in Uncategorized

No curfew in Shanghai – Shanghaiist spreading rumors

Shanghaiist is one of my favorite daily blogs about things happening in Shanghai and generally they are well informed. But today’s article with the title “Shanghai police imposing foreigner curfew for expo” is total bullsh*t. I am sure this article will spread quickly all over the Internet and into traditional media, with journalists not doing any fact checking (as usual with China stories), so let me give you the facts as I think they are.

First the context: Shanghaiist said that an (unnamed) office friend working for a legitimate university organization forwarded a letter from Shanghai police that was “translated by office secretaries”.

Write a Comment



  1. So this story will spread around the net with reporters doing no fact checking….hmmmm….I’m looking for the part in your post where you called the psb and did some fact checking of your own. Can’t seem to find it. Funny that. I had a friend call for me and ask, becuase the news is worrying for any expat in town, and she was told the letter was sent out and the regulations will be enforced during the Expo. Remember, the rules have been on the books for years, but the only time I’ve seen them enforced in my 12+ years here was during the BJ Olympics — and only lightly enforced. I’m now told the situation during the expo will be much different. It would be nice if someone in the media would do some real fact checking and let us know what is going on. Simply calling out Shanghaiist, without making your own call, makes you look silly — and does nothing to help your readers.

  2. Marc – Have you shared any information with your friends at the Shanghai Research Office lately? Double-crossed any friends? Interested to hear.

  3. @Bill The regulations will likely be more strictly enforced, that always happens around major events. But that’s not my point: the main point is that Shanghaiist is scaring people by saying that there will be a curfew for foreigners. That is simply not the case, the letter does not state that (no need to call the PSB for that!).

    I quickly wrote this post to make sure foreign media would not just copy the Shanghaiist headline and provide some background from my personal experience.

    By the way, as you can see in the comments under the Shanghaiist article others already went to the PSB and they had no idea about a change in rules.

    @Mister Wang I have no idea what you are trying to say

  4. i have a short-term apartment rental business here in Shanghai and might be in a good position to elaborate the issue discussed in the post.

    it is true that security measures are tightened up because of the SH Expo. in the past, the “police registration within 24 hours” has never been strictly imposed, as a matter of fact, we were asked by police not to bring our foreign guests to PSB if they stay less than a month. now it’s different. we (and our foreign guests) are required to do so and register within 24 hours.

    the “carring passport 24h” is still lax but i think it’s smart to carry your passport during Expo. as for the “return to home before 11pm” and other items listed in the Shanghaist letter, to be honest with you, they sound so rediculous, we didn’t hear anyting about these requirements from the PSB and im sure if they do have these requirements, the police will notify us immmediately.

    the shanghai government and the Expo organizer don’t want to terrify people and damage the atmosphere of a big party. in my view, such a document doesn’t look like real. not real even only circulated within PSBs

  5. Yes, that’s exactly what’s happening: the WP, NYT, Guardian, NPR, and BBC correspodents are rushing from Shanghaiist, to your blog for clarification. Dumbest thing I’ve ever read here. Get real, March, and get back to bitching about your ayi and driver. That’s more compelling.

  6. Felton, thanks for the sarcasm but you don’t seem to understand how social media works. Whether journalists follow my blog is not so important in order for them to find the information. They use Twitter (where indeed I have quite some journalist followers) and Google to get their information. Just Google “curfew Shanghai” right now and you’ll see that this article pops up right below Shanghaiist. That’s why I wrote it.

  7. a related comment i left on the shanghaist site:

    exactly. our apartments are in different locations of shanghai and we have to deal with different PSBs. one thing that usually frustrated us is how “flexible” the law here can become. you got different interpretations for the same regulations from different people, sometimes from the same person in different times.

    an interesting observation i made when i occasionally took our foreign guests to PSB for police registration – they are nervous. usually we will explain the registration to them beforehand in order to put them at ease. however, you can still feel that they are nervous.

    i’m not sure why they (most never come to China before) are uncomfortable. one explaination is that many foreigners, i’m a Chinese BTW, have certain negative perceptions about Chinese police.

    many rumors (or the spreading of rumors) are the projections of people’s internal fear, dislike or hatred. it will be very interesting to find out what prompt this in the first place.

  8. i am a reporter with a Chinese national English language media and i am doing the fact checking with Shanghai police, a story will be coming out soon. if any of you,foreigners in Shanghai, has any information about the curfew, anything, please feel free to send me an e-mail

  9. Quote
    It says that you have to register if you stay in a different place than your house. Also this is nothing new, that has been the rule in China for years, but except for hotels nobody follows it anymore. Hotels still post signs saying that no guests can be in rooms after 11 PM without first registering with the front desk.
    This is almost the rule everywhere, also in the USA officially no guests are allowed after 11 pm without registering first. Although there it is more a money matter probably as they of course want you to pay if you stay overnight. So all in all it seems there is not really any change in the current situation.

  10. Thanks for the comment and the link Mariza. Exactly what I thought a few days ago when I wrote this post.

  11. hi Marc
    i would not like to carry the passport everywhere since losing it would cause a lot of hardship. wouldn’t it make sense to photocopy the page with our identification and the visa, and carry that always, in case one would need it for identification?

  12. @arturo A copy is officially not enough, but I guess for most cases it should be sufficient. Worst case they’ll let you go and ask you to report to a local police station to show the original passport within 48 hours or so. But since rules won’t change during the Expo (see the China Daily link in the update) I wouldn’t worry about bringing your passport. I have not been checked in a single time in the past 10 years.

  13. If you have a Foreign Expert Certificate, you can carry that instead of your passport. But I’ve also never been asked for mine.