Made in China
The chinese Custom officer is holding our traveling book (1049 pages) in her hands, saying: „Illegal! You can't take this to our China!“
It has been no longer then five minutes, that we entered China and I already start to be confused:
„What?“ The explanation is following immediatly: In our China Guide Book, which we took all the way from India, there is no chapter about Taiwan. But, that's what we learn here: Taiwan belongs in China to China, so the matter is obvious: „This book is a political lie and cannot be taken to our country!“
I'm not capitulating, trying my best to convince them, while at the same time another custom officer is checking our laptop footage in detail.
I try to tell the lady in the chinese uniform, that there is no chance in this country for us without this book. We only speak two words of Mandarin, how should we get along?
There is almost half an hour passing, we are both arguing with hands and feet for the 1kg of written paper, but Mrs. Tschingtschangtschon (Name is changed by author) insists on Taiwan.
Finally I do promise to throw the book, after leaving China, and i in addition to that I promise to write the authors a letter of complainment, and ...
One of the officers rips out the chinese map on the 2nd page, so that nobody can see Taiwan swiming grey and lonely in the pacific ocean, and hands us over our important book.
„CheChe!“ (Thank you!) I am using 50% of my chinese, and we step out into the most popolus country in the world.
The next 30 days and 5000 kilometer we hitch-hike through a country, which we expect to be different. Honestly: We did have some prejudices about China. But friendliness and openess illuminate the idea of equation and inflexibility. „Made in China“- Associations get detached from an cultural variety. But one think we can't forget: Chinas repressive policy in matters of ethnic minorities.
In the provinz of Xingang, the most western part of the country, the Uigurs live. Their cultur reminds us of Kirgis or Kazach Culture. In Kashkar we're having a Central Asian deja-vu. But, nevertheless, China tries to have bigger influence in these regions, even Beijing is geografically further away than for example Damascus or Bagdad. China settles a lot of Han-Chinese people to the West, trying to overflood the Uigurian Traditions. As an reaction, there are bombings or terror attacts in the recent days.
As we leave China, we realise that this country was more than just a country to cross.
We will remember: Surprisingly good food (vegetarian), very polite and friendly people and how easy it was to hitch-hike 5000 kilometers...
But, to be honest, it is difficult to make a conclusion. How can you be charmed by the positiv and friendly behavior of Chinas people, when at the same time China executes such authoritarian policy?