The visa situation in China is getting more and more frustrating for foreigners trying to do anything here. How to extend or wiggle one's way into a longer stay burrows itself into every conversation at least once or twice these days.
If you have a Z-Working visa and want to extend it, you must leave the country first. So for those with jobs here, teaching most likely, they opt to find jobs elsewhere instead of paying for a return flight just so they can stay in a country that doesn't seem to want them.
F-Business visas were once the bribe visa for every expat. An F visa can be for 6 months or a year, can be multiple entry and was once upon a time easy to extend. No longer. F visas are now gold. If you have one (hehehe) you be chillin. If you don't, then you are trying to get one. By flying to Hong Kong or whatever.
L-Tourism visas are still not that bad, but now you have to show 3000USD in cash to the authorities (100USD per day for a 30 day extension HAHAHAHAHAHA!) or provide a bank statement to the same tune.
So not only is the visa situation getting a little stricter, which is a pain in the ass for all those who have been lounging here in China, but it is STILL as arbitrary and capricious as ever. This is actually what is most frustrating.
In Chengdu, they will throw the book at you. In Leshan, they stamp yer visa in 20 minutes. Or vice versa. No PSB official has any clue what will happen in the next few weeks, as all depends on decrees from on high, so all rules are subject to change without notice.
So what this means is that China, in the name of security, is tossing out all crackers or at least restricting access. Now this in and of itself is no big deal, it is what should be going on: doing things by the rules. But these rules are all bullshit because they only apply here and there and between the hours of X and X and (hello) its the Olympics. Last I heard they were supposed to be Games for the world to get down with each other.
And another thing:
China "demanded" that all foreign TV networks have a 10 second delay on their coverage of the Games, to minimize the effect of any ... unwanted visitors. From what I have heard the networks said "eat poo and expire."
And another thing:
This whole Olympics thing is all about Chinese athletes winning enough gold medals to beat the USA so all Chinese on the Mainland can gain face. No matter what the cost. So athletes are imprisoned in large complexes and fed lord knows what so they can fulfill an adolescent, insecure, anxiety driven need to win ... medals ... so they can tell everybody:
"Look! We are the ones with the most medals! That means we're the Big Man in Charge now! It confirms everything the Grand CCP has been telling us for all these years!"
All this Olympics stuff has nothing to do with the international community per se. Its about China telling China that China is the Bomb and having foreigners hold a mike to the conversation and tell other foreigners what they heard.
And believe me. If China does not win all the medals or anything happens to "make poor China lose face" then all hell will break loose.
********************************* oh yeah? ***********************************
I am an American citizen, so I have enjoyed being a member of the gold-medal havin-est nation in the world. So:
If I were Chinese and I have
-- helped pull myself and 300 million of my brothers and sisters out of poverty in less than 20 years
-- exploded onto virtually every scene in the world, from oil exploration to space flight to pianists to college house parties
-- enjoyed 20 years of political stability (no mean feat for a nation of this size and scope)
-- given 1.3 billion people a TV, shoes, electricity, education and so on, all the basics
AND STILL have to deal with all sorts of hypocritical white people telling me what to do, how to do it, watching my every move, non-stop shit-talkin about everything I do, stealin my damn women(!) and other annoying things, well
I would hold a party for me and mine too, and to hell with whitey and what he thinks.
China is probably thinking to itself right now: Fuck Whitey, Lets Party!
And who can blame em ...