The Chinese Reaction to the Wedding
and the last Chapters
To: Dad (via modem)
March 13, 1990 © 21:00
I guess you would like some more details as to what's been happening.
Please read this carefully as there is a lot of important information.
Two weeks ago I said I was getting married.
Two days laterI told you that I got fired. I wasn't really surprised by the action (or reaction), however I was worried that things would get really difficult and I didn't have much time. As a friend said,"Now you'll get a chance to see more of China's government."
A lot of things have happened, but not much has changed.
The school has fired me to basically cover their ass, but they don't seem to have done anything else. Talking to the US Consulate in Shenyang and someother Americans I was getting readyfor a fight. Like I said, though, the school doesn't seem to have done much else.
Because of the action by the school Haning and I will begetting married as soon as possible. The Civil Affairs Office in Dalian performs the cermony every Tuesday and we have all the information and forms and medicals and whatever we need exceptfor one. That is a letter of introduction from Haning's Unit;and her unit it this school.
Typically a unit will screw around until they have covered themselves before they get the letter and in some severe cases they harrass sometimes the foreigner, usually the Chinese or both. The school hasn't done anything yet. But I don't trust them. I've heard "war stories" about foreigners trying to marry a Chinese. So far nothing has happened at all since the school has let me go. I still have a phone, I get my mail and even my newspaper, students are still able to talk to me and don't seem to know what's going on. The school hasn't said anything to her and other then gossip, no one has caused any trouble (yet...). But I still don't trust them.
If things did get touchy then I have the consulate and pieces of information that are potentially really damaging to the school. But that's only at last resort. I think they know it's in their interest to do this is quiet as possible. So for nowI'm sitting back pretty quietly.
My simple feeling is that we will get the letter from the school in a few days or so. BUT, I'm not planning on it and I am making other plans if they screw around or try to make trouble.
So I have gone all over Dalian and back up to Shenyang to the Consulate to get things taken care of. But the most important thing, the letter of introduction from this school, has yet to come. Like I said, a lot has happened, but not much has changed.
I have contacted the consulate and had to go back there because I needed another offical letter. I think that they wil lbe quite supportive. In fact they are another story in themselves. Also the American that I mentioned before, Bill Young (aka "Peg Leg"), from McDonnell Douglas (MDC) China is being really helpful.
My current position.
I feel that it is important that I remain in Northeast China until we both leave for the US together. My presence gives a form of protection that she may need. So now I am trying to find a way to do that.
My status is both good and bad.
$600 in the bank in the US;
Almost $300 (US) here;
About 1500 yuan RMB;
My truck worth $2000 to $3500;
I should receive $477 on Federal and State Income Tax.
So I have money, but not big $$$. The truck forms a buffer if I have a problem.
I hope that we will be married in within few weeks. Once we are married it should take three to six months to get a US visa. Within that time she should get her passport. These time lines are estimates on average. But things can always go wrong.
So I am trying to get two things. A place to live and a job to make living expenses in China. Here are my options from least favored to most favored:
1) I could return to the US on or about April 5th with theAirline ticket that they give me. (If I remain in China I don'tknow or think that they will give me the Airline ticket to do with as I please.)
2) I could live in her families home, if possible teach English part time.
3) Find a part time teaching job that pays enough to live in a foreign guest house at a school. A foreign guest house around here goes for about $6.50 a day, that's pretty expensive when a part time job might not even be able to cover this. There is a school in Dalian that I heard was looking for a part time teacher, but I'm not sure if that's correct and if the school I'm at now will blacklist me or if other schools care about that.
4) Find a full time teaching job that gives me a place to stay. Shenyang Teachers College said that they will come to visit me. Again, if the school I'm at now doesn't blacklist me then I thinkI have a good chance at that job. (I should know in a few days.)
5) I could study Chinese language at a school in Dalian. This is what I would like to do the most, but it is expensive. They want$700 (US) for four months of study and $3 (US) per day ofresidence and another $3 for food. I would like to do this so Icould learn the basics so I could talk to Haning in her language,although her English is quite good and we don't have any problem talking to each other. But that would be about $1400 to $1500 for that time; unless I want to sell my truck (if you haven't sold it already and I don't really want to) then I can't afford it. But, if I can't find any place to stay then I can stay their they want US dollars, they don't care about much else about anyone's past!
This last one is sort of a dream, but an expensive one. If I get back into a corner it is an option, we have talked about me living at her home and studying that would knock as much as halfoff the costs. Number 4 is actually the best of choices, it keeps me in China, gives me a place to stay and brings in some money. So now I got to find a job!
We also have to pay for a trip to south China, Guangzhou,for her Visa interview and then two airline tickets back to theUSA. We think that China Airlines will let her pay in RMB (localcurrency). If that is so then she has enough money to buy her own airline ticket. If I keep the US dollars I have now and Iget the tax refunds I am expecting then I should be able to buymy own ticket with no problem either.
Neither one of us are poor now, but we are trying to plan for the costs later. In fact, because the school won't allow me to have anyone stay overnight and we are trying to watch our money and can't afford a hotel room, we aren't even sure if we will be able to spend our wedding night together!
I suppose someday that this will all seem really romantic. (Actually, now it is a little romantic, and a lot more interesting than romantic.)
So, if you haven't sold the truck yet then hold off on that for a while. But if money gets too tight then I might ask you to continue to try to sell it. I paid $2000 for it and you shouldbe able to get that pretty easily if I needed money quickly. The engine still has low miles, a new transmission(s), and mag wheelsthat I feel it's worth $3000 to $3500. But, I don't want to have to replace it if I come back to the US.
My plan for the future is try to get a full time teachingjob in Shenyang or Dalian. That gets me some income and a placeto live. Next, try to keep the airline ticket that this school wants to give me to leave China, but they may balk in giving it too me if they think I'm not leaving China.
After that, we wait for passports and visas to come and probably start mailing via sea mail some of our stuff that isn't important but want to have in the US.
If everything goes well then we should be coming to the US in three or so months if I don't get a job or early July if I doget a teaching job.
I asked mom about living in the cottage. Is that possible?
I'm trying to do this without asking to borrowing any money from you or anyone. We're trying the best we can.
I received mom's package today. Thanks. I really enjoyed it. Please tell mom that it is ok to open my official mail, I won't call the fed's on her. I would like her to check it first. Although my tax stuff arrived here with no problems and is actually helpful, I don't think those things should get sent toChina for fear they might get lost in the mail.
Taxes! I am mailing you an envelop with my taxes filled out, please forward them to Federal Government and Colorado Government. I didn't want to use the official envelops to draw special attention. If you don't receive them before the taxdeadline, April 15th, then file for an extension with an explanation of my situation. I should be getting $367 fromfederal IRS and $110 from the state. That helps!
Please let me know when you recive that letter, it will putme at ease.
I sent a letter last week that was a one liner to see ifmail was still getting through, I had no idea if my situation was bad or not. So ignore the letter, just me know if that one get sthrough also.
I will try to include a short biography of Haning so you can know who I'm gonna marry. That would be nice, huh?
I will also have a piece about that virus vaccination that Imentioned before. I understood what you meant about everyone is selling virus vaccinations, but maybe this one might be interesting. Do what ever you want and let me know and I'll send the message along.
By the way, I met another American Teacher in Dalian and we got to talking. His father was a 1950 West Pointer how went to Korea directly. His name was J.J. Baughn. I'm not sure of the spelling on the last name. Small world though isn't it. Does that name remind you of anyone? My friend, his son, is called Mark and grew up in Providence Rhode Island.
I received an amazing compliment the other day. The MDCengineer, Bill Young, asked me to help him in his writing. He said that I was a better writer then he was. Can you imagine anyone asking me to write for them!Üj_ÜŒ
I guess that's about it for now. If you read this and it still doesn't answer your questions then you can give me a callback. I'm just spending all my effort to get married now! end of message
(Now the below account was first posted on Metanet's Web site in Virginia. To enlighten those who use that service. They had been fascinated to follow son Ed's adventures in China, from the time he landed there and immediately was confronted by the revolt of the students in Tienaman Square. Copied here}
THE CHINESE SOAP OPERA CONTINUES
As we last modemed into Dalian, China, Xiao Ed was in a
precarious position trying to marry Zhou Haning, a beautiful
Chinese girl who teaches English at the Liaoning Foreign Trade
School, over the bureaucratic obstacles being put in his way
by officials, with his visa period running out and his position
getting ever more precarious in that still-dangerous country.
For without an official reason to be in country he would have
to leave by April 5th, and perhaps be separated from his true
And we all were left hanging over the fate of young Bin Ai, the
14 year Chinese boy left stranded when his parents became persona
non-grata back in China after speaking out in America while on tourist visas
in support of the Tienaman Square, and they could not return.
With electronic derring-do, his uncle in the United States
desperately called on the Cowboy Cursor (me)to send delicate,
essentially uninterceptable, modem messages to Xiao Ed to secure
his help in getting the boy out through Shenyang so he could
join his parents before he could never leave in the face of
the evermore tightening screws of the Chinese government.
Well, guess what? Ed came through with the Consulate interviewing Bin Ai’s grandmother, agreeing he could travel to the US to join his Chinese parents in Colorado!
In this episode, a whole series of events occurred in close
proximity to each other, laying down the basis for yet other,
future exiting events in this exiting true tale of
>>>>>>>>>>> CHINA BY CURSOR <<<<<<<<<<<<<<
The Tall Boy with the Dark Eyes
Late at night on March 21st, just two nights ago, a United
Airliner set down on Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, and
a lot of people breathed a huge sigh of relief.
For aboard was Ligou Ai, the brother of the parents of Bin Ai,
who risked going back into China to bring out Bin Ai and his
grandparents who had proper visas to come to America permanently.
After receiving a 'last phone call' from Ed in China, I went
to the Yen Ching II restaurant to see for myself if the boy was
safely in the United States, before announcing it.
When I got there the lovely sister of Ligou Ai, who manages the
fine large restaurant met me with a huge smile. She recognized
the Stetson as I walked through the door. She said "Do you want
to see Bin Ai?" I said "Absolutely". And we went back into the
kitchen where standing at a sink, water up to his forearms,
washing dishes as any dutiful son should be doing, and only
one day after coming out of his harrowing isolation in China
was the tallest, most handsome young Chinese youth I could
ever imagine. Rich black hair over a smooth young face, but
with a dignity and calm beyond his years that took me aback, not
understanding a word being said in English, he smiled when - in
Chinese - they told him I was one part of the 'modem lifeline'
and the father of Xiao Ed who got him out.
I met his parents who were ecstatic over having their son safely
with them in the great embrace of America.
All I could say was "What a fine, fine boy." I don't know what
I expected, a much shorter, smaller Han Chinese boy I guess, but
seeing his tall father I realized I was looking at a true
descendant of those tall, dignified, northern Chinese whose
genetic roots went back thousands of years, who never, through
the wars and domination of first the Russians, then the Japanese
Germans, British, and Han Chinese ever lost their identity and
We then shook hands all around, and I asked what grade level he
would be in, and was answered "Junior High School".
So, recovering from my emotional meeting with this handsome
Chinese lad who will begin a life in America that will change
his life, and those of his distant relatives back in Shenyang
Province forever, and from his striking handsome appearance
that just made me realize I was looking at the world's youth,
I sternly lectured his parents that, seeing it was a personal
computer in the hands of a boy named Ed, who first learned in
Junior High the skills that led to Bin Ai's rescue, that above
all they must insure that he learns the art of computers and
telecommunications just as surely as he was taught the ancient
Chinese arts. So that he might help his own people break out
of their long difficult past.
They nodded vigorously when what I said was translated into
Chinese, the boy looked at me with his beautiful dark eyes
without changing expression, sensing, perhaps, that this
big American with the strange hat meant what he said, and
that somehow he would have something to do with his education
The Plug is Pulled
So on the very day, that modem-rescued Bin Ai, completed his
journey from Chinese purgatory, Ed made his last call from
the ancient Chinese telephone in his room. And the plug was
For in the morning he would be moving out of his rooms at the
Foreign Trade School. And if all went well he would be married
on Saturday, the 24th, in a civil ceremony, to Zhou Haning,
and would stay at the house of her parents in Dalian for two
days. Then they would travel as quickly as possible to Shenyang
to start the 3-6 months process of getting her immigration
papers started at the American Consulate.
But with only 12 days to go until, on his 'teaching' visa at
the Foreign Trade school, which was terminated for the audacity
of marrying a Chinese national and therefore being such a bad
'moral example' before the brain-washed students at the school,
(The sympathetic US Consulate smiled and said something about
their penchant for 'Cultural purity' - a hangover from the
Cultural Revolution) resourceful Ed had covered lots of bases.
Take a $900 course in Chinese at the Dalian Foreign Language
Institute and thereby get a student visa? Fly out to Hong Kong
where Assistant Editor of the Asia Electronic Journal, Russ
Arensman - who followed the "Ed in China" story by modem while
he was a high-tech reporter in the US - offered Ed a place
to stay while getting a tourist visa to go back in? (apartments
cost $1,500 a month up in Hong Kong).
Or, to accept a position he had been offered a few months
before by the Head of the Electrical Engineering Department at
the University of Sichuan in Chengdu China (scene of major
outbreaks during the June protests), 1,200 miles away in western
China, right up against the eastern end of the Himalyas an
Tibet. To perform as an Engineer and set up a new (to China) Sun Workstation
at the University, and establish a telecommunications link
with another university in Chongquing, 500 km away to the
south east. A job that could take 6 months. Separated from
his new wife after only a few days. But buying the time needed
for the wheels of government to grind out her permit to enter
the US and return with world traveller Xiao Ed to Old Colorado
City. And accepting a position which was initially itself
arranged by modem through the Well, in California.
During this last direct-call exchange this morning, Ed had
accepted the Chengdu position, and would be pulling the
plug on his phone in Dalian in a few hours. So a period of
modem and voice silence is about to descend on our fragile
link to the western wanderer in heart of the Middle Kingdom.
So as we wait with apprehension over that still uncertain and
alien country of 1 billion people under a repressive regime
for news of the actual marriage of Ed Hughes and Zhou Haning,
and actual arrival in an unsettled city high on the shoulder
of the Himalayas, next to Tibet, close by India, to do very
high tech things, we can but contemplate the first meeting
with the in-laws - a US retired Army Colonel who fought the
Chinese Army on the banks of the Yalu River 40 years ago,
and a retired Chinese Army doctor who treated the wounded on
the other side of in that bitter forgotten winter war, while
young Ligou Ai, watched wide-eyed from the doorway of a
thatched roof Chinese home very near the battlefield, and
neither Zhou Haning nor Edward Hughes destined to meet by
modem were even born.
I have a feeling this soap opera and continuation of Terry
and the Pirates is not over.
And expect the next modem tone to come out of Tibet when
we all fervently hope we will meet the cast of Cursor
Characters again, in good spirits and good health. And
wonder at what the little chips have wrought.
Meanwhile there will be a big celebration at the Yeng Ching II
Restaurant next week. And all who have followed this
adventure by modem are invited to attend.
We can only wonder what young Bin Ai will make of these
people who answer the call of the modem tone....