City Desk

Chinatown Passes for Shanghai in the FBI’s Eyes

The Chinese names adorning restaurants in D.C.'s Chinatown look authentic enough to pass for Shanghai—at least in a new FBI video warning American students studying abroad about the dangers of getting caught up in espionage activities.

As National Journal first reported, the FBI doesn't seem to have the most Hollywood budget when it comes to film production. The Northern Virginia-based Rocket Media helped with the production of the nearly 30-minute film Game of Pawns: The Glenn Duffie Shriver Story, which the bureau released yesterday. The film dramatizes the true story of Glenn Duffie Shriver, an American student studying in China who was sentenced to federal prison in the U.S. for attempting to provide national defense information to Chinese officials.

In the film, when the actor playing Shriver goes out in Shanghai at night, he's actually just hopping around in Chinatown. Specifically, Shriver seems to love to walk across the diagonal crosswalk by the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro station, which he does a couple of times in the film. The large "Friendship Archway," the entrance to D.C.'s Chinatown, is prominently visible, as is the large AT&T logo on the side of the company's store on the corner of 7th and H streets NW. Also on view: the Verizon Center and other Penn Quarter mainstays that have little or no connection to Chinese culture.

The Verizon Center was built in Chinatown in 1997, and the neighborhood has continued to transform from an ethnic hub to a pricey tourist destination with booming nightlife, expensive apartments, and fewer and fewer Chinese residents and establishments. But through it all, it seems the enclave has maintained its uncanny resemblance to Shanghai.

Watch the video below:


Photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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  • Art

    How about giving some minute marks where we can see Chinatown? Most people probably don't want to watch this entire video.

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  • http://Chinalawtranslate.com Jeremy

    Try Minute 1:09

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