Chinese Police Officer in Action

October 2, 2012

One summer while we were in Beijing, a friend of my wife told us about an incident her neighbor was involved in.  The neighbor was a single man in his forties. His former girl friend was in her early twenties, who called the police from his apartment.

“He raped me. Arrest and punish him,” she said to the officer. The neighbors crowded the hall outside the open door to witness what was happening. The officer heard both sides. There was no rape. It turned out that the woman had discovered he had two other girlfriends.

“He asked me to strip,” she said. “He is corrupt.”

The officer studied her and then the man—the woman was taller and twenty pounds heavier. “You have legs. You could leave. But you stripped. Is that correct?”


Chinese Police in court with a Murder Suspect

There was the sound of laugher from the hallway audience. My wife’s friend was one of them.

The soon-to-be former girl friend nodded.

“No laws have been broken,” the police officer said. “He is a single man and can date anyone he likes. You could have said no. If you feel that you have been abused, there’s a woman’s organization that will help you. Do you want the phone number?”

“I already went to them. They won’t punish him either.”

The officer shook his head. “You will never come to this apartment again,” the officer said, as he wrote his verdict in a notebook.

China’s police do not have to read a suspected criminal his or her Miranda rights. In China, the police have more power. We often hear about China’s human rights violations. Read China’s response in China chides U.S. on rights record.

Maybe that difference helps explain why the United States has a prison population of 743 for each 100,000 of national population (total of 2,293,133) and China has 122 per 100,000 (1,650,000). The only country close to the United States is the Russian Federation with 568 in prison of each 100,000.

Discover more about China’s Legal system or learn about Tom Carter’s first-hand experience with Crime in China.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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Harlequin Romance Invades China – a guest post by Tom Carter

April 30, 2012

Growing up in a rural, slate-roofed village deep in the countryside of southeast China, the only English books my Chinese wife had to read back then were a brittle copy of Tess of the d’Urbervilles and a set of Harlequin novels.

Yes, I’m talking about Harlequin, those pulpy paperbacks found on revolving wire racks at supermarket checkout aisles across North America and the UK. Their enticing cover art – usually, nay, always featuring shirtless, square-jawed men hovering millimeters away from the glistening-red lips of a damsel in distress – and formulaic flirt/fight/fall-in-love storylines mercilessly targeted housewives and secretaries longing for a 200-page escape from the dirty diapers and pot-bellied husbands of their mid-life realities.

As it turns out, it was by reading books like “Stormy Voyage” by Sally Wentworth and Roberta Leigh’s “Two-Timing Man” (bought used for 7 RMB out of a sidewalk vendor’s book cart), amongst other Harlequin classics, that my wife managed to teach herself English (which explains her tendency to throw her head back dramatically whenever we kiss).

Curious how Harlequin, the forbidden fruit of literature, could be found anywhere in a Communist republic that has the world’s most strict state-sponsored vetting process for publications, I was surprised to learn that in 1995 (about when my fiancée found her copies) Harlequin received official, red star-stamped permission to place half a million copies of twenty titles in Mandarin and a quarter-million copies of ten English versions on the shelves of Xinhua.

Harlequin’s stated goal: “to bring romance to millions of Chinese Women.”

A China.org article on the increasing popularity of romance books in the P.R.C. concurred with Harlequin’s audacious move: “Chinese women today have new demands for their Prince Charming: first, he must be powerful and distinguished…next, he must have unlimited financial resources.”

Wosai! No wonder China has become home to the world’s highest surplus of single men!

Harlequin, which puts out 1,500 new titles annually in over 100 international markets, has yet to think up a romance set in present-day China (Possible storyline: wealthy, second-generation Beijing businessman seduces sexy xiaojie with his shiny black Audie, pleather man-purse and a thick stack of redbacks; he agrees to save her Anhui village from being bulldozed by corrupt cadres if she will become his kept woman.).

Until that day, we will have to entertain ourselves with stories set in China’s olden times starring princesses and concubines.

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Travel Photographer Tom Carter traveled for 2 years across the 33 provinces of China to show the diversity of Chinese people in China: Portrait of a People, the most comprehensive photography book on modern China published by a single author.

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Note: This guest post first appeared December 8, 2010


My Experience as an Inmate in a Chinese Jail – Part 8/8

October 11, 2011

A Cautionary Tale for Expats in China –  a Guest Post by Lionel Carver

God bless moms!

The consulate informed me that, while I was locked up, my mother had sent money to Western Union to cover the costs of my flight ticket home.

But when we went to pick up the money, the police wanted some for a “fine” and to pay for my exit visa.

The U.S. consular assistant explained to my police escort that the money was only for my trip home, because I had spent eight days in jail in lieu of a fine, and I was not legally required to pay.


Jobless in America unless you have the right skills.

It must have been a ploy by the escorting officers to earn a little on the side. Nice try!

I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in the immigration office at Pudong Airport waiting for my exit visa to be processed.

The upside to my deportation was that the immigration official informed me that because of my good attitude, he would allow me to come back to China whenever I wanted instead of blacklisting me for five years as was the usual policy.

After acquiring my exit visa, I was booked on a flight.  I had no idea where I was going to land in the United States, but the ticket cost 13,800 RMB (USD $2,160!!!), which seemed outrageously expensive (this is about what my wife and daughter each paid the summer of 2011).

I suspect the police and immigration officers had worked out a way to get extra money for themselves.  The two police officers escorted me to the gate to make sure I actually left China.

As I type this true to life story, I’m back in my room at grandma’s house in Middle America.  I still haven’t found a job. When I touched down in the U.S., I felt as if I were walking on the ashes of a once-great country that had been nuked by economic collapse.

The jobs are few and far between and the wages even lower than when I had left for China.

Even if I found work, I don’t believe I could handle an office job, because I don’t feel comfortable being caged in a cubicle, which, when you think about it is like a cage surrounding the mind and isn’t much different from the Chinese jail cell where I spent eight days.

Return to My Experience as an Inmate in a Chinese Jail – Part 7 or return to Part 1.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


My Experience as an Inmate in a Chinese Jail – Part 7/8

October 10, 2011

A Cautionary Tale for Expats in China – a Guest Post by Lionel Carver

On the 7th day of my incarceration, an assistant from the American consulate appeared with a translator.  I signed some papers and he provided me with two English-language magazines to pass the remainder of my time.

He explained that after I was released, I was to hurry to the consulate before 5 pm to acquire my new passport and then get on a flight home that same night, because I was being deported.

The next morning came, and the police said they would take me to my apartment to pack my belongings.


Caution, do not overstay your Visa in the United States.

I wished the police had not been with me so I could have called some people I’d met in Shanghai and explain my situation.

Since I didn’t want to go home for fear of unemployment—and mom’s wrath, I wanted to negotiate with the consulate to go to Japan or Korea or somewhere, anywhere, in Asia instead of back to America.

As a child, I had fought and beat cancer (I’m in my early twenties now), which is why I decided to see the world instead of spend the rest of my precious life delivering Dominos or standing at a Walmart register.

My mom had been so proud of me for venturing off to China to find my fortune in spite of my physical limitations, but I had failed to find steady employment abroad and had gotten myself arrested and deported instead.

Continued on October 11, 2011 in My Experience as an Inmate in a Chinese Jail – Part 8 or return to Part 6.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


My Experience as an Inmate in a Chinese Jail – Part 6/8

October 9, 2011

A Cautionary Tale for Expats in China –  a Guest Post by Lionel Carver

During roll call, inmates are required to line up their stools in the hall and sit on them in orderly fashion. When your number is called, you stand and then sit back down.

One day, an inmate argued with a guard, and I have no idea what it was about.

However, the next day during roll call, the officer called that prisoner’s number, made him stand up, then sit down, then up again, and did this repeatedly for some time.

After roll call, we either had morning exercise or just stared into space.  Morning was also used by the warden to question new inmates about their cases.


The Truth behind Deaths in U.S. Immigration Jails and Prisons

Lunch arrives at noon and sometimes we were escorted out into a big sitting room to eat while listening to jazz music or watching a movie.

Once, they put on a pirated DVD of “Apocalypto” just for me, but I was subsequently charged 5 RMB for that viewing pleasure.

After dinner is bath time and those that want to clean their clothes washed and hung their stuff to dry on their bunks.

The rest of the night was spent watching Chinese television or socializing until bedtime.

Air conditioning did not exist.

Instead, there were two ceiling fans, and during the day if it was too hot and stuffy, the two helpers brought giant blocks of ice, which we put in wash basins in the middle of the room to help cool the air.

Continued on October 10, 2011 in My Experience as an Inmate in a Chinese Jail – Part 7 or return to Part 5.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


My Experience as an Inmate in a Chinese Jail – Part 5/8

October 8, 2011

A Cautionary Tale for Expats in China – a Guest Post by Lionel Carver

During the first three days in jail, all inmates are required to skip naptime after lunch.

This may not seem like much of a punishment until you realize that every day starts at 6 am and ends after 9 pm.  Most of the time, I felt exhausted, not from any physical exertion but from extreme boredom.


Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s chain gangs, tent prison and no television for prisoners – in the U.S.A.

In prison, sleeping or dreaming is an inmate’s only salvation, and I dreamed about many things that week

For example, I dreamed about a cute Chinese girl I’d once met in Nanjing. I even began having delusional fantasies that I was in the video game Final Fantasy having sword fights.

Each day begins with an officer on the intercom yelling something in Chinese (I’m guessing it means, “Get up!”).

The first thing we did was make our beds. Inmates need to fold their bed sheet everyday, like in a military boot camp, and it must be folded correctly.  The supervisor comes in each morning after roll call to inspect the rooms.

Then somebody empties the trash by throwing it through the bars of the door.  Two inmates out in the halls do the task of collecting garbage.  In fact, those same two guys did all the tasks for the jail house (garbage, deliver food, water, etc), which is kind of gross when you think about it.

Next, came the hot water (in a giant metal barrel with a tap). Soon after that, the helpers bring the breakfast cart.


U.S. unemployment, poverty and then atrocities in the prison systems

Prison meals always consisted of rice and vegetable soup with the exception of breakfast, which was some kind of orange-colored root.  No meat!  But since I was a foreign guest, I was allowed to also request a Chinese steamed bun.

Although the food was tolerable, it produced torrents of gas. Imagine being trapped in a cell with nine Chinese men ripping farts all day. That is the true definition of torture.

Continued on October 9, 2011 in My Experience as an Inmate in a Chinese Jail – Part 6 or return to Part 4.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


My Experience as an Inmate in a Chinese Jail – Part 4/8

October 7, 2011

A Cautionary Tale for Expats in China – a Guest Post by Lionel Carver

Apparently, however, homosexual encounters do happen in a Chinese prison (as they do in U.S. prisions too).

One night I crawled up into my top bunk preparing for bed.  I tried to fall asleep but the other inmates were still shuffling around and talking; one young man lit up a rolled piece of newspaper and began smoking it in lieu of actual tobacco.

Eventually everyone turned in for the night in spite of the fact that the lights stay on all night—I have learned that the Chinese can sleep through anything.

I thought I was the only person still awake when I heard one guy whispering to another.

Five minutes later, my metal-frame bunk bed began rocking back and forth.  At first, I thought my bunk mate below was just getting up to take a leak, but the rocking never stopped.

Moaning and slapping noises ensued.


- rape inside American prisons -

Daring to peek over the edge of my bunk, I saw one guy atop another.  When the top man had finished, he slid off and another inmate came over and climbed on top of the same bottom man (seems risky with that close-circuit camera watching what goes on inside the jail cell).

I didn’t know if I was witnessing a rape or if this threesome was consensual, and I was glad I wasn’t going to be in Chinese prison much longer to find out.

Overall, life in a Chinese prison is very boring.  We never left our cells, and going outside was not allowed.

There are no sports.

We did exercise but to a short training video on the cell’s TV where we start off marching, swing our arms around, then touch our toes, and then perform jumping jacks.

There was no library, so books were very hard to come by; I was lucky to find an English book, one of those woman’s romance novels with a long-haired beefcake on the cover , which isn’t the kind of reading you want in a men’s prison.

Continued on October 8, 2011 in My Experience as an Inmate in a Chinese Jail – Part 5 or return to Part 3.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


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