Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Residence Registration 

Went to the police station today to register my new address. You have to do that if you are a foreigner living in China. If you don't, you risk being arrested. It's simple and free--just one of those things that you do need to get done. I went there yesterday with my passport, but the cop on duty told me I had to bring my landlady with some specific information. I knew he was going to tell me that, and as soon as he did, I gave him my landlady's phone number, and he called her and told her what was needed. If I had brought her along, she would have had to take two trips. She's never done anything like this before. Never rented to a foreigner.

But there was another reason why I went alone the first time. During the weeks that I was looking for an apartment here at Fragrant Hills, I had several occasions where hesitation was expressed about renting to a foreigner. One guy said that the police had told him, "If you rent to a foreigner and something happens, you are on your own." In today's China, foreigners are allowed to rent local apartments. They are not restricted to special areas like they were in the past. But sometimes local police are not excited about having strangers in town. So I felt it was important to show them that I was not a threat. Today, when I brought my landlady, I heard the officer talking to her. "He speaks Chinese!" How threatening can someone be if he speaks the language? My Mandarin leaves much to be desired. But even the little bit I can handle makes a big difference in village China.

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