Mr. Wang showed up in my room again this morning.
I was surprised, because today was a major holiday, and I figured he would have liked to spend the day with his family instead. But he had work to do, so we continued our interview.
I was nervous.
“When is this going to be over??” I asked Mr. Wang, but he only shook his head.
“Will I go to jail??”
“Will I have to pay money??”
Mr. Wang left around noon, and I let myself fall flat on the bed and buried my head in the pillows. What else could I do but sleep?
I was awakened by a knock on my door. It was Mr. Wang, and he had brought a few people. I was greeted in a very official manner, then I prepared some tea for them.
A lady started speaking. She was in her fifties, had a sophisticated look about her, and she had been dispatched by the central government in Tacheng 塔城 to take care of the matter.
“You have violated the law.” she said.
“It is illegal for you to be operating a GPS unit with an accuracy equal or superior to 500m on Chinese territory.”
“The law requires us to investigate your case .”
“Our measures could involve prolonged detainment…”
“…and eventual deportation.”
“BUT we decided to consider that your breach of the law was unintentional, and that you are only a student, who seems to be quite fond of China and of Chinese culture.”
“SO we will let you go. Here’s your computer, and here’s your GPS.”
I signed some papers, then we chatted some more and I apologized for keeping them from their families on this beautiful Mid-Autumn Holiday.
I gave each one of them a little moon cake at the door.
Then they were gone.
Later that day, my friends Zhu Hui, Lei Sheng, Wang Chan 王婵 and Ding Bo 丁波 came over to pick me up. Lei Sheng gave me a taekwondo suit from his studio as a present, and we decided to take a picture of China kicking my ass the way it should have been:
Then we left Usu and headed back to Kuytun. We got together at Lei Sheng’s house, because we had several reasons to party:
- I was innocent, and I was free again.
- Today was the Mid Autumn Festival, one of the most important traditional holidays in Chinese culture.
- We were a great bunch of friends:
…even the family dog celebrated with us:
When we went to Lei Sheng’s studio to look around, we were all a bit drunk:
Zhu Hui grabbed the camera and took this picture of me:
(You can see his reflection in the mirror.)
This is what innocence looks like.