The announcement by the Beijing PSB made on its Sina Weibo account was accompanied by the image of a giant fist.
Just a week after a video of a British tourist sexually assaulting a Chinese woman in public went viral on the Internet, Beijing has begun a 100-day crackdown on foreigners residing and working illegally in the capital. Xinhua reports:
The campaign is scheduled to run from May 15 to the end of August, said a spokesman with the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.
Police will comb communities believed to have large numbers of such aliens and mobilize the public to report them, as well as tighten reviews of visa applications, he promised.
Official data shows that Beijing sees nearly 200,000 foreigners every day, including 120,000 inhabitants. Police records reveal that foreigners without income, a permanent abode and a job are more likely to commit illegal acts in the city.
The image of a giant fist accompanied the announcement made by the Beijing Public Security Bureau on Sina Weibo, which also urged the general public to call the police if they detect any foreigner suspected to have entered China illegally, or are currently residing and working in the city without the necessary papers.
The Global Times story on the crackdown was accompanied by screen grabs of the above-mentioned British tourist getting beaten up by locals (h/t to Mark MacKinnon). A separate commentary acknowledged that it was “very difficult for China to deal with the problem” as China “lacks experience, hasn’t made full preparations, and does not even know the exact number of illegal immigrants right now”. Nevertheless:
Chinese police should take a tough attitude in the fight against illegal foreigners. In the past, since it was related to diplomacy, China was very cautious when dealing with foreigners’ crimes. China should treat this problem with the usual mindset.
On the one hand, China should create favorable and legal conditions for foreigners to live and work in the country. It should share development opportunities with them but not practice exclusionism like some Western countries. On the other hand, China should be decisive in cracking down on illegal immigrants. It cannot afford to be an immigrant destination at this early stage.
Illegal immigrants cannot be wiped out by one campaign. But it should serve to curb the problem and become a turning point for Beijing to effectively manage foreigners.
Mishandling this problem may lead to diplomatic friction, as foreigners are involved. Beijing will obviously be an example for other cities to follow. China is a friendly country, and should avoid misunderstanding from other countries when fighting against illegal immigrants.
Iain Shaw of lifestyle publication The Beijinger writes:
Sounds to me like we can expect the full range of checkups, from knocks on the door, to police hanging around outside apartment buildings asking if you’ve got your passport, to those same police sending you back home to get it if you haven’t brought it out with you. Anyone out there remember the summer of 2007 (or pretty much the entire year preceding the Olympics)? I think we’re in for another of those golden periods.
Of course, if you’ve got a visa, are working legally and have got your housing registration form from the local PSB, you should really have nothing to worry about. However, there’s every chance you could be stopped randomly in the street and asked to produce your documents, so be prepared. Check the date on your visa, make sure you’ve got your housing registration form (and if you haven’t, get down to the PSB now and sort it out), and we’d also recommend carrying photocopies of the photo and visa pages from your passport, as well as a copy of your housing registration form. It’s not cool, but it will save you trouble.
REMINDER: Even if foreigners don’t have valid documents, it’s still technically illegal to beat them if anyone is watching.
— The Relevant Organs (@relevantorgans) May 15, 2012