Shenzhen Police Issue Warning to Unregistered Expats

By Matthew Bossons, June 2, 2016

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Foreigners in Shenzhen received a bit of a scare today, when images featuring a strongly worded police letter aimed at expats surfaced on social media. 

The letter, which states expats must register with the Shekou Police Department or face a RMB2,000 fine, is dated June 2 and claims police will investigate and fine foreigners who fail to register within one week of arrival. 

For those unfamiliar with Shenzhen, Shekou (part of Nanshan District) is home to a large number of the city’s expat population.

While some individuals and media outlets have claimed the letter is a fake, we can assure you it is very much real. 

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That’s PRD staff spoke with the Shekou Police Department this evening to confirm the authenticity of the letter, which, the officer said, "was posted by the police department outside residences in Shekou." When pressed as to why the letter contained no Chinese, the officer replied: "We are targeting foreigners, so notices are in English."

The fact police are asking foreigners to register at their local station should come as no surprise (although apparently it caught some people off guard), as expat registration is a long-standing practice in China. 

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If you don’t believe us, take the US Embassy’s word for it: "Whether you are traveling to or living in China, you must register with the police within 24 hours of your arrival in the country. Even foreigners with residence permits are required to register after each re-entry. If you are staying in a hotel, the staff will automatically register you. However, if you are staying in a private home with family or friends, you should take your passport to the local police station to register. Failure to do so could result in fines and detention."

If today’s social media circus had you worried, we have one piece of advice: get registered.

[Images via WeChat]

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