We are, in spite of everything (slower Internet, mostly), looking forward to the upcoming National Congress that starts next Thursday, because it means we’ll get to see silliness such as pictures of photojournalists taking pictures (WHO WATCHES THE WATCHERS’ WATCHERS???), and there’s always the chance that someone will literally die out of boredom.
One thing we are most definitely not looking forward to, however, is this, via Shanghai Daily:
Workers and retirees have been mobilized to help maintain order and security before and during the meeting.
Wearing a red armband with characters “security patrol,” a photographer surnamed Chen is looking for business near a giant flower basket installed at the center of Tian’anmen Square, a must-see spot for many tourists.
Uhhhhhhhhh. You know, China had people running around with red armbands once. A lot of people still alive, living here, remember that time, actually. It was not swell.
“I have been taking shots for tourists for five years, and I am willing to be a security volunteer,” Chen said. “With this armband, I am authorized to stop bad behavior among tourists.”
Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Not comforting.
Yang Liping, 56, has been volunteering for a year, following retirement. Other than a red armband, Yang also wears a red vest and a red hat. On the back of the vest are characters, indicating that she is from the Beijing Association of Security Volunteers.
Let me get this straight: you’re using “security volunteers” culled from a population that is OLD ENOUGH to actually have LIVED THROUGH the Cultural Revolution, and not only that, but might have ACTUALLY BEEN RED GUARDS?
Look, this… how do I put this… Germans aren’t seeking out blond-haired, blue-eyed 90-year-olds and having them adorn black boots, black uniforms and Sam Browne belts, you get my drift?
“It’s an honor to be a volunteer, as I can do something that is helpful for society, such as patrolling around the subway exits and offering aid to those in need,” she added.
“Oh, and not murdering anyone,” she said. Then, with a wink, she added, “Hopefully.”