Just what I was waiting for

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This foreigner looks somewhat lost. He clearly needs some kind of bland, surrealist, vaguely threatening guidebook to help him be more appropriately and harmoniously foreign.

The book was laying on the ground across the hallway from my door. I almost didn’t notice it – in fact, I didn’t notice it until the second time I stepped outside that evening. Its cover was light tan, the exact color of unimportance. The title read “Security and Service Manual for Foreigners in Beijing,” and the introduction went something like this:

Dear friends,

       Welcome to Beijing!

       Along with the further implementation of the policy of opening up to the outside world and the increasing international exchange, Beijing, the capital of China, is welcoming friends all over the world with the spirit of “Patriotism, Innovation, Inclusiveness and Morality”. Committed to the core value of “Loyalty, Serving the people, Justice and Honesty”, Beijing police will protect your legal rights and serve you with all sincerity.

       During your stay in Beijing, we hope that you can observe Chinese laws and regulations, maintain public order, actively cooperate with the management work of the police and join in our construction of a harmonious society. We sincerely appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

       This handbook of Living in Beijing is designed to make your life convenient during your stay in Beijing. It is a Chinese-English bilingual brochure with illustrations which can help you know more about accommodation registration, visa affairs and relevant legal provisions, as well as travel and catering, etc.” 

The second page had exactly the same type, word for word.

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The mountains, they never need to know

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