Sunday, June 27, 2010

Registering At The Police Station

Foreigners living in Beijing are required by law to register at their local police station within a few hours of arriving. And so, not wanting to be at risk of getting fined, once we had squared things away with our apartment, we jumped into Li Ayi's car (landlords are also subject to fines if they rent to unregistered foreigners) and headed around the block to the neighborhood public security bureau. The office, it turns out, is located on the campus of Nong Ke Yuan, the Academy of Agricultural Sciences, which is adjacent to our apartment building.

As we pulled up, we were greeted with the sight of a man squatting on the ground, sharpening a meat cleaver on a whet stone. Hmm...

Walking past the cleaver and into the building, we were greeted by a woman in uniform sitting behind a desk. It was almost as if she was waiting for us. I guess that's a good thing about 1.3 billion people...There always seems to be a service person waiting to take care of whatever needs you might have.

As we chatted about peonies and other topics, the officer checked out our passports and filled out some paperwork. We are now fully documented and free to roam about the city!

One last note, just to give you an idea of how seriously the registration process is taken. On the day we moved in, as we stumbled into the lobby with all of our bags, the doorman, seeing a family of four waiguoren who were obviously about to become tenants, immediately escorted me over to a sign near the elevator and pointed to it. Assuming we couldn't speak Chinese, it was his way of communicating to us the non-negotiability of public security registration. Now there's one Chinese law that doesn't suffer from lax enforcement!

~Steve

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