[Media Report] The ordeal of two British women in China*

As theNanfang.com very well puts it, ‘it is sometimes better to just bite your tongue than kick up trouble in China’. The proof is in the pudding:

“Two British women assaulted and flung in hellhole Chinese jail after row in shoe shop… and now they can’t come home because their visas have expired” (Source SUZANNAH HILLS – Mail Online – Image: Mimi Lau)

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“These two women were arrested after becoming embroiled in a dispute at a shoe shop in Guangzhou. They were locked up in ‘hell-like’ conditions at a detention centre for 38 days. Pair have been released but can’t return home to London because their visas have run out and Chinese authorities won’t issue them new ones.” I haven’t found any reports that give the version of the Chinese shop owner involved. It would have been good that the journalist covering this story spoke to the Chinese side involved, wouldn’t it?

*a kind reminder for foreigners coming to China: calling police for a relatively small problem could make it way bigger – since most fights between foreigners and Chinese arise from misunderstandings, better get a translator. If you get physical with Chinese people in China and police is involved, whomever was responsible, you are not going to have a good time, I promise – especially, if you don’t speak the language, and you High Commission, Embassy, or President are not going to be able to help. Police in China is not like whatever you think police is.
The other day, I intervened in what was about to become a physical fight between a taxi driver and an Angolan group of women (he speaking in cantonese to them, and they replying in Portuguese). The Angolan women didn’t understand that they needed to pay 10RMB extra for the highway toll, the receipt was only in Chinese. They were thinking that he wanted to steal money from them (yes, he was very dodgy looking!). He was thinking that they wanted to get away without paying what they needed to. There was talk about calling police from both sides. When I heard this, I decided to intervene. After my translation, both sides understood there was indeed no problem, that none of them were trying to trick each other. The women paid what they needed and everybody happy, no one got to the Police Station. Linguistic/cultural misunderstandings like this are the source of most problems between Chinese and foreigners in the country.

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