AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

China: The Inconsistent Police State


Posted on Nov 16, 2013

We always knew that China was strict with seeing ID and monitoring people, but the extent to which it does it has been a surprise. An even bigger surprise is which laws are strongly enforced and which seem to be openly flaunted. To enter the Forbidden City in Beijing Annemarie’s bag was searched (as was everyone else’s), but mainly for paperwork, anything that could spread ‘propaganda’. To enter Tiananmen square everyone had to undergo the same bag search, plus a full pat down, ID check and even bottles of Coke were opened and the contents sniffed. Except of course if you were a foreigner and they let you through with no checks whatsoever. To change my foreign currency I had to show ID. To buy train tickets I again had to show ID. Then to enter the railway station I had to show the ticket plus my ID. On the train security carried out random checks on passengers, he had an electronic device which contained images of the passengers’ ID cards (your ID card/passport are photographed when you buy the tickets) and checked to see if they match up with the passenger allocated to the seat/bed. I guess this is to control people’s movements and to make sure that certain people can’t enter sensitive areas or travel freely. I can’t access Facebook, which is not a huge loss but still shows the fear of people writing and communicating what they want. In Beijing the army is on the streets. In front of many buildings, at underground exits, around main tourist sites and even guarding a park. The army shouldn’t be on the streets in any free country, they are for fighting external enemies not internal enemies of the state. Also the police presence around sensitive sites was enormous. At every major road junction, underground station and basically anywhere that you would expect a crowd of people you will see a police presence (usually indicated by some tacky red and blue flashing lights, like in the USA but plastic looking cheap rubbish). On the other hand a number of ‘crimes’ seem to go unpunished. Ticket touts are everywhere and they have tickets for everything at a bargain price. From cheap underground tickets to half price tours. They stand in front of the entrance to the underground and sell tickets for half the official price. The tickets surely won’t work yet the police do nothing. In the hostels they have examples of illegal tour companies and their cards, these people are everywhere in Beijing selling tours (most are probably legal) and yet the police do nothing. The traffic laws are either...

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