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Shenzhen laowai, prepare for a visit from the city’s finest

Posted: 03/17/2011 10:31 am

The Universiade is coming to Shenzhen this year, the latest (and possibly last for a while) in a string of international events gracing China. With it, a wide collection of international media, tourists, and athletes will be coming down to town, meaning only one thing to the Chinese authorities: potential instability.

Anyone who was in Beijing prior to the Olympics, Shanghai before and during World Expo, or Guangzhou before the Asian Games will know that restrictions tighten up as China’s vast security apparatus goes into anxiety mode. As the next city to stage an international event, foreigners living in Shenzhen are being reminded that they may receive a visit from the police to verify that they have a proper rental agreement and are permitted to stay in their flat. If you happen to have a friend in town or somebody who hadn’t registered their stay with the local public security bureau, they may be asked to leave (or register).

Why is Shenzhen doing this? In their words, to “maintain peace and harmony in society”. China, ever vigilant, believes heavy security is in everyone’s interest (hey, they’re right there with Muammar Qaddafi on that count).

So, in summary: make sure you have a valid rental agreement (and make sure you know where it is), and you’ll be fine.

Oh, and enjoy the Universiade.

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