I’ve been travelling quite a lot lately and yesterday when I came to the immigration desk at the airport the guy behind the counter gave me and my passport a long glance. Suddenly he said (in English):
-So, can you speak Chinese?
-Yes I can, I quickly replied (in Chinese).
-Where do you study?
-Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University in Suzhou.
-Huh? Never heard of that.
-No, it’s fairly new. I used to be at Suzhou University but I recently swapped to Xi Jiao.
He then went on to ask me some detailed questions about where I am living and so on. All in Chinese. He spoke quite fast with no smile on his face.
I answered all his questions without any problems and then, finally he said:
-Yeah, you really can speak Chinese. Good.
….and I was let through.
I wonder if this is a new check-up procedure for people entering China with a student visa? This is the second time I get language “tested” by immigration people. Should I now expect the police to knock on my door to see if I am really at uni during the days?
(However, what I wonder even more is what they do if they bump into a person entering China on a student visa and realize that s/he cannot speak Chinese?)