Bringing a Softer Side to Policing in China

The chengguan, or urban management officers, who are often criticized for their brutal ways, are getting a makeover in Chengdu. From the New York Times:

Four barely-past-teenage girls in white gloves and identical olive jackets and pants snapped to attention. Four pairs of black pumps lined up ruler-straight. Four prim hats perched perfectly atop hair bound in blue and white striped bows.

“Personally, I think they are average-looking,” Mr. Tang said, dismissively. “Models are pretty.”

More than one government has tried to brush up the image of China’s urban inspectors. One city mandated that all new recruits have a college degree. Guangdong Province changed the gray-green uniforms to a supposedly more inviting blue.

Wuhan, in central China, substituted stare-downs for strong-arming: in 2009, one report stated, 50 officers encircled a wayward snack cart, glowering steadily for a half hour until the peddler packed up and left.

Xindu, an urban district of 680,000 in Chengdu, has chosen major image surgery. Since 2003, the district has supplemented its urban street police with 13 women, specifically chosen for their looks, shapeliness and youth. The idea is to give the rough-hewn police a softer, feminine side.

Read more about chengguan via CDT.

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