Usually I was being hustled out of a zhaodaisuo (an inexpensive hotel: a hostel or guest house) that had no license to allow foreigners to stay. (I'm cheap; I stay in zhaodaisuo all the time. They are simple, but usually clean and safe with everything I want.)
I would whip out a copy of my book, "Getting Around in China", show the police the chapter with information about finding a bed in places like that, point out that my book was published in Beijing, approved by the GAPP (Government Administration of Press and Publications), and insist that my book represented central policy. Huh! The police would respond strongly (still polite), "Not in Xinjiang!", as they hustled me off to a more expensive hotel.
In the US of A, nobody even notices the word, "Author"
Thanks for your excellent program!
More about Fred Richardson's book
Getting Around In China
Categories: Your Dispatches
|Radio One||Thursday 1 pm, 1:30 pm NT Sunday 7 pm, 8 pm AT and 8:30 pm NT|
|Sirius 137||Friday at Midnight & 9 am, Sunday at 10 pm|
- Mersane Warriain, Australian woman, charged with murdering 8 children video
- An Australian woman was charged with murder on Sunday in the deaths of seven of her children and her niece, whose bodies were found inside her home, police said.
- Cuba's closer ties with U.S. won't change socialist policies, Castro says video
- Cuban President Raul Castro has hailed a recent U.S. move to normalize bilateral relations, but stressed that Havana will not give up socialism.
- 2 New York City police officers 'assassinated,' gunman kills self
- A gunman who announced online that he was planning to shoot two "pigs" in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner ambushed two officers in a patrol car and shot them to death in broad daylight Saturday before running to a subway station and killing himself, authorities say.
- Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia
- A spokesman for Muhammad Ali says the former heavyweight boxing champion has been hospitalized with a mild case of pneumonia.
- Mall of America protest over police brutality leads to 25 arrests
- A mass of demonstrators chanting "Black lives matter" converged in the Mall of America rotunda Saturday as part of a protest against police brutality that caused at least part of the mall to shut down on one of the busiest days for holiday shopping.