An anonymous email from a concerned reader

I received this as an email today and was asked to share it with you all.

I am writing this in great fear. Let me explain-

All of the things happening with the drama of Chen and Bo haven’t even phased people here as they are still more concerned with surviving in their daily lives.

But then today that changed. My boyfriend (a Chinese professor of English) received a strange text message. He sent it to me and was very concerned because we are planning on getting married and moving to the US as soon as possible. The text was in Chinese and my Chinese was too poor to understand all of it so he translated it. It read: an announcement received today from concerned authorities that all leaders and professors are to turn in all personal passports and visas immediately to be kept and maintained by the concerned authorities.

This to me sounds like: we want to control who tries to leave here because we are having too many people try to get away from China which is causing an embarrassment to the gov’t.

Maybe it is nothing, but it is too much of a coincidence with what is going on in Beijing. What can I do? Luckily he doesn’t have a passport or visa yet so he doesn’t have to hand it over but what do I do? I don’t want to leave him behind if things get ugly. I am even more concerned given that his family suffered at the hands of the CCP during the Cultural Revolution in such a way that it still gives them nightmares.

Any suggestions?

Sorry as I am typing quickly before I lose my connection.

I responded asking simply if I could re-post her email here to see if others were experiencing the same thing, she replied with the following:

Yes by all means. I have quietly stood by for too long. I have been afraid for all of my friends’ safety. Now, I am scared and not sure how else to help. I want to help not hurt anyone. And I have long been a lover of China culture and language, however never the government. But I keep my mouth shut to keep them safe, but in our private life it is all my boyfriend and I talk about, he always tells me he loves China but is afraid another Cultural Revolution will happen before his son grows up. He grew up at the end of it and the fear in his eyes and voice is palpable. He is concerned that no matter whose side you choose the social instability will destroy all that so many people have worked so hard for in their lives. He lived during times where his older siblings didn’t eat so he, the youngest, could. He doesn’t want to revisit that time, ever.

Is something similar happening where you are?

About T

I have been working in China for nearly five years now. I have traveled to more than 30 cities and towns, and have lived in 3 provinces. I am interested in issues concerning development in China and the rest of the world. I hope to provide a balanced look at some of the issues facing China as it continues its rise to power.
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5 Responses to An anonymous email from a concerned reader

  1. Yeah, they are also seizing credentials of media and possibly revoking J visas, it’s on!

  2. They did announce the new regulation yesterday in CUEB, however we believe that the new rules only apply to “Passport for Public Affairs”.
    Check this:
    and this:!article/QingJiao/101014

  3. BB says:

    No matter what category of passports it applies to, it is a ridiculous measure. People pay to obtain passports. They’re personal identity documents and should be kept by the people they have been issued to. The CPC seems to get more draconian by the day.

  4. Chopstik says:

    Right now, it seems to be a narrowly targeted approach. I know of someone leaving for the US in the next two weeks and so far they have heard nothing but they are not in academia nor media so hopefully they will encounter no issues in the next two weeks.

  5. Alec O says:


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