Chengguan, those salt of the earth, are pushing back against negative public perceptions of their profession. One particular urban law enforcement officer in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, Jiang Yifan, created the above video recently to “clear up some misunderstandings,” as Danwei’s Barry van Wyk writes. A couple of things though:
1. A video is in the style of an ad from cosmetics firm Jumei.com. We’re not going to linger on the fact that it’s essentially a rip-off, because whatever, everyone does it. But borrowing from a company whose purpose is to create products that mask blemishes, defects and distortions? Oh chengguan, do you even try?
2. Like all good propaganda, the ad creates an alternative reality where everyone is a model worker with only good intentions, and all problems are society’s fault. It acknowledges just enough of the real world — “Being a chengguan is destined to be controversial” — to make it believable, but absolutely glosses over real, actual problems with the system, one which puts individuals in the unenviable position of doing shit like this.
You know how to elicit sympathy? Show chengguan doing good work. Or a day’s work. Real work. At the very least, chasing chickens. We’d begin to understand, then, that there are individuals behind the uniform, and maybe are not simply a pack of tools, thugs, and petty thieves.