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Am I Screwed?


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I am in my 18th year of living and teaching in China. This next school year will be my last, as I hit the big 6 0.   Last September, I had to quickly move when I returned to Beijing (living in an outer district, not in the central Haidian, Chaoyang, etc) because while home in the US my landlord told me that I could not live in my apartment anymore because it was company housing - I had already lived there for 8 months.  I hurriedly found another apartment, hurriedly started the semester, etc only...yes, kick me in the pigu, I forgot to register the new apartment.  I have to leave that apartment because my landlord has relatives moving back to BJ and she wants them to live there.  I have a new apartment...am terrified to go and register.  In Jan, Feb and March, I rented a room in another district because I was having trouble sleeping in my home (noisy) and I did register for that.  I have that slip.  The neighborhood that I am moving from is a gated community with security there 24/7.  There are very few, if any other, foreigners living in this part of Fengtai, so it is not like I can blend in.  I am terrified...what should I do?  I have signed the contract for the new place and paid 6 months rent for it.  Should I rent another room in the neighboring district for the summer and then take that reg. slip to register here?  Or should I throw myself at the mercy of the local?

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After all the horror stories one hears about the tight bureaucracy you can expect in Beijing and Shanghai compared to other tier cities, I understand your fears so hope it works out.


I think your best choice is to reset the registration system by going out of the country and then registering back in Beijing, I'd possible in a small 派出所 near your new place. With a brand new entry and exit seal they may be willing to overlook the period you were unregistered and you can always bullshit your way through by saying you were travelling around Yunnan and staying in remote villages where they didn't bother registering you. Has happened to me before, so I can confirm it's the norm there and from a northerner perspective they'll believe you.


Lawyers in China can't really help you in this case, they'll encourage you to game the system or assist you when the punishment comes, but won't be able to intercede in any other way.


Best of luck!

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I am in your neighboring district, daxing and when I moved here I didn't registered for nearly 6 months.l (ended up going back to the UK for a long period)  Bit of a silly mistake but no one mentioned anything. 

I don't see how going out of the country helps. It's all computerised right?

Why not just go register, get a telling off and possibly pay a fine. 

I can't see anyone removing you from the country. Delaying it might only many matters worse. 

Also several  weeks ago the police turned up unexpectly at my door and checked my passport and visa. They were checking if I was registered  according to their database (I asked). This has happened twice now in Beijing. Given your not so far from me I'd think it very wse you register to.


I have forgotten the exact procedure but when you register don't you just show your passport and visa and rental contract. ? I don't seem to remember showing the previous registration slips. Forgotten

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My wife just got a phone call yesterday asking about my visa (it expired a week ago, but it's already in the application process so it's fine). Just shows the checks are getting more and more thorough. 


Just bite the bullet, go and register, and if there's a problem apologise. It's not exactly like it isn't your fault, you did forget after all. We've all done it, we all make mistakes sometimes. The longer you wait and put it off the worse it'll be. I've not heard of people being deported for not registering, just a fine. 


Hope it all goes well! 

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Of course anything is possible and there are no guarantees, but according to my personal experience you are maybe worrying a bit too much. In pretty every case of someone I know registering late  the worst thing that happened was having to sign a "self criticism" (some pre-printed piece of paper they have especially for those cases) some angry looks and that's about it.


They could fine you and I am sure in some cases they do, but its very rare. Being friendly, apologetic and generally very sorry usually helps in my experience with Chinese authorities.

The advice with going to a hotel for a night (which will automatically register you when you check in) or leaving the country are both valid, as in either case the registration should theoretically reset - but how this works in practice I do not know. They should have all the records on their computer screen. The question is what they look at.

If I was you and really concerned I might try the thing with one night in a hotel and then go to the police to register. Or I would just go straight and be veeeeeery sorry.

So in any case, I dont think you are screwed, nor is there any reason to be terrified.


With facial recognition, Wechat tracking your every move and cameras at every corner, making people queue and fill out a piece of paper like this is a bit ridiculous anyways....if they want to find you, they will!

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I don't think bringing a lawyer into this is a good idea at all. That just makes it look like there might be something really serious going on as well. Red-flags you.


But if you a have a well-spoken well-connected friend who can go with you ("my translator") that would be good.

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On 6/4/2019 at 10:35 PM, Pengyou said:

This next school year will be my last, as I hit the big 6 0


On 6/5/2019 at 8:19 AM, Pengyou said:

The stakes are high


Hi @Pengyou,


I'm not sure I get this... in Chinese years, aren't you already "60" anyway.... and what makes this such a big deal if you think you will be forced to leave very soon?


(Asking because I'm 50+ myself!)



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8 hours ago, 889 said:

I thought that in ordinary run-of-the-mill cases at least, foreigners don't get work visas beyond 60. Determined by Western reckoning.


Yup thats  what I was definitively told  unless you are category A or B but English teachers will be category C

Stupid rule in my opinion. Surely it should und depend on a  health check. 


My friend is having trouble securing a student visa at 74 despite passing all the health checks and 11 years continuous student visa.


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It is linked to the domestic retirement age.  I don't want to make too much of a mess because I am looking for a plan "B" in this situation.  No, I am not a tier A or B...any suggestions for a 后门?  I think this is the first or second year that the policy has been in place...maybe someone has found cracks in the wall?

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A bit off-topic but: that demographic time-bomb is ticking in PRC just as much as everywhere else... do all retirees get pensions?  If so then surely they’ll need to raise retirement age quickly like most other countries (esp. in East/South-East Asia) or it won’t be sustainable. 


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The real demographic time-bomb is the one-child policy and its subsequent reversal.


That means a typical couple may have four parents to help support, while themselves raising two children (not cheap). Or put another way, an aging couple can rely on help from only one child these days, while the child may also have to help support a spouse's parents and raise two kids as well.

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