How I Was A Chinese Traitor

(不着四六 Blog)  I Helped To Defend The Rights Of A Foreigner And I Was Cursed As A Chinese Traitor.  April 21, 2006

(in translation)

The German fellow Frank is a big dude who has been in Beijing for only a few weeks.  He is learning Chinese at a language school.  Last Saturday evening, he went to Tiananmen Square.  He wanted to visit the Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, but the place was already closed by that hour.  A girl approached Frank.  She spoke fluent English, and she volunteered to be his guide.

She introduced the various buildings to Frank and she slowly brought them over to the railing at the Front Gate.  The girl said that there was an old Beijing teahouse nearby which as a good tea presentation show.  Frank said that he has never seen Chinese tea ceremony before and that would not be a bad idea.  So they went into a teahouse known as Baofulai.

They drank a few cups of tea, ate a few pieces of pastry and watched the tea ceremony.  The two of them sat there for an hour and a half.  When they asked for the bill, the amount was 1,940 RMB.  "I was very surprised at the time."  Frank made an exaggerated expression.  Still, in front of the girl, he had to take out his credit card and pay for the bill.

Then he and the girl went AA to split the cost, and Frank gave 1,080 RMB.

Later on, when he went back to his place, he thought about it and realized that the earnest volunteer tour guide might be colluding with the teahouse.  The next day, he went back to the school and asked his classmates, who said that this was rather common in China and many foreigners have been "slaughtered" in this manner.

Frank was very angry, but he did not even have a bill from the teahouse.  So he had no evidence.  So he called the bank which issued his credit card and, after some hassle, found out that the bill was charged to a teahouse named Baofulai at the Railing at the Front Gate.

Frank contacted me (note: the blogger is a journalist) through a friend, and so we were going to go to the Baofulai teahouse together.

A German is a German.  We arranged to meet at 130pm.  At 1:29pm, he called to say that he has arrived.  A Chinese is a Chinese.  I arrived at the subway at 1:31pm.  I saw that he had already purchased a ticket.  Fuck!  A foreigner is a foreigner.  They even go with the AA system on subway tickets.  Maybe he thought that it would be awkward for me, so he bought his own ticket first.

It was awkward along the way, because there was a language barrier.  My English was pathetic, and his Chinese was even worse.  So we finally arrived at the teahouse, which has an ancient touch about it.  Frank identified the service worker who served him and he produced the collected evidence.  The service workers admitted that she did not show Frank the rate card, but claimed to have explained the prices to the female companion.  "The woman said no problem to us."  She claimed that Frank drank six kinds of tea, at 100 RMB each.  Including the room and service fee, they accepted 1,080 RMB from him.

My accompanying photographer began to take photographs.  At that moment, an old Beijing man Boss Sang appeared and promised to refund 400 RMB.  "No, based upon up my calculations, there is still a problem with what you charge."  Frank took out a pen and began doing the accounting seriously with Boss Sang.  Finally, the two parties agreed upon a refund of 500 RMB.

As we left, Boss Sang said open-heartedly, "Let's be friends and have tea here next time."  Frank smiled at me and said that he wouldn't dare.  But I heard the boss mumbling under his breath: "This German devil is like the Allied Forces of the Eight Nations.  He is so serious even about looting.  And there are too many Chinese traitors around nowadays."

Ha!  So this boss is swindling people out of patriotism.  Sigh!  Patriotism, how many crimes have been committed in thy name?