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China+forums-visa=danger?

Hi everybody!
I’ll be in China soon just for leisure. I will obviously take a couple of pictures here and there, but nothing related to photojournalism.
While reading about the places I will visit I found an interesting topic I would like to know more about. And I thought “Ehi, I should ask someone if they want to have a chat about it, and maybe take some pictures!”. Yes, but how? I thought to visit he various forums which can be found on the net and host people living in China. I thought to write some sort of “ad” to ask people if they want to collaborate with me.
But…
But I don’t have a J-visa, and considered that I won’t be alone I don’t want to get into trouble.
What would you do? Do you think I can look on the internet for people who want to be interviewed?

by Alessandro at 2013-07-29 15:12:12 UTC | Bookmark | | Report spam→

You definitely don’t want to get a J-visa if you can avoid it. And to me at least it doesn’t sound like the purpose of your visit is journalism. Moreover, I don’t think what you are doing infringes the spirit of the visa. So you have the argument that you’re just on a minor tangent.

by Neal Jackson | 30 Jul 2013 18:07 | Washington, DC, United States | | Report spam→
Thank you, Neal.
So it’s not dangerous to do some researches and make appointments through the internet? My main concern is that somehow this may be not well accepted by the police… As stupid as it may sound.

by Alessandro | 30 Jul 2013 19:07 | Berlin, Germany | | Report spam→
‘’So it’s not dangerous to do some researches and make appointments through the internet? ’’ Depends what you are covering,it wont be dangerous for you to do research outside of China,but will be a different story when you start completing the work within China.We are starting to speculate now,as you have given us absolutely no indication what you intend to do.

by Phil Behan | 31 Jul 2013 00:07 | Subashi, China | | Report spam→
I’m not sure someone will reply to a ‘sort of ad’ on the internet. Depending on where you are, people could be curious to talk with a foreigner. Difficult to say more since, as said from Phil, there is no indication what you intend to do.

by Gregor rogerG | 04 Aug 2013 10:08 | Bologna, Italy | | Report spam→
Hi Allesandro, as others have said, it really depends on what you want to photograph. As for the research, I think there is no worries. I have lived and worked in China for the last 4 years, and never had a visa issue, or had a problem with the authorities. When I came in 2008 I worked on a picture story on the controversial South North Water Transfer, and despite having neither J visa (which would probably made it impossible to do what I did) nor speaking the language, I was fine.

The key I think is to keep things low key and be able to back down, if u run into authority. As long as you now covering corruption, serious pollution, peoples rights or sensitive political issues (Bo Xilai, etc) you should be fine. Generally the Chinese do not want to upset visitors to their country and are very hospitable. The most trouble you might get, is having some thugs follow you around, intimidating everyone – but generally not taking any action.

If you just doing some pictures on the side, I say there is no worries. If you have more details, I can give you more specific advise.

by Olli | 12 Aug 2013 09:08 | | Report spam→

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Participants

Alessandro , Alessandro
Beijing , China
Neal Jackson, Neal Jackson
(Flaneur, Savant and Scapegrace)
Washington, Dc , United States ( IAD )
Phil Behan, Photographer Phil Behan
Photographer
(Photographer)
Urumqi , China
Gregor rogerG, Photocraftmanship Gregor rogerG
Photocraftmanship
Rome , Italy
Olli, Photographer Olli
Photographer
Beijing , China ( PEK )


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