i think i got caught in a drag net this morning. while walking to work a police officer stopped me and asked me if i had been to the police station to register. i told him no and he told me that i should have registered with the police when i first got here (within 24 hours of arriving.) so began my first experiences with the police in china and a day of fun...
the officer took me to a small room tucked away in our apartment complex where there were about four other westerners and about four or five police officers. luckily all the officers seemed to speak a decent ammount english.
i was informed that i had broken the law and was being given a warning. the canadian next to was busy writing and signing a statment which they later had me copy and sign. the statment basically said my name, when i moved into my current housing, the fact that i had broken the law because i didn't know about it, and that i was accepting the warning they were giving me. the officer also had to fill out about 10 pages of paperwork, all of which i had to sign and date (including the time of day.) i was then given one piece of paper and told that i _still_ needed to register with the police office... all this was just for the warning. they also told me that i could be fined for every day for which i was here and i wasn't registered.
i was never warned about this requirement by anyone at work. my co-workers from the us (who had been here for a couple months already) had also never registered. i spoke to michael (a canadian co-worker who has been here for quite a few years) and he told me that hr normally fucks this stuff up. he has had the police stop by his place a few times and he told me i should get registered asap. he also told me the fine is about 500 yen (about 60USD) a day. i would love to file an expense report for that...
the officers that detained me in the morning told me that all i would need to take to the police station was my passport and the warning they gave me. of course michael told me different. he recommended that we bring the lease paperwork for our appartments. it turns out that what the police are really interested in is figuring out who the landlord is and making sure they are paying a tax for us living in the appt. it seems that most landlords avoid paying this tax till they are taken to the police station.
of course it gets more complicated. the admin who arranged the appartments is on vacation this week. so i arranged with our other admin maggie to go down to the police station with me. andrew and anup also wanted to get this issue resolved so they wouldn't have any future problems. so at 3:30 we all headed over to visit the cops.
it was a waste of time. there was a woman behind the counter at the police station who really wasn't interested in doing anything except telling us to go away. she told us we need to come back with our landlord within the next 10 days. she said it was extra important for me since they now had my name and address on file. fun, fun. she didn't ask for any info on anup or andrew. (a good thing.) we also tried to get her to write down that we had been there just to have some proof that we were following up on this isse and she refused... she even refused to tell us her name.
i'm glad i won't be around during the weekend, but next week will be fun... i've heard michaels tales of the police knocking on his door.
when i woke this morning i was in a really grumpy mood and pretty upset with life. but with all the excitement that started the minute i walked out the door i quickly forgot about being grumpy and started thinking about what i had to do to stay out of jail. that's some great therapy and it hasn't even cost me anything (aside from time) yet...
Now you have a taste, a harmless at least, ho was life in a communist country. You might understand little bit more, why your fogies left and started life anew in good old USA.