Remember my passport/visa problem (silly asinine)?
Here’s the low-down: I have a German passport that expires in October 2009. And I have a Chinese visa that’s about to expire by the end of this month.
No way I can walk home with a passport like that, and I can’t get out of China by the end of August either.
Two problems I needed to tackle.
That’s why I had gone back to Beijing in March – to apply for a new passport.
Today, I went to my embassy…
…and finally picked up my brand-spanking new German passport:
It looked very pretty and had 48 pages.
Then I took both my old and new passports to the police station and got a notice of residence.
One question remained though: just how would I get a new visa during these troubled times?
The authorities had been extremely tight about giving out visa during the last few months, and I had even heard of regular short-term tourists who had been refused.
I can’t tell you anything specific, but I think maybe I can get a new visa anyhow:
We’ll know within a week.
I am renting a room in an apartment in the west part of the city, and the best thing about it is I am sharing the apartment with my good friend from Munich/Beijing:
After all these nights in hotels and temples and tents and whatever else I had slept in, I was very happy to arrive in a place that I could call home for a little while – and I was even happier that I had a good friend there! If you have a friend, you can get together with even more friends and go out to eat all the time – that’s so awesome!
Today when we came back from a Japanese restaurant though, we witnessed something rather disturbing.
There was this young girl laying in the street; someone was holding her, and there seemed to be a lot of blood around her head. This was at a street crossing, so there quickly was a rather large crowd gathering that gathered around the site.
“She’s an epileptic” a person screamed in Chinese, “make sure she doesn’t bite her tongue!”
Someone else had already called an ambulance.
This is where it got a bit weird though, because after 3 minutes, it wasn’t the medics who got to the site:
It was a special vehicle from the anti-terror squad 武警防暴:
Four dudes with assault rifles jumped out and quickly secured the area, only to find out that there was no need for them unless they could provide some kind of first aid.
They apparently couldn’t, so they chose to stand around some more and continue securing the area.
People got unhappy and started demanding the ambulance to get there.
It was pretty heavy looking at the poor young girl laying there in her blood, with her eyes open wide and her mouth held open by another person.
We waited for another few minutes, then a police car got there:
“Nobody here asked for the police!” people would tell the officer, “the girl needs an ambulance!!”
We anxiously waited around for another few minutes.
“It’s been 14 minutes – how can they be so slow?” a lady next to me asked another person.
The other person didn’t know what to say either.
Then the medics finally arrived and took the poor girl to the hospital, leaving only a small pool of blood as a witness to what had happened here tonight:
That’s the story, and here’s my train of thought:
Well first I was thinking: the central government obviously puts public safety over the well-being of the individual. That’s why the anti-terror squad and the police got there in time and the ambulance didn’t. It’s an outrage.
Then I figured: well, maybe during these few days the heavy focus on public safety is actually understandable. It’s special times during the Olympics, and safety-wise, I agree that absolutely nothing must go wrong.
But then later, when the whole thing had been over already, something else came to my mind: what if this had happened in Germany? Obviously, I would have been upset with the hospital that was supposed to provide medical service for this area. Or I would have blamed the people who worked the emergency phone lines. But I probably wouldn’t have thought that the government was willing or even able to micro-manage every incident as small as this one.
Maybe we’re politicizing too much sometimes?
“A very unpolitical thought:
the new passport expires in ten years. If we’re lucky we might read a blog that day with a very long bearded Chris walking around… well, wherever he managed to arrive that day.”