I lost my Chinese Passport
– last year.
I will be able to apply for my new passport again
– after the magic date August 29, 2003
Hopefully, I can get my new passport
– in the middle of Sept
During the half year, I made at least 30 phone calls, visited about 4 police offices, paid for the advertisement on the Wen Hui Daily and waited for three months to be able to reapply a passport.
At last, I am very tired and frustrated.
The following are the rules I learnt from my experience to replace a passport in China. I didn’t know about it before I lost my passport.
- After losing an passport, the passport holder need to go the nearest police station to claim the lose of passport
- The passport holder need to publish an advertisement on national wide news paper about the lose.
- The holder can only apply a new passport after three months of the publish of the advertisement.
- A new passport will be issued in two weeks after the holder reapply.
I Lost My Passport
At the beginning of November 2002, I attended a conference in Hong Qiao Guest Hotel. The event was wonderful except that I lost my black V-ONE jacket with my passport in the pocket. I didn’t realize it be the beginning of the big trouble.
Looking for the Right police to Claim
I called the yellow page 114 to get the telephone number of the police station. I asked the operator to transfer me to the right police station. I was told that I could claim the lose at ANY police station. Well. It sounded good. I went to the Yan An East Road Station (near He Nan Middle Road) which was just below the building I worked in.
They simply didn’t want to continue to hear about what I had to tell them after they got aware that I worked in the nearby building – they said it was the Nan Jing East Road police station that oversaw the area.
I rushed to the Nan Jing East Road Station and asked to claim. This time, I wasn’t rejected. They told me to wait there for the policeman in charge of this came back after lunch. I waited and waited in the dark room only to hear the man tell me that I didn’t lose the passport in his area and I needed to go to the police station where my Hukou resided in. Hukou is the documentation about me – the mysterious documents that only the employers can see while I can never see in my life….
I clearly know my Hukou was located at #900, Yan An West Road. However, the staff in the police stations obviously didn’t know their business. I called the operator to transferr me to one police station, which always told me that they were not the right one. Sometimes they provided a pointer to another one which claim not responsible for the magic place where my Hukou resides. Did I wrote a wired complicated sentense with many clauses? The real situation was more wired if you count the times when they gave the wrong telephone numbers.
With everyone’s kind help, I finally successfully went throught the following police station (with no particular order – if they request for credit for what they did). It may be a complete list of the stations in that area.
Xian Xia Road Police Station
Jing Ning Road Police Station
Pa Yu Road police Station
Xin Hua Road police Station
Hong Qiao Road police Station
Even the operator of Xuhui police could recognize my voice at last and was very angry with me. She didn’t want me to bother her any more. I was even more anger than she was.
Found the Right Police Station
Finally, I quitted asking the human being in the stations. I looked up the laws and regulations and found by regulations, I need to report to the nearest police station that was in charge of the area where I lost my passport. I couldn’t be wrong this time. So I called Xian Xiao Road Police Station, with the document in my hand. I thought I can defense and claim I didn’t want to be transferred any more with the regulation. By the regulation, they should help me to claim.
Things went smoother than I expected. The policeman accepted my claim request happily and said, “Yes. You are at the right place. Why didn’t you call us earlier?” Well. “Why didn’t I call earlier?” I have to say, my knowledge of the police system was not good enough and I believed what the operator had said at the very beginning. I shouldn’t trust anyone on telephone, especially those from police stations.. :-(
Finally, I found I was too early to relax. He asked me to bring the safeguard in the Hong Qiao Guest House to the police station to be the witness. I asked “How can it be possible? I didn’t remember the name of the safeguard.” I did inform the safeguard in the hotel immediately after I found my passport was lost, but did my statement not valid enough to proof my passport got lost? The policeman was very professional. The answer was the same no matter how I explained: “No witness, no claim”.
I called Hong Qiao Guest Hotel. They just newly upgraded to a five-star hotel. It was still the hotel operated by the government for the state guests. Not surprisingly, they asked the name of the safeguard who witnessed and then refused to provide any evidence. His answer sounded reasonable: “How can I know whether you lost your passport or not?”
Till then, it seemed to be the deadlock. One side asked for witness and the other side won’t provide it. I happened to travel frequently after that and didn’t have time to give them a daily call to discuss this issue. The policeman obviously didn’t want to talk with me too. I just gave up my attempt until I realized doing nothing would not solve the problem three months later.
I Lied, Therefore I Succeeded
Finally, suggested by my experienced friend, I rushed into the Pan Yu Road Police Station on one Wednesday noon. The police station was located on the quiet road near the back door of Jiao Tong University.
I saw a lady in behind the thick glasses. I told her that I want to claim the lose of passport. She asked me to wait until 1:30 PM. That was 1 hours later. The reason was, it is the noon break time and they don’t accept any application. I continuously asked her to do me a favor since everybody was in the room and why I need to wait so long… The 10 minutes noise I made worked and she accepted my request – actually, she had nothing to do at that time except chatting with others. The topic seemed not interesting enough for her to ignore me.
When she asked where I lost my passport and when, I answered as I have repaired: I just lost the passport near the police station, just at the gate of the Jiao Tong University yesterday. I found myself a gifted liar that even I believed that I lost it yesterday.
Before she tend to reject my claim request, I insisted that there is no witness and no proof – “I was….”, I thought hard, “alone and wandering on the road…”. It was not easy to make a story just-in-time. “
and suddenly found my passport went away…..”
It worked like a charm. The angel of mine quickly wrote on a piece of paper and stamps her powerful stamp. In 30 seconds, my Lose of Passport Claim was ready.
Why I Have to Lie to Keep the Ball Rolling?
I felt sad that the system in the society made thing to be so hard if people insist to be honest. There were so many stamps I needed to get and any one can stop you and say: “Hey, look. You need to get the stamp from this department before I can give you mine…”
I just read about a true story that happened in the middle east. The title of the article was Don’t Want To Be A Chinese From Now On. It was firstly posted on Zaobao.com and was widely quoted and discussed. The story was about a young Chinese mother who married an Indian. She insisted to register her son as Chinese citizen although her husband didn’t agree at the beginning. When they went to the China Embassy, they asked her to provide a lot of documents, including the proof that she didn’t owe money from her former employer, the non-criminal record certificate and the agreement from the Foreign Affair Administration of her home town….
After traveling between China and India for many times, she still could not get the document and stamps needed. Finally her India husband got so angery and shouted to everyone in the Embassy. Then he easily got the application form. This time, it was the mother who refused to sign the application. She was so heart broken and applied India passport for her son. The passport was ready in three days.
Soooo….. sad…… to know this.
Publishing the Advertisement
Let me get back to my story. After getting the Lose Claim, things became easier. According to the regulation of Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration, I need to publish an advertisement on the national wide news papers claiming the lose.
I was suggested to go to the People’s Daily since it was the largest one. I didn’t do it since it asked for 300 RMB. Xin Min Evening asked for 100 RMB. I finally choose Wen Hui Daily since it cost only 50 RMB to publish an advertisement – the smallest advertisement possible.
On the day of May 29, 2003, for the first time in my life, I went to the newspaper dealer to buy a copy of Wen Hui Daily. I never personally pay for this newspaper although I can read it anywhere in Shanghai – on air plane and on the newspaper window on the street. That is the advantage to be an official newspaper of the Party. I personally prefer Xin Min Evening, Shenjiang Service Guide…
On the edge of the news paper, I saw the advertisement I paid for:
Wang Jian Shuo Lost Chinese Passport No. XXXXXX. Claim to be Invalid
Hopefully, three months after that day, which is August 30, 2003, I can go to the Shanghai Exit-Entry Administration to apply for a new passport. My experience told me that it may not be as easy as I thought. They may ask for stamps that I can never imagine. I just hope the less stamps, the better.
Perhaps it is the nature of an I.T. Professional. I always believe the process need to be simplified and the public service should continously improve. I have less tolerance for low efficiency. Don’t get me wrong. I hope the city becomes better and better with efficient public services instead of bureacracy.
P.S. Just the day before yesterday, my wife’s ID card was stolen. The police station asked her to get a stamped letter from her employer to proof that she really lost the ID card before she can claim it at the nearby police station. It is the beginning of another cycle…..