It’s time for the annual trek to America!

It's time for the annual trek to America!
JISHOU, HUNAN — If all goes to plan, I’ll be in the USA for another summer vacation on Monday. Now is as good a time as any to catch everyone up on what’s been happening here. The spring term basically finished for me last Friday. I gave my final exams the week before, and handed in the grades on the 6th. Since that time, I’ve basically just been cooling my heels here waiting to get my passport with a new residence permit back from the Public Security Bureau (PSB). Until then, I can’t leave town. Two years ago, the PSB almost did not renew my residence permit because they thought I had been teaching at another school, which is against regulations. My foreign affairs officer was able to persuade them to grant me my residency, though. Last year’s renewal went off without a hitch, but this year not so much. See that photo above? I visited a combined primary-secondary school in Huayuan County in May, where a graduate student friend of mine teaches English. He thought I could visit the school’s English classes to encourage the kids to learn English better. I visited three classes in the morning. It was ...

Careful, Chinese ladies, that handsome foreigner you love might be a spy 1

Careful, Chinese ladies, that handsome foreigner you love might be a spy
JISHOU, HUNAN — The Beijing government is warning its female workers that the next dashing foreigner wooing them could be a spy. For National Security Education Day, which apparently is a new thing here, the government has placed cartoon posters warning the ladies that handsome wàiguórén (foreigners) might be after more than just charming dinner conversation or Chinese lessons. No, they don’t mean sex. They mean state secrets, which if every state worker has access to, China has a bigger problem than “The Spy Who Loved Me.” The 16-panel cartoon, entitled “Dangerous Love” (危险的爱情 wēi xiǎn de ài qíng) tells the tragic story of Xiao Li, a pretty civil servant who falls for a “visiting scholar.” After he woos here with roses, dinner and probably pirated copies of banned TV shows, she inexplicably gives him secret state documents. They are soon arrested, and the final panels feature police scolding a handcuffed Xiao Li for having a “shallow understanding” of secrecy. Readers are left to imagine what happens to Xiao Li and her lover-spy next. It won’t be pleasant. There is no equivalent poster warning male workers of sultry Mata Haris exchanging sexual favors for state secrets. Apparently, the Party bosses ...
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