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That Awesome Story About a Child Defacing a Chinese Passport Isn’t True

Posted: 06/4/2014 1:28 pm

passport defaced china chinese national child draw onOne particular Chinese social media story has gotten a lot of attention lately from news outlets worldwide: a Chinese national gets stuck in South Korea because his four year-old son doodled all over his passport.

Those children! While we can’t stay mad at such innocent precociousness, there’s a valuable lesson to be learned here in trying to better take care of one’s own passport. Why can’t more news stories have morals to them?

It turns out, however, that this story may not be true at all. Purveyor of video games and fan boy mediator Kotaku recently pointed out that there are several anomalies seen in the photo of a passport defaced by a child that bring its authenticity into question, such as:

  • all key identification (name, passport number) completely eradicated
  • passport photograph also altered to hide identity
  • ink lines retain same pixel width throughout
  • ink drawings retain a flat plane inconsistent with the bending of the paper in a three-dimensional space (a la MS Paint)
  • no smearing on a document with a gloss covering
  • ink markings fly off right side of page into space
  • immaculate detailing of a flower judged too advanced for a four year-old child

Have a look for yourself:

passport defaced china chinese national child draw onThese all appear to be good points, though that last one seems a little harsh; after all, we are talking about Chinese children. Are children from other parts of the world able to detain their parents at customs with such artistic bombastic aplomb? We suppose we’ll need to allow an independent international body like UNICEF to settle that issue.

Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft points out the story may have been inspired by a similar case published earlier this year in which a Chinese man was also detained in South Korea when his passport was defaced by his son.

But if that is the case, and this story is proven to be a hoax, then how will people of the world learn this important life lesson?

Photos: Kotaku


Halleujah! Hong Kong passport stamps to be long gone from next month

Posted: 02/9/2013 8:09 am

Everybody who lives in the PRD knows how annoying it can be as your passport fills up with Hong Kong SAR stamps each time you cross the border.  But relief is on the way, as Hong Kong is phasing out the passport stamp in favour of a piece of paper.

From next month, passports will no longer be marked, and instead, travellers will be given a slip on entry outlining the terms and conditions of staying in the territory.

This will be a huge help, especially to laowai who frequently visit Hong Kong. It doesn’t take long to fill up a passport when Hong Kong issues two stamps on entry, and another on exit. Combined with mainland China’s entry and exit stamps, that’s five stamps per trip.

This writer’s passport was replaced within a year of living in the PRD. 25 trips to HK = a lot of stamps.

SCMP has more on how it will all work in the future:

The slip of computer-generated paper will carry the visitor’s name, travel document number, arrival date and the date the visitor permitted to remain until… Even if visitors lose the slip they will still be able to leave Hong Kong when they present their travel documents, because their information has been stored in the computer.

It’s a win for foreigners with more room for more travel in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

The Immigration Department, in a fine example of Hong Kong’s noted efficiency, says using the slip of paper will save each visitor 3 seconds when they cross the border.

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