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China And The Swine Flu. When Pigs Fly.

Posted in China Travel

If you are not reading Absurdity, Allegory and China, you should be. It just did an excellent post, entitled, “One Flu East,” on what could happen to you if you come to China with an elevated temperature or even if you just come in on a plane near someone with an elevated temperature. The gist of the post is that you will be quarantined and there will be no special dispensations.
The implicit message of the post, and one which applies to foreign businesses in China as well, is that once the Chinese government gets committed to something (and I mean really committed), it is difficult if not impossible to budge them. There is this idea that “guanxi” or just blame importance can cause the government to bend and that can be true. But there are certain central tenants that can take hold within the government that can become pretty much immutable. I do not know how many times I have had to tell foreign companies that do business in China that they have gone beyond the point at which my law firm can help them. Their response is oftentimes to complain about how Chinese law places “form over substance,” to which my reply is usually, “yes they do, and that is why it is so important to follow it….”
So with the Swine flu out there, what’s the best way to get into China from the United States or Europe? What sort of monitoring is going on for those entering China via Hong Kong by train/bus/ferry/taxi?

  • Lao Qiao

    One aspect of H1N1 quarantine which I haven’t heard reported in the mass media is the “voluntary” quarantine that the Chinese government may insist on. One traveler’s story is here: http://lawandborder.com/?p=482.

  • Anon

    You can add Canada to that list. They seem to look at Canada and the US in particular. I did multiple entries between HK and China on the Guangzhou-HK train without any issues but I have heard it is easier to get through there in Guangzhou than Shenzhen by train.
    Silk Road had a good post on the issue. Don’t volunteer that you have been on a plane from Canada or the US within the last 48 hours as a starting point (preferably not within the last 72 hours). If you pass through HK I severely doubt that they have the ability to check where you sat on the plane from US/Canada to HK. Flying direct into China I think is more hazardous though in this regard.
    I suppose if you were really feeling sneaking one could also make sure that the seat number you filled in on the white form was far away as possible from anyone who seems to have any symptoms of a cold or flu (but somehow that feels like it crosses some type of line).
    The setup at the border in Guangzhou is that you first pass through the health officials and hand in your white forms that you fill out and the first thing they look for if you carry a US/Canadian passport is the date of departure from US/Canada (even if it’s not within the last 7 days). They haven’t once looked at my passport to verify these dates and I passed through at least 8 times in the last 3 months.

  • Bourgogne

    G5…

  • ceh

    “…there are certain central tenants that can take hold within the government that can become pretty much immutable…”
    Ah! Central tenants! You must be referring to the CPC!

  • Edward Lehman

    It seems like the overreaction has stopped — even as H1N1 cases rise. Go figure.

  • http://blog.woodsb.net/ Woods

    Two weeks ago, I took a from NY to SHA, arrived early (5AM) so the medic team was not there yet. There were no control, just the form to fill.
    I also entered China through HK around may 5th the weekend of the first case of H1N1 in the island. There were just too many people at the border so that they could only take the form, but it still took ages to cross.
    – Woods