This is probably not going the get the hated chengguan any love, but one of their number has made a short video in the style of a popular recent television advertisement to try and “clear up some misunderstandings” surrounding his profession. His video probably did nothing of the sort, but you can’t fault him for ripping off another television advertisement to try and stem some of the overwhelming negative press his profession generates. Or perhaps you can.
China’s urban law enforcement officers, known as chengguan, don’t have a very good reputation. Regularly in the news for abusing and assaulting street vendors or blind beggars, the chengguan have been a feature of urban security for noncriminal administrative concerns such as noise control, parking and sanitation ever since 1997.
Yet theirs is a thankless job, for obvious reasons. But now one member of their ilk has had enough of all the “misunderstandings”. In the city of Changzhou in Jiangsu province, one chengguan by the name Jiang Yifan (蒋佚凡) enlisted a few of his friends and colleagues to produce a video of 1 minute and forty seconds. The front page of the Yangzi Evening News (扬子晚报) from Jiangsu province today reports on Jiang’s video, which can be viewed here. Described as a mild-mannered (文质彬彬) man, Jiang got tired of all the jokes and jibes that ensued whenever he told anyone about his profession. The style of the video is a straight-up copy of a recent advertisement from the cosmetics firm Jumei.com that became popular on Chinese television (see the Baidu Baike page here to view the video of this ad). With a series of slow motion scenes and phrases that appear in bold on the screen, the Jumei ad was all about triumphing in adversity, self-confidently overcoming obstacles to succeed in your own way. Hence the chengguan ad follows the same formula of slow motion scenes and commentary, which are the following (screen text in italics):
- Jiang and a colleague seem to accost vendors on the street with pointing arms and stern discussion – All you ever see are my extremely strict words
- A bowl of instant noodles is steaming on his desk, his wife is on the phone, he’s working overtime – But you don’t see all my tears and grievances
- A female vendor is cooking snacks on the street – You have your livelihood
- Jiang and his colleague are standing in front of the female vendor and writing stuff in their notebooks – …and I have my duty
- Other people on the street are laughing and pointing – You can be disdainful of my job
- Street scenes of traffic and buildings – But we can show you who is really making the city pretty
- Close-up images of Jiang working on a computer – Being a chengguan is destined to be controversial
- Jiang stands watch on the street – We are questioned and mocked wherever we go
- Jiang looks at himself in the mirror while putting on his uniform – But despite all this, even if no-one understands
- Jiang pushes open a door to face directly into the camera – We will march courageously onward
- Jiang looks sternly into the camera – I am a chengguan, and I can speak for myself
And all the while there’s dramatic music playing for effect. How’s that for a little chengguan pushback?
As Jiang himself points out to Yangzi Evening News, every day the chengguan are faced with numerous contradictions, and they will be blamed for whatever they do. People swear at them, and accuse them of meddling in other people’s business. What’s a poor chengguan to do?
Links and sources
Yangzi Evening News (扬子晚报): 常州80后城管自演自拍宣传片 “为自己代言”化解市民误解