questions and checks at xinjiang border

All about China. Expert: bwv812
nielba
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:46 pm
x 12
x 9

questions and checks at xinjiang border

Postby nielba » Sat Aug 17, 2019 2:50 am

I'm soon planning to cross from Kazakhstan to China and I would like to have some info about what might happen at the border..

first, do I need in advance an hotel reservation..?! in urumqi let's say..?
second, do I need to have a precise and exact route..? or is it better..?
third, is it ok to say you will exit China overland in Vietnam/Laos..?
forth, is there a way they might know my original plan I submitted when I applied for the visa (back in my own country)..?! in that case I should just say I have changed it..?! officially I don't think you have to communicate it..

and I am a little concerned about my pics.. I have nothing to hide, on my camera there are only landscapes and street, but on my phone I have photos with friends and in general people from all over the world, sometime not lookin exactly Caucasian.. nothing related to me and Islam, but for example should I lie about a friend being Turkish if they ask..?! they know anyway I have been in Turkey and all central Asia anyway..

I have spoken with few people about that in the past days and it only gets you more nervous..
0 x

AreWeThereYet?
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:29 pm
x 15
x 89

Re: questions and checks at xinjiang border

Postby AreWeThereYet? » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:50 am

Hi Nielba

I did the 'easy' border crossing, the one between Kyrgyzstan and China at Irkeshtam. Here are my tips.

1) Hotel: YES. I've got my passport checked 15 times during the crossing and, together with Passport, EVERY time they asked me a hotel reservation. Maybe it's because passport and hotel are the only two words many can say in English (can't fault them, I don't speak neither Uyghur nor Chinese) but in my experience I've ALWAYS been asked them. I found Booking.com fairly useful in this sense because not only you can book and pay at the property - and cancel a day before without charge - but they also allow you to print the address in the local language. Works wonders if those reading are Han Chinese - a bit less if they're Uyghur, for it's gobbledygook for most of them (which makes haggling with a cab driver in Kashgar super fun!)
2) Precise route: maybe. I had different hotel booking printouts and those were my route; they were very useful in explaining myself to the customs officers, but I didn't have the impression that, without them, they wouldn't let me through. I think that if you can show them when you're getting out of Xinjiang they stop worrying. So if you have a booking someplace else, or a train ticket, that takes you out of Xinjiang that'd be helpful.
3) Exit: I had the distinct impression that they only cared about my time in Xinjiang. Are you a cyclist or somebody with your own wheels? If so they'll understand you're going overland.
4) Nah. I applied for my visa in London with a miles booking for a return flight HKG-PVG and a cancellable booking (on booking.com) for a 5-star hotel in Shanghai. I cancelled both as soon as I got the visa and no one said anything. The only question I got was why I got my visa in London when I'm not British; but since that's where I live, they let it go.

Photos. They will ask you about whether you have more than one SD card on you, and you better admit if you do; they X-ray everything. And they'll check photos, both on cameras, mobiles and laptops. The less pictures you have the better it is, for it's quicker for them to check, but I wouldn't worry too much about people. I passed the border with a lot of photos on my phone, most of them being of friends and relatives of many different ethnicities and nothing was a problem. I even had photos of Kyrgyz soldiers and they said nothing. In fairness I was asked only about 2 sets of photos: one of the abandoned airplanes in Osh, Kyrgyzstan (they asked: "Kyrgyzstan?", I said "Yup" and they nodded) and of some photos from Chile I had left from a previous trip. They saw snaps of volcano Licancabur and of vicuñas and they all got VERY excited, so I had to draw a map of the world and show where they were from... but I think it was mostly out of interest. I doubt that anything overly religious, anti-Chinese or so on would be problematic.
2 x
www.awtytravels.com
Stories from the road.

StephParis
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:21 pm
x 13
x 17

Re: questions and checks at xinjiang border

Postby StephParis » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:05 pm

Hi

First, thanks for your previous answer. As I plan to enter Xinjiang in a few days, it's very usefull to me too.

Secondly, as there are very few people posting about Xinjiang, I have an extra demand for you. Do you know about current situation in Kuqa/Kuche ? I'd like to go, but recent news aren't very clear : is the city open or forbidden to foreigners ?

Thanks for your help anyway !
0 x

BakuBound
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:34 pm
x 8
x 55

Re: questions and checks at xinjiang border

Postby BakuBound » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:05 pm

Remember, they care far more about your photos when leaving Xinjiang. Safest is just to never pull your phone out on the street. Their cameras are everywhere and will surely pick you out.
0 x

AreWeThereYet?
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:29 pm
x 15
x 89

Re: questions and checks at xinjiang border

Postby AreWeThereYet? » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:15 pm

StephParis wrote:Hi

First, thanks for your previous answer. As I plan to enter Xinjiang in a few days, it's very usefull to me too.

Secondly, as there are very few people posting about Xinjiang, I have an extra demand for you. Do you know about current situation in Kuqa/Kuche ? I'd like to go, but recent news aren't very clear : is the city open or forbidden to foreigners ?

Thanks for your help anyway !


Hi Steph

sorry can't help you with Kucha. I only went to Kashgar and Ürümqi.
0 x
www.awtytravels.com
Stories from the road.

AreWeThereYet?
Posts: 108
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:29 pm
x 15
x 89

Re: questions and checks at xinjiang border

Postby AreWeThereYet? » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:19 pm

BakuBound wrote:Remember, they care far more about your photos when leaving Xinjiang. Safest is just to never pull your phone out on the street. Their cameras are everywhere and will surely pick you out.


I don't agree.

Nobody checked my photos after leaving the region and I had my camera out almost all the time (but for when I passed the border). Sure, I made an effort never to take photos of security installations, cops, cop cars, soldiers, local guards and very conspicuous CCTV installations, but apart from that no one ever bothered me for my photos or asked me to delete anything. I even spent an hour trying panning in front of Mao's statue in Kashgar and, once they understood what I was trying to do (I'm a lousy photographer) one Han fella gave me a hint on the right shutter speed.

Result:

Image
0 x
www.awtytravels.com
Stories from the road.

nielba
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:46 pm
x 12
x 9

Re: questions and checks at xinjiang border

Postby nielba » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:45 am

Thx for your answers..
if it is better having few reservations won't be a problem.. i usually hitchhike but I'll see how's after the border and decide, probably going just to catch the train to urumqi..

About photos i Just have one camera and one backup sd card, with the exact same photos.. other than something let's say more personal (selfies, silly photos etc) on my phone..
0 x

murg
Posts: 109
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:22 pm
x 9
x 78

Re: questions and checks at xinjiang border

Postby murg » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:06 pm

Our phones, GoPro, Netbook & 4 additional SD Cards where checked at Irkeshtam. Took more than one hour, Spy App was installed in phones
The phones where checked every das at least one at Checkpoints.
When leaving at Tashkurgan the phones where checked again but Not the other devices.
We took Pics at Irkeshtam Border compound, Pics of cctv Installation on the KKH.... Nothing happened.

Besides, the constant biometric Pics taken & luggage Scans (or manually searched) at the Checkpoints & the digitally taken fingerprints at the hotel reception are far more annoying
1 x
Riding the globe (well, at least some parts)
living in Germany

rhinomaxil
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:45 am
x 3
x 31

Re: questions and checks at xinjiang border

Postby rhinomaxil » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:33 am

About the situation in Kuqa: i’m here presently so it’s definitely not closed to foreigners. Although I might be the only one...
1 x

StephParis
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:21 pm
x 13
x 17

Re: questions and checks at xinjiang border

Postby StephParis » Mon Sep 02, 2019 9:49 am

rhinomaxil wrote:About the situation in Kuqa: i’m here presently so it’s definitely not closed to foreigners. Although I might be the only one...


I was there last week. The most sensitive city so far...
1 x


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post
  • Two passports at Xinjiang border
    by Blindcapitals » Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:01 pm » in China
    3
    1036
    by richard mole View the latest post
    Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:58 am
  • Police checks in Kyrgyzstan
    by Mirmiru » Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:23 pm » in Cars and motorbikes
    6
    1064
    by mazeno View the latest post
    Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:40 am
  • Camping in Xinjiang
    by roro » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:09 pm » in China
    8
    9668
    by steven View the latest post
    Wed Dec 12, 2018 6:54 am
  • VPNs in Xinjiang
    by Renangreinert » Tue Jul 09, 2019 8:20 am » in China
    9
    1683
    by blakep76 View the latest post
    Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:06 am
  • Cycling in Xinjiang
    by edoardo » Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:50 am » in China
    12
    3841
    by Road to Frame View the latest post
    Thu Jan 23, 2020 12:22 pm

Return to “China”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest