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自由受限的中国大陆之旅
Visiting China under travel restrictions

中国是Bob Mok为期五周的东亚之旅的第三站。尽管这是他自2008年以来首次重游中国,但自由受限,互联网审查以及扣留游客护照的做法却令他的旅程蒙上了一层阴影。读者如欲参照东亚之旅系列文章,请点击http://096.ca/news/656877
China was the third stop for Bob Mok’s 5-week Asian Tour. But travel restrictions, internet censorship as well as the practice of withholding tourists’ passport casted a shadow on his travel experience to the country that he hasn’t revisited since 2008!For the previous articles on the other destinations, please click - http://096.ca/news/656877
 
 
提到中国,我的脑海里立刻会蹦出“思想控制与高速发展”这两个词。在那里个人言论及互联网自由都受到严格控制。但是,已经有迹象表明中国伟大的网络审查防火墙已经开始四面楚歌。与此同时,中国的基础设施和城市仍在继续迅猛扩张。虽然新设施如雨后春笋般快速发展,但由于相关的养护计划却没有跟上,桥梁和高速公路等建筑和基础设施的高速老化在未来几十年将会带来诸多安全影响。
 
My impressions on China can be best summarized and remembered by “Mind Controls and Rapid Developments”. Individual speech and internet freedoms are tightly controlled. Nevertheless, there are signs that holes are beginning to perforate through the great censorship dike everywhere. The country has also continued its exponential expansion in development with its infrastructures and cities. While structures are sprouting up rapidly, the maintenance programs are non-existent and the high rate of deterioration on buildings and infrastructures like bridges and highways will have an impact on safety for decades to come.
 
 
在我开始讲述中国之行之前,我必须先谈谈现在想要获得中国旅游证件和签证有多难。即便此次旅行团是由一些旨在促进商业发展和推销产品的省级组织及商人赞助的协议团(购物游),游客应自行办理旅行证件。
 
Before I even start to talk about this tour, I must go into a story on how difficult it is to get the travelling documents and visa to visit China these days. Even though this was an arrangement group (shopping tour) sponsored by some provincial organizations and merchants to promote commerce and sell products, tourists were supposed to obtain their own travel authorizations.
 
 
我们在去年9月就发现中国旅游法规每月都在变化。首先,根据双边协议开放的10年多次往返签证不再发放,取而代之的是2年期签证。此外,如果你是出生在香港但却从未在加国办理过中国旅行签证的加拿大公民,那么你从中国大使馆将只能拿到一个“旅游证件小册”,并且其必须与和你的香港身份证上的姓名完全一致的加拿大护照同时使用。

We found out in September that the travelling regulations were changing from month to month. First, ten-year multiple entries visas initiated by the bi-lateral agreements were no longer issued and they were replaced by two-year ones. Then if you were a Canadian citizen born in Hong Kong and never obtained a visa here in Canada to visit China, you will only receive a “Travel Document Booklet” from the Chinese Embassy to use in conjunction with your Canadian Passport if it was issued under the identical name as your Hong Kong identity card.  
 
 
为了满足这些要求,我的一些亲戚不得不办理“新的”加拿大护照。据推断中国政府此举旨在筛查游客,以确保他们在成为加拿大永久居民时没有改变姓名,从而掩盖自己过去的记录和任何被视为不利于中国的冒犯行为。据我所知,在加拿大政府提出抗议后,中国当局目前已经恢复发放新的10年期签证。

My relatives had to get “new” Canadian Passports to meet these requirements. It was reasoned that the Chinese government was trying to screen travellers and make sure that they have not changed their names when becoming permanent residents in Canada, thus obscuring their past records and any perceived offences against China. I understand that the issuing of new visas for ten years has now been restored after complaints were received from the Canadian Government.
 
 
在我离开加拿大前,我曾担心在中国旅行期间无法安全访问我的电子邮件和所热衷的网站。我用谷歌搜索后发现我们在加拿大可以登陆上海服务器以测试在中国境内是否可以访问某些特定网站。最终我确认在中国无法访问“谷歌”网站以及所有Gmail账户。此外,包括一直自律的“明报”和“星岛日报”在内的所有香港主要报纸(香港所有主要报纸)的网站也都无法访问。

Before I left Canada, I was concerned about the ability to secure access to my email and flavourite web sites while travelling in China. I googled around and found out that there are servers in Shanghai that we can sign on in Canada to test out whether access is available for any specific web site within China. I confirmed that “Google” web site is not available in China along with all gmail accounts. All the major Newspaper website from Hong Kong including the self-disciplined “Ming Pao” and “Sing Tao” are not accessible as well.
 
 
因此,当我进入中国发现可以访问“自由的互联网”时的惊讶之情可想而知!虽然所有酒店和Wi-Fi系统都处于中国长城防火墙的监控之下,但系统中的一个小漏洞却让我得以自由访问特定网站。至于如何去钻这个漏洞,我要对此保密以便其他所有游客能够继续从中获益。

Imagine how surprised I was when I set foot in China and was able to access the “free internet”! While the access to all Hotels and Wi-Fi systems were controlled through the Great Firewall of China, a small glitch in this system allowed me to go about my business. As to how, I will keep that a secret just so it will remain open to all visitors.
 
 
当我们询问导游为什么在我们每晚入住酒店后护照都会被扣留至第二天早上才返还时,他回答称“每个酒店每晚都要备份护照数据,一旦发现护照持有人在海外有过任何不利于中国的举动,就会立即上报当局以便他们采取适当行动。”至于中国当局究竟会采取哪些行动,你们尽可以发挥想象。我只能猜测如果有游客被纳入这个相当广泛的概念范畴,他们可能会被邀请住进某个国家掌控的迎宾设施内!

When we asked our tour guide as to why our Passports were kept every night upon checking into Hotels and not returned till the next morning, he said “Passports data are copied every night at each location and any detection of the holder's overseas actions against China will be presented to the authorities so they can take appropriate actions”. Just exactly what those actions will be, I will leave it up to your imagination. I would only surmised that if any visitors should fall under that rather broad category, they may be invited to stay in a state-owned hospitality facility!
 
 
我从导游口中听到的另一番言论是,中国前国家主席(江)的夫人的外貌和形象与现任第一夫人(习主席的夫人)相比实在是相形见绌。听到曾经执掌大权的领导人及其亲属在下台失势后遭此侮辱不免令人沮丧。

Another comment I heard from the Tour Guide was how the physical appearance and image of the wife of the previous President (Jiang) was a disgrace when compared to the current first lady (President Xi's wife). It was disheartening to hear how once powerful people and their relatives were insulted once they fell out of grace and power.
 
 
虽然我们的导游每到一处景点都会非常专业地讲解相关历史知识,但他们在讲解过程中不时巧妙地穿插一些政治观念。我们不断被提醒只有“政治经济实力”强大的中国才能让海外华人得到外国人的尊重。导游一直试图说服我们接受海外华人应该以中国的科学成就为傲的观念。此外他们还通过生拉硬扯的历史故事大肆推销购物点销售的商品。

While the tour guides were very professional in providing historical information on the attractions, it was clear that they were well-trained to intersperse political doctrines into their speeches.  We were constantly reminded that overseas Chinese are only respected by foreigners because of a “politically and economically” strong China. The tour guides tried to convince us that China's scientific achievements are what we overseas Chinese should be proud of. They also made sales pitch on the items sold at the shopping attractions through the narration of historical stories, linking them to the products.
 
 
下一次我们将继续讲述中国之行的所见所闻。

More about what we saw in China next time.
 

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