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Old March 16th, 2018, 04:05 AM   #1
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Forced to sign a document that limits my freedom of movement in China

Hello, im new in the forum and need some feedback about my current situation.

I'm participating now in 3 month program in China related to sports, the program is organized by Chinese private company and financed by a donation of Chinese government to my goverment, the goverment of my country through the national Sports Ministry are involved on it.

On first weeks they give us a document to sign entitled "code of conduct of sportsmen", one of the points in this document pointed out that: we were not allowed to go out to eat, and most importantly we could not leave the hotel without the authorization of the company (in summary).

I refused to sign the document (me and my team) based on the fact that by signing the document I renounced to my freedom of movement. After this my National Sports Ministry forced us to sign the document under the threat of removing support out to my sport. We sign under threat...

Company also ask for our passports to make some kind of paper work on police station (now mandatory in for foreigners in China), after this they retain our passports, i know passport retention is illegal in China so i ask for it, company refuse to give us our passports back, after hard claiming they give it back to us. After about 20 days they move us to another city, they need to made extra paper work on police station so ask again for passports and again try to retain it, this time they say that this was because our representative from national sports ministry ask for it. Again we get our passports after hard claim to company and after about four days illegal retention of it...

I really want to know if somebody may force us to sign a document to renounce to a right like freedom of movement, and what can I do or should I do about it?
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Old March 16th, 2018, 07:58 AM   #2
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I'm no expert, but I think you're screwed. In China can a foreigner be forced to sign away his or her rights? I'd say, you bet they can.

I'd leave the country as quickly as I could.
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Old March 16th, 2018, 08:13 AM   #3
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I'm no expert, but I think you're screwed. In China can a foreigner be forced to sign away his or her rights? I'd say, you bet they can.

I'd leave the country as quickly as I could.
Exactly. It is SOP in a communist government country to control your freedom of movement. They want to know where you are at all times. Of course if he is there just for sports activities in a specific location, this shouldn't be a problem.
And the fact he is being financed to participate, which I assume the travel expense are included, it is curious to me this is an issue for him, unless there are other motives he has for traveling there.
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Old March 16th, 2018, 08:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by alofer View Post
Hello, im new in the forum and need some feedback about my current situation.

I'm participating now in 3 month program in China related to sports, the program is organized by Chinese private company and financed by a donation of Chinese government to my goverment, the goverment of my country through the national Sports Ministry are involved on it.

On first weeks they give us a document to sign entitled "code of conduct of sportsmen", one of the points in this document pointed out that: we were not allowed to go out to eat, and most importantly we could not leave the hotel without the authorization of the company (in summary).

I refused to sign the document (me and my team) based on the fact that by signing the document I renounced to my freedom of movement. After this my National Sports Ministry forced us to sign the document under the threat of removing support out to my sport. We sign under threat...

Company also ask for our passports to make some kind of paper work on police station (now mandatory in for foreigners in China), after this they retain our passports, i know passport retention is illegal in China so i ask for it, company refuse to give us our passports back, after hard claiming they give it back to us. After about 20 days they move us to another city, they need to made extra paper work on police station so ask again for passports and again try to retain it, this time they say that this was because our representative from national sports ministry ask for it. Again we get our passports after hard claim to company and after about four days illegal retention of it...

I really want to know if somebody may force us to sign a document to renounce to a right like freedom of movement, and what can I do or should I do about it?
If you don't sign what penalty does China give. Bank of America forced me to let them take a picture of me and I hate getting my picture taken under any circumstance, but I let them do it to keep the peace.
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Old March 16th, 2018, 08:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alofer View Post
Hello, im new in the forum and need some feedback about my current situation.

I'm participating now in 3 month program in China related to sports, the program is organized by Chinese private company and financed by a donation of Chinese government to my goverment, the goverment of my country through the national Sports Ministry are involved on it.

On first weeks they give us a document to sign entitled "code of conduct of sportsmen", one of the points in this document pointed out that: we were not allowed to go out to eat, and most importantly we could not leave the hotel without the authorization of the company (in summary).

I refused to sign the document (me and my team) based on the fact that by signing the document I renounced to my freedom of movement. After this my National Sports Ministry forced us to sign the document under the threat of removing support out to my sport. We sign under threat...

Company also ask for our passports to make some kind of paper work on police station (now mandatory in for foreigners in China), after this they retain our passports, i know passport retention is illegal in China so i ask for it, company refuse to give us our passports back, after hard claiming they give it back to us. After about 20 days they move us to another city, they need to made extra paper work on police station so ask again for passports and again try to retain it, this time they say that this was because our representative from national sports ministry ask for it. Again we get our passports after hard claim to company and after about four days illegal retention of it...

I really want to know if somebody may force us to sign a document to renounce to a right like freedom of movement, and what can I do or should I do about it?

When in Rome do as the Roman's do. You are a guest in China and good manners demand you respect their ways. This can be a wonderful opportunity for you if you choose to be respectful of your host's different ways. For sure it will not be a wonderful opportunity if you do not.

If you fear for your freedom at the end of the 3 months, you have serious reason to be concerned and need the protection of your own nation. If I were you, I would be thankful of the opportunity to have a different experience and focus on having good manners. I would also express my concerns with the people who arranged this and suggest they prepare people for this cultural difference before they inside the borders of a foreign country. I can understand how you may feel disappointed and perhaps a bit timid about signing away your freedom of movement. This is a cultural difference.

Last edited by Athena; March 16th, 2018 at 08:47 AM.
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Old March 16th, 2018, 08:53 AM   #6
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When I applied for a Russian visa at the Russian embassy in Kiev, they demanded I surrender my passport for ten days. I looked straight at the embassy official and said, that's a personal document. I'm an American in a foreign country. What if I need to leave Ukraine suddenly, a family matter for instance?

The official, who feigned not understanding English when that was convenient, said no problem. We'll make a color copy of your passport. I said fine, make that copy, keep it, and give me my passport.

My wife chimed in, in Russian, to some weaselly looking guy who appeared to be in charge. They went back and forth, and then my wife tells me that either I surrender my passport, or they won't issue a visa. This is in 2012 btw, before any SHTF.

Later she told me he'd said she had no business saying anything, and if she continued bothering him he would have her forcibly removed from the Embassy. My wife was born in Russia and her first husband was a Russian Navy officer.

Had I not been in Ukraine - Ukrainians to a person had been open and friendly to me - and had we not needed a visa to visit some of her family in St. Petersburg, I might have walked.

Yeah, when in Rome do like the Romanians do, as Kingfish of the Amos 'n' Andy show recommended 60+ years ago, but sometimes doing so is a really creepy feeling.

Last edited by imaginethat; March 16th, 2018 at 08:55 AM.
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Old March 16th, 2018, 09:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
When I applied for a Russian visa at the Russian embassy in Kiev, they demanded I surrender my passport for ten days. I looked straight at the embassy official and said, that's a personal document. I'm an American in a foreign country. What if I need to leave Ukraine suddenly, a family matter for instance?

The official, who feigned not understanding English when that was convenient, said no problem. We'll make a color copy of your passport. I said fine, make that copy, keep it, and give me my passport.

My wife chimed in, in Russian, to some weaselly looking guy who appeared to be in charge. They went back and forth, and then my wife tells me that either I surrender my passport, or they won't issue a visa. This is in 2012 btw, before any SHTF.

Later she told me he'd said she had no business saying anything, and if she continued bothering him he would have her forcibly removed from the Embassy. My wife was born in Russia and her first husband was a Russian Navy officer.

Had I not been in Ukraine - Ukrainians to a person had been open and friendly to me - and had we not needed a visa to visit some of her family in St. Petersburg, I might have walked.

Yeah, when in Rome do like the Romanians do, as Kingfish of the Amos 'n' Andy show recommended 60+ years ago, but sometimes doing so is a really creepy feeling.
Get locked up in a Tong jail in China over a bowl of broccoli soup. Been there done that.

Last edited by imaginethat; March 16th, 2018 at 10:35 PM.
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Old March 16th, 2018, 10:14 PM   #8
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Thank you to all for your replies.

I Think there is a great confusion here.

First of all, China is a country that greatly restricts freedoms, but they have a law system, and the system of laws is respected and obeyed as everywhere else (with punishments if it is not respected). The system is very restrictive and punitive compared to the western world, but there are things that can be done and others that can not.

Passport retention for example is 100% illegal in China, I got advice about it and it can not be done, if someone (person or company) keep your passport in China you can go to police.

When im talk about freedom of movement i not talking about just travel to other city but something so basic as just go out from hotel and go (for example) to a park. The document i sign don't allow me to go out of hotel without asking first to someone from company, i they don't allow i just cannot go out. It is like a partial deprivation of freedom. Im in China with a M category visa, and i think this is illegal too.

The company is private, no relationship at all with China goverment who only pay for it, who force us to sign document was not China but Ministry of Sports of our Country (where freedom of movement is warranted).
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