Police Station


All visitors within 24 hours of arrival must appear at the local police station. The Chinese government likes to know where all people are at all times. I have to do it once a month until I have my permanent residence permit. Anders didn’t have to do it because they take care of it at hotels as a service for their guests. I did not go alone, we had a driver, a representative of the apartment complex, and a representative from our relocation company.

If I hadn’t been taken there or if I had an emergency I never would have found the place. The entrance was around back of what looked like a store front, up the back steps, and into an open office. The first thing that hit me was the smell of onions cooking . The second thing I noticed was the complete lack of anything police-like. Yep, not a one in sight  just 4 office workers. I was very graciously ushered to a child’s small  plastic red stool. Nothing fancy here. I sat there for about an hour while it took 4 people to print out my permit and Anders’. One thing you have to get over and get over it real fast is that everyone and his brother is interested in your passport. Within the first 3 days of arrival I’m fairly certain that about 100 people have seen, touched, and/or copied it. After much talking back and forth (I said not a word, just smiled a lot) and one signature from me we were free to leave. Oh yes, between 5 of us we managed to leave without Anders passport! We got halfway down the back steps when one of the women came running after us to return it. I just figured that someone wanted to take it home to show their family. They could then pass it around the neighborhood where it could be seen, touched, and/or copied by one and all. I’m sure it’s legal.

FInal thoughts on the Police Station:

About halfway through someone started cooking lunch in the back room, it was time to do something with those onions I smelled when I first walked in. I smelled the wok heating up and the heard the food going into the nice hot oil. It smelled heavenly but alas they did not offer me any.

A policeman did come into the office after about 40 minutes where he promptly sat down and read the paper. No APBs, no donuts, no guns, just some staring at me occasionally.

They must only manufacture fine point writing instruments in this country.  The girl who filled out my paperwork did a lot of writing in Chinese characters. It’s beautiful but man is it intricate. One must only use fine point pens or  it  looks like a Rorschach inkblot.

So when you come for a visit you too will be ushered to the pseudo police station, sit on a kiddie stool, drool over the fantastic lunch they’re going to enjoy without you, get stared at by a police officer, and walk out knowing that the Chinese government has tabs on you.

4:45 PM – 90 degrees (still haven’t attempted to find the degree symbol and quite frankly I don’t think I will)


About vikarenously

I am an ex-pat living in Guangzhou, China. I am married to the man of my dreams who has indulged my love of travel by working hard enough to snag two international assignments. Oh yes, I also have two amazing children who accompanied us on our first one to Switzerland and are now mature and responsible adults which makes it so easy for us to experience this adventure as empty-nesters. Experience it vicariously with Karen.

5 responses »

  1. It is so funny to read your experiences, I remember what is was like when I first arrived. Glad to see someone else has the 4 make a quorem “meeting”, I have never seen anything done here without 4 people-and they say that is an unlucky number.

    When I first came I had a 30 day Visa good for one year, every month I had to fly to Shenzhen and walk to Hong Kong. When my husband’s company fixed it there was a mishap and I had to go to the Overstay Room at the Immagration Station, now that was some serious police activity. They handed me a paper explaining how much jail time I faced for this little bungle and left me to sit there for an hour. Ended okay and that was the one and only time I had a company car and driver.

    • First of all, God love Nola Rice. I have no idea who you are, but you sound like a very “good sport”! It would have taken me about 30 seconds of sitting reading a paper about doing jail time in a foreign country, that I would have apologized profusely, and asked if I might borrow a cell phone to make a plane reservation on the first flight out of there. And on my way to the airport I would have called my husband to say goodbye and I’ll see him at Christmas!
      Ok so I know exactly why you have to go to the police and report in, and sit there until your sense of smell is craving fried rice. It is like going to the movies in the US. While sitting watching previews, the theater pumps in the smell of popcorn so you feel the need to go get get yourself some so you can enjoy the movie properly. It is the same thing in China. You go
      and check in asap and they pump in the smell of delicious Chinese food so when you leave you feel the need to go to the closest restaurant and order some pork fried rice! It’s a marketing tool, nothing else. Very smart on their parts.

    • t sounds like they put you in timeout to, “Think about what you did.” I would have crumbled, Nola. I have heard a few nightmare stories about airports and immigration. Doesn’t it figure that the one time someone else handles matters that you get tossed in the clink?

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