Chinese torture

April 12, 2010

The most complicated race on the calendar to date is China. The amount of red tape everybody has to wade through is incredible and unique to this race. As a photographer I’m categorised as a journalist and the Chinese government do not like ‘western’ journalists. A few weeks before the race the FIA give the Chinese a list of people who wish to attend, we then have to goto the visa issuers (not the embassy in the UK) and be interviewed. About a week later, if we are lucky, we will be granted a visa. As an apparent policy a large percentage of us will be refused for no reason.
So last week on the day I got back from Malaysia I headed into London to hand over a pile of paper and my passport. I’m in the very fortunate position of having dual nationality, if I didn’t there is no way I’d ever get a visa. Due to ‘non-naughty’ reasons I’m persona non gratia on my British passport especially as a journalist.
So I ‘passed’ my interview and waited for my visa which I was due to collect today. I made the trek back to holborn only to find my passport hasn’t come back from the embassy and the visa isn’t showing up on the system. I’m meant to be on a plane tomorrow morning, but not any longer. I’ve been told that the Chinese do not officially refuse visas, what they do is issue them, but too late to be used. It looks like that’s the position I’m now in.
All of this means that I’m not going to china for the race. So I’ll be watching the tellybox with the rest of you. For those that don’t already know there will be no Twitter updates from china due the ‘great firewall of china’ so it’s going to be a quiet race.


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