Here comes the fuzz

Updated: 2011-12-23 09:35

By Wang Xiaodong (China Daily)

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BEIJING - He has been cursed by street vendors as a "robber", threatened with a knife, mocked by passers-by, and teased by his friends.

It's not the life Song Zhigang envisioned when he graduated from a railway police college several years ago.

"I always pictured myself as a wandering artist, driving an SUV to different places and recording beautiful things with a camera," the 25-year-old said.

Here comes the fuzz 

Song Zhigang, an officer at the urban management squad in Haidian district in Beijing, displays his book on Monday. [Zhu Xingxin / China Daily] 

Now, he goes to different places, but as a chengguan - an urban management officer in the city who ensures regulations are being followed by street-side vendors.

"Today I still hold the dream of being an artist. However, we have to work to survive and it is only an ideal," he said.

China's urban management squads have made a notorious name for themselves in recent years, with news reports exposing their abuse of unlicensed vendors.

Such reports prompted Song to go online to "tell the true story of chengguan".

When he made his first post in a forum last October, he did not imagine it would attract half a million hits and lead to a heated discussion on the role of chengguan.

Neither did he anticipate these posts, recording his experiences on the street, would be published as a book, Here Comes the Chengguan, which was released last month.

"Danger is commonplace for us," Song said.

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