“A brilliant student I was. Calm and reserved. The name is Chris, Chris Laryea. I completed my tertiary education in University of Ghana Legon, with a Second-Class Upper honour in Psychology and Linguistics. The sky was the limit for me. I could only soar higher from here, but unfortunately my story unfolded in the wrong way. How could I have ended up in such a predicament? It was so avoidable.” These were my thoughts as I sat and waited in a Beijing cell, waiting to be attended to.
Three years earlier, I stepped onto Beijing soil, Chaoyang to be more specific, with a bright future ahead of me. I was there to do my Master Degree and take the whole world by storm afterwards. International Relations obviously was never going to be strenuous for me. I was smart, but studying in English in a non-English native country was the nut I had to crack. I could not speak Mandarin, neither was I looking forward to really learning it. Furthermore, studying the language would mean an extra year would be added to my academic stay; an idea I abhorred. Leaving home was the hardest thing considering the attachments I had, especially Maame Akua, my beloved girlfriend of two years, whom I loved so much. We had promised each other we were going to be together no matter the outcome. I honestly wanted to complete the course, get my certificate, bend a knee, and pop the question to her.
I was a very timid young man coming into this country, naive, reserved, and having been with only one woman. I had heard so many stories about that country, good but mainly bad. Now here I was about to experience it all for myself, though I considered it all mainly stereotypes. I settled in, mid September 2018, began lectures and there the story begins.
I met Jiang Nan three months later, at a school event in our main auditorium. She was a very pretty Chinese lady I wouldn’t lie. I had never particularly been attracted to Asian ladies prior to that moment, but with Jiang, I felt something; her beauty tickled my hormones. Pretty childish though, but I loved that feeling. We exchanged WeChat contacts and we got chatting immediately. She happened to be the daughter of a big time Chinese mogul, who owned several clubs and businesses in and out of Beijing. She was just 19 years of age, very intelligent, outspoken, and had some really deep dimples that I admired. She loved the opportunity of being with me as it helped her perfect her English. Actually, that was the whole idea; for her to learn some English, but I guess we ended up spending more time together and feelings began to develop.
We used to go out a lot. She took me to the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Glass Bridge, and many others. Within three months, I had visited almost every tourist attraction available in Beijing. I cooked for her on a couple of occasions with waakye being one of her favorite dishes. I also taught her how to make jollof, and she cooked that for me the few times I visited. We also went on dates. We had a Friday date special, where we randomly picked from A-Z, any restaurant of our choice. All this while, Jiang never complained that she was becoming a spendthrift – I guess maybe that was her love language along with many other Chinese women. – She spent so much on restaurants and pubs, and even took me shopping. She single-handedly changed my wardrobe of clothes, to very expensive clothes I never thought I’d be able to afford. I even made her buy a few clothes for my girlfriend back home – I lied she was my sister.
Jiang started developing feelings for me and I had started noticing. She would call me to talk for hours about nothing in particular. She wanted me to meet her dad, would send flirtatious messages at times and get extremely emotional whenever I disappointed her. The signs were glaring and obvious. I tried to ignore them, for I had one and a half more years to go until I was done. I planned not to entertain her feelings until my time in China was up, for nothing was going to come between me and my Ghanaian queen. On days when Jiang would hit me with the “what are we?” question, I would always dodge, until the day I asked her for a soft loan of ¥8000, equivalent to $1,200, to send home for my mother’s operation.
My mom had a swollen leg with an infection and needed an immediate surgery. I had no option than to resort to Jiang for help. She took me to her dad’s office to get the money. She introduced me as her boyfriend, and at that moment, I froze. I could not utter a word as I needed the money. He was a very friendly person, and warmly gave me a handshake, offered me a seat and had a chitchat. That conversation was worse than any job interview I had been to. I was really uncomfortable, and started sweating in an air-conditioned room. He asked about my intentions for his daughter. She was his only daughter and single handedly raised her. She was his diamond piece, gave her everything she asked for and always made time for her. “I really like your daughter.” I lied. “We’re really into each other and we want to see how far we can go with this.” I felt pretty awful saying these things but I had to. My mother was lying on her sick bed in Korle Bu Hospital and needed some money urgently for an operation in her leg. “My daughter tells me your mother isn’t well.” He said, in his not-so-good English. “I’ll be glad to meet her soon and alive. So, take this!” To my utmost shock, he had in his hand, a cheque of ¥20,000, which was more than double I had asked for. I shed a tear and thanked him for the kind gesture.
Some months after, Jiang and I were in a serious relationship, where everyone in my school knew about us. I became popular amongst the Chinese community in her year group. We got so close we were practically living together at a point. I had always been told Chinese girls are very clingy, I guess the rumours were true; Jiang could stay in my room for days, just cuddling and being so clingy. We would have sex several times a day and it was becoming outrageous. Of course, she always screamed Chinese words whenever we were having sex and it was always so uncomfortable, my neighbors had expressed their displeasure a couple of times. But I had to stick to the plan. I needed to please her in order to get whatever I needed and leave. Just as I was about to graduate and ready to leave, I was given the scare of my life.
Jiang and I had had several discussions about our future together. She wanted me to stay in Beijing to start a family with her and I agreed. That right there, was my biggest mistake. She made reservations for us to live together, even got her father to rent us a place. She was even willing to travel to Ghana once in a while with me just so I’m still in touch with my family. “How am I going to let her go? How am I going to run away from her now?” I thought. I questioned and hated myself for leading her on to this point where she became so attached, but I had to.
So, I picked one Sunday afternoon, the day after my graduation party which she had held for me. We went out for lunch, I sat her down, and broke the news to her. “Honey, unfortunately my family isn’t in agreement with us being together, I’m afraid we’ll have to break things off.” She immediately dropped her chopsticks and spat her food out into the plate. “Huh! What are you saying?” She asked. I could obviously tell she was not pleased by the news. I repeated myself and added my family wanted me back in Ghana immediately. Jiang froze for a few seconds, looked sternly into my eyes, and then broke down in tears. She had become red immediately as she took some tissue to wipe her tears. “Don’t go Chris! I love you. Stay with me, please!” Her words saddened my heart, I was not happy I was doing this to her. She did not deserve this. She cried the whole time. But there was no turning back for me, I had booked my flight already and had already started shopping for my family. I was going home and I was so excited.
I requested for a DiDi and took her home. She cried uncontrollably throughout the journey. The DiDi driver would turn a few times to ask what was going on, at least that was what I thought he was asking, as my Mandarin was really not good. I took her into my apartment, holding and comforting her. We got to my place, put on the air condition, and the first thing she did was kiss me. It was a long passionate kiss, then she looked into my eyes, and asked, “I won’t allow you to do this me!” She had hate in her eyes at this moment. Before I could hold her and comfort her some more, she had already started heading for the kitchen. She came back with a knife in her hand, and then started speaking Chinese. I was confused and scared. “What are you doing Jiang? Please please put that away!” I could not understand a word of her response. She was furious and was speaking a whole lot of Chinese that I could not comprehend. She held the knife closer to her and my heart skipped a beat. I drew a little closer but each time I tried; she would take a step further. I then got on my knees and begged her to stop this. She obviously did not listen, because all she wanted to hear was a statement saying I wouldn’t be traveling anymore. She then raised the knife to her chest and cut open her blouse. As if that wasn’t enough, she slit her wrist and smeared the blood on her blouse. Next thing I knew, Jiang was screaming her lungs out, as though she was being attacked.
Jiang had turned into something I had never seen before. She kept screaming until I heard someone bang on the door. He shouted some words in Chinese and Jiang responded with something I could understand, “bang wô” which literally means ‘help me.’ That was when I knew I was finished. I kept begging her to stop but she carried on screaming. Louder and louder she got until finally two men broke into the apartment, with one of them being security. One went over to help Jiang, while the other looked at me and said some things in Chinese while pointing at me as a warning. He then took out his phone and made a phone call, my heart was racing as I guessed he had called the police. At this point, I wanted to grab my passport and run, run far away wherever my legs could take me, for I knew I was finished. I tried to make my way into the bedroom to grab my things, but the other Chinese man grabbed me and pinned me to the ground like a criminal. I had my face to the ground, my hands spread out, and a knee on my back. About five minutes later, three police men badged in. That was how I was apprehended and taken into police custody.
There I was, seated on the floor of a smelly cell. Jiang’s father had just left the police station, screaming. I presume he was there to ensure the police locked me up for good. He was quite an influential man in the country, and was well placed to ensure that I be locked up for good. The Chinese justice system, I had heard, was just messed up and scary, where I was good as dead. Politicians are executed for corruption, robbers are killed in prison cells without trial, illegal immigrants are apprehended and never heard of again, the list actually goes on and it’s scary. Well, I was there to find out for myself if all those rumours were true. I was taken into a different prison cell the following day, for several days. I was not allowed to see a lawyer, neither was I allowed to make any calls.
I started praying a lot during that time. That’s when I drew closer to God, for He was the only one I could look to. I was starved of food so fasting was never an issue. I prayed without ceasing, for four months straight. I became so pale and got sick eventually. My family must have thought I was dead by then. They had not heard from me in four months. My mum must have cried wolf. My girlfriend must have thought I had moved on with someone else. My friends in Beijing must have grown tired of searching for me. I was told the prison I was in was not a famous one, and many inmates disappeared and died. There were just so many things running through my head. I was starting to lose it, I thought I was going crazy at a point. I talked to myself often, entertained myself, the nastiest things a normal person would hate, started to amuse me. I got sodomised by my cell mates a few times, raped until I bled in the anus some times. Prison life was certainly the worst period in my life. But God is faithful. He came through for me in the fourth month. I was released from prison and escorted to the airport by two immigration officers, who spoke English. I was given some clothes to put on while in the car and a loaf of bread and water as food. I was told that I was going home.
That was how I was deported into my homeland. I had come back home with nothing, looking very pale and carrying an unknown and untreated sickness. It’s been three months since my arrival and I am still traumatised, from all that had happened in Beijing. I’ve lost all my belongings, as I was not allowed to travel with any bags. But I’m pretty sure they must have been thrown away by now. I am here now, in Accra, to start my life from scratch.
Now, to anyone who is going to China for studies, please, I urge you, restrain from indulging in any sort of romantic relationship with a Chinese lady if you’re not ready to commit to her. I learnt my lesson the hard way, but you’re the reason I’m writing this. You have the opportunity to make things right. Just go there, do your thing, grab that certificate and leave. Chinese girls are very clingy and even more emotional than Africans, if you break a heart, you could land yourself in deep trouble. All the rumours I had heard about their women were true and I have experienced it.
And to Jiang, I forgive her for what she did to me. I am very sorry as well for breaking her heart this way. If she’s reading this, I would like her to know, that I am genuinely sorry for how I treated and misled her. It’s now time to put my life back on track and take on the world.