Wuhan Urban Management Bureau has revealed its latest initiative to promote the image of its law enforcement officers, as the public's perception of the bureau's work remains low.
The Wuhan bureau, in Hubei Province, announced it will promote 20 officers who perform their duties well and punish 10 officers who have the worst performance every year. In serious cases, the officers can be fired, the bureau said.
The bureau is said to be working on a by-law to regulate the work of the city's chengguan, the urban management officers whose normal work is patrolling the street for illegal vendors and checking small shops for infringements.
Peng Xizhe, dean of the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Fudan University, told the Global Times that Wuhan is making a meaningful effort to explore a better way for chengguan to do their work, against the background that there are often sharp conflicts between chengguan and street vendors.
"The conflicts are mainly due to a lack of detailed regulations," Peng said, "the existing laws and regulations don't say clearly whether street vendors are legal in many specific locations in cities."
Zhao Yang, a chengguan from Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, told the Global Times that he fully supports such policies. "Strict regulation helps to improve chengguan's public image," said Zhao, adding that more details should be provided in the regulation to help gauge chengguan's behavior.
Wuhan urban management authorities have tried different tactics to improve the image of their officers in recent years, after many reports appeared of chengguan across the nation having resorted to violence to enforce the rules.
In June 2009, 50 Wuhan chengguan gathered at a restaurant and stared at customers eating outside until the owner took the tables off the sidewalk, the Chongqing Times reported. In October, 2012, officers gave gifts of roses when shop owners complied with regulations, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
And earlier this month, two Wuhan chengguan were revealed to have worked undercover as street vendors at night markets, to better understand the lives of those they must deal with every day.