Donnerstag, 8. Dezember 2011

8 Beijing. The Beijing police


My first impression of the Beijing police I got from the border police at the aerport´s passport control. As I wrote in another post, I could use the check point "For Chinese only." That in a communist country. Not possible, did not fit into my world view. The official was quick, like so many in China, correct and not unfriendly. This positive impression gave me some courage for the coming period. (Note: Some photos were taken with a contaminated photo lens)

Since my visa was valid for only two months, I had to go to a public agency to make extend it for one further month. The agency is not so far from the center in a large building located with just such a lobby. After going up some stairs, I saw the waiting area where one could sit down comfortably. Sitting behind the information point a young policewoman provided in fluent English informations on the conditions. First filling out a form with a linked passport photo, second the registration certificate from the local police.
But now came the crucial point: presentation of a bank certificate of any Chinese bank account.
I had to prove, that I had for each day of the visa extension at least 100 $ on my bank account. 
So, in my case about 3.000 $. (2.200 €)
The evidence of a German bank account is not accepted.
The state of China doesn´t want foreigners coming without sufficient funds into the country in order to avoid financial support.
So I looked for a Chinese bank, which exist in abundance and opened on Sunday afternoon my chinese bank account. By the way, the banks are open every day as well as supermarkets. One is also working on building sites. Office firms are closed Saturday and Sunday.
After waiting a few minutes my number was called up and a friendly, young bank clerk ask me for my wish. The passport must be shown him, because without it nothing would happen. After a little procedure I should choose immediately a six-digit code number for my bank card. I gave this one in a small terminal and after a few minutes later I held very proud my blue Chinese bank card in my hands. The first step was done quickly.
Now it was only possible in the following days to get the equivalent in yuan per 500 €/day from the cash machine with my German bank card, choosing the German language. After that I went with the wad of cash immediately to the bank for the deposit. After a few days the sum demanded was reached and the certificate in my hands.
All bank employees I met made a good impression to me. As specially selected.
Back to the agency, the young officerwoman in an elegant dark blue uniform was not only pleasant to look at her, but also able to speak good English, checking my documents.
After waiting 4 days I got my extended visa. As I recall the price of the extension was 17 €.
Shortly before my departure I changed my Yuans in € cash and took it to Germany. Meanwhile, I had better to leave it there on my account.
When I returned from the first passage to the visa agency in my apartment, I realized that something was wrong. But what? I looked around, but everything was fine. I refelected a moment. Then a glance to the place where ever day my new camera Panasonic TZ 10  and Nokia phone were. I could see there was nothing. The place was empty.
I got a real fright and ran into my bedroom to the wardrobe, where my identity card, 180 € and about 90 yuan were stored. The Chinese money disappeared, the euro still there (not a good sign for the future) as my identity card. (A Chinese can not exchange euros to the bank in the local currency.)
So, a thief had entered the apartment. But how? Not possible. The door was locked. However, the lock was not changed when moving in.
There was only one possibility. By sliding through the open left kitchen window. Going over 25 m depth (12th floor). Diagonally crossing, accessible only with a very large step from the floor hallway window. Climbing over there, I immediately rejected this idea. No, not even a Chinese thief could not be so life tired, I was told by my German, naive mind.
Again I watched from the hallway window this "route". No, just not possible.
A day later I was with a Chinese at the nearest local police station. The policeman was friendly and ask all the necessary data. Then waiting for three police men for securing evidences. They came back after an hour from a mission. Young men in dark blue, thin sweaters bearing the words "Police" in small letters.
I could come along with her car to my apartment. As we entered it, one of the policemen asked if the kitchen window had been open. "Yes," I said. "There he is through," was his quick reply. My sad eyes were very large. "There he is through," he had just said. Since I was first realizing that I was living in another world. Not because of the theft, there are also enough here, but that one man had such a courage to risk his life for a little money.
And it went through my mind now that there are many construction workers in Beijing who do their work every day at high altitudes. As a foreigner, you are being observed. I had paid my dues, learned again a lot in my life. Unfortunately, it remained a feeling of insecurity.
In fact, the police dusted the suspicious areas for taking fingerprints. As the result the fingerprints of the thief were both on the floor window, the kitchen window frame, where he had held himself over the abyss and on my identity card. My fingerprints were taken too for reference. Nevertheless, we took everything not quite as tragic, although it was annoying.
This was my exciting encounter with the Beijing police, who  had gladly helped me. I thanked them for their efforts. One gave me his hand before leaving.
My experience is again and again after several years living in various countries around the world: be friendly and correct in your behavior - and the other side will have the same behavior to you. No matter where you are.
The police said that several thefts were happening in the neighborhood. As they left, it was almost midnight.

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