This morning, my coworkers and I enjoyed a significant delay on the green line of the Shanghai Metro. Apparently there was some kind of accident. Not only did it take a lot longer than we were used to to get on the train than we had experienced until this morning, the train only let us off several stops after our intended destination. On our way out of the station, a small mob formed around some of the metro staff who where handing out pieces of paper. It seemed important, so I made sure to get one for myself. The following link includes scans and an explanation of the document: http://www.sinosplice.com/life/archives/2012/08/09/letter-of-apology-from-the-shanghai-metro. In short, if you are late to work because of a delay on the metro, you can present this letter to your employer as a valid excuse.
Despite the terminology I often hear in the US, China is not a communist state. A “communist state” is actually an oxymoron because the absence of a state is part of what defines a communist society. Officially, China is a worker state, meaning that the working class has taken control of the state and is using it to progress toward communism, at which point the people will just abandon the state. But if the workers really are in control of the state, why do they have to present a note to their employers if they are running a little late? After 64 years of the People’s Republic, that is some dismal progress. Clearly, these notes are great little examples as to why the state is not a viable means of achieving worker liberation and communism. I am going to frame mine and hang it up in my cubical.