Standing out in the billionese crowd

Maintaining the people's order

Such a charming country, the People's Republic of China! I could not read what this girl had done wrong, but she was made to stand in the main shopping street of this small town for an entire day. Possibly the billboard around her neck said she had sex with a foreigner, an unforgiveable offence in China if it happens outside marriage.

In plenty of other countries, terrible things happen too, but the shameless brutality of public life in China is hard to beat -or to swallow. They parade their criminals in the street before shooting them, routinely use whips and electric sticks for crowd control at train stations, and it is the only country I know of, where people waiting for an overcrowded citybus start fighting themselves in before passengers wanting to get off get a chance to do so. They will even fight to get into an airplane when everybody has a reserved and numbered seat.
Fistfights in the streets, in broad daylight, are so common that passers-by regard them as entertainment. They stop to watch two men or women, or even a man and a woman, exchanging mad although often rather clumsy and childish blows, without trying to intervene, always laughing and smiling of course. Most Chinese above a certain age are still badly fucked up by the Cultural Revolution, if you ask me.

On the other hand, of course, I also encountered a number of Chinese persons that were strange but harmless, or very charming and educated.
Imagine just walking through a street when a well dressed man in his forties, carrying an album, approaches you. At first you get the impression he speaks some English, but he has merely memorised a few standard sentences. He opens his album, and proudly shows you his collection of coins and banknotes from all over the world. Some of the bills have quite a value by Chinese standards, and the whole album must contain at least a workers annual salary.
In improvised deaf-mute language he asks you for any coins or banknotes from your home country, but you have to disappoint him. Very politely but sadly, he closes his album, says goodbye and leaves. Far from indicating that this man has widely travelled, his album betrays a desperate but frustrated desire to leave China, if only for once in his life. All the money in his album doesn't add up to the value of what is to you just a piece of red tape: a passport which entitles you to travel to any place in the world, any time you want, for whatever reason you like to invent.