A Heavy Price?

Yes, I DO live in China.

Sometimes, running freely hither and yonder, prancing around Disneyland, eating at wonderfully cozy vegan cafes, drinking tea in little tea shops, it’s easy to forget we are living within a non-democratic society (choosing my language carefully there).

Then, as I’m heading out of my apartment on this beautiful day here, stepping past the elevator to unlock Serena’s bike, a lady in an official uniform, ID hanging from a lanyard around her neck, and papers in hand points to an address on a paper and asks if I live there. A passport number is written next to the address.

I know from prior experience how this works, so do not run away as I would if this were happening in the BX or Kentucky.

Unlike in 2017 when two women showed up at my apartment door one evening asking to take a photo of my passport page and I got freaked out and contacted our school’s visa/foreigner assistance point person, this time I calmly told the lady this was not my passport number, probably one for the for former resident.

I then freely showed her a photo of my passport. She was very friendly and jotted down my passport number, then asked for my phone number. She concluded by asking how many folks live in the apartment. I told her my girlfriend is Chinese and was outside waiting for me.

Bringing the bike outside, I saw Serena showing the lady her national ID card. She took down more notes. The lady thanked us several times and was off.

I told Serena if this happened in USA, we would not tell the person our information.
She responded, “it’s just the government.”

No worries.

Is this such a heavy price to pay to live here??

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