Volunteers help fellow expats stay within law

Updated: 2016-08-17 02:13

By ZHOU WENTING in Shanghai(China Daily)

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Ten longtime foreign residents in Shanghai's Chengjiaqiao area, where expatriates account for 30 percent of the total residents, work with police as volunteers to spread awareness of Chinese laws and rules among foreigners, especially newcomers.

These expat volunteers, including businesspeople, artists and students from such countries as the Netherlands, Argentina, Italy and France, will assist police in informing other expats to register with local police stations within 24 hours of arrival.

They also will help watch for violators of traffic rules, patrol communities to spot safety threats and warn expats about falling prey to such criminal activity as telecommunication fraud, according to police from Changning district, where Chengjiaqiao is located.

More than 170,000 foreigners now in Shanghai have lived and worked there for more than half a year, according to the municipality's police.

Lin Yi, a police officer in Chengjiaqiao, the 8-square-km area adjacent to Hongqiao International Airport, said one of the major problems in their work is that many foreigners tend to view Chinese laws based on their own mindset.

For example, Lin said, some foreign residents in the villa neighborhood pitch tents on the public lawn, which is allowed only within the fences of their house.

"So we need the volunteers to work as the intermediary between the foreigners and us," Lin said.

During an internship before becoming a volunteer, Habib Jan, 26, of Pakistan helped traffic police direct nonmotorized vehicles at an intersection in July.

"Some riders of electric bikes don't know Shanghai requires all such vehicles to have a license plate, and some nonmotorized vehicle riders go in the wrong direction. So I stop them and work as translator for the police officer," said Jan, who has been in Shanghai for seven years and is fluent in English, Mandarin and the Shanghai dialect.

Jan also helps police with security management in Shanghai Hongqiao International Pearl City, where he owns a shop that sells handmade carpets.