Law student almost got arrested for attempt to capture cadre’s privilege moment

| January 30th, 2011

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With weibo (China twitter) roaring high in China, Chinese netizens are now more inclined to share their everyday incidents online with photos. Thus they are ready to take snapshots whenever they see something worth sharing or discussion. However, a law student from Beijing University almost got arrested when trying to take a photo of assumingly cadre’s privilege moment at the train station. The post was first saw on Beijing University BBS, and became topic of the day followed by massive reposting by many others.

“After the ticket checking in Tianjin railway station, I and other passengers were blocked by police from getting on our train. We were told to wait for a while but no one explained why. I took a look around and found the path from an escalator to the soft berth car was cleared. Then it hit me: this was the so called “traffic control” in China. My guess turned out to be correct as few minutes later several cadre-looking guys slowly descended from the escalator and strutted to the soft-berth car. “

The cadres walked slowly by, while the AVERAGE passengers with luggage waiting in the piercing wind. Thinking that this was a classic scene in China (that the government officers enjoy unreasonable privilege), I wanted to capture it with my mobile. But the moment I took it out, a police rushed to me and yelled: ‘No photos. Give me your phone now.’ A policeman in plain clothes also came over and asked me to come with them. “

Thinking this is absolutely unfair, the law student argued with the police and even showing her student ID card for the sake of showing that she was a lawful citizen. But all these effort went in vain. The police even mocked her, “You are a law student? Don’t make me laugh. In my opinion, you don’t even know law. I tell you what, even the journalist here have to get my permission first in order to take pictures.” The law student then got agitated. While the police grabbed her hand, she started screaming, “The police beat me!” That’s a classic line from movies when people and police get in a fight. The well-educated law student was surely terrified and desperate to turn to the line. As she screamed “like a fishwife”-as she describes in her post- more and more onlookers gathered around. The police finally had to let go of her.

Ironically, what finally saved her from the possible wrongful detention is not the legal knowledge she learns but the line from the movie and the pressure from the onlookers.

“As I finally seated in the train, I kept thinking about this whole incident. I have to admit that law and the rules in reality are two different things. I’m legal-illiterate in terms of the ‘law’ from that police’s mouth. What saved me is not the law I study in university, but my screaming. Also I want to thank all those onlookers there. This is the first positive effect of onlookers in China I know. I only hope next time the chengguan (city inspectors in China) confiscate the street vendor’s goods, people would also gather around instead of walking away indifferently.”

42 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. N. says:

    Well, street vendors ARE illegal. Most everywhere.

    Taking a photo of the cadre falls under the …. “endangering national security or usurping society’s harmony” which is a catch-all for anything end everything, or for nothing, depending on who does it, as to be determined by an illiterate, brainwashed chengguan or other security personnel, and never to be reviewed by a judge, which would be pointless anyway since they are all bribed and have 0 independence in deciding anything.

  2. Curren$y says:

    Welcome to China. Is she a foreigner studying in Beijing?

    • Not sure what the point would be of a foreigner studying law in China. Wouldn’t that be a bit like going to England for cooking classes?

      • Sorry, couldn’t resist.

        Anyway, the point of the article was the juxtaposition of this young (Chinese, I’m sure) law student’s naivete with the application of Chinese law–as actually applied in China. I’m sure this was more instructive than ten year’s worth of classes.

      • Mark says:

        Ha ha yes few people would go to England to learn how to cook unless they have some strong attachment to fish and chips and bangers and hash or go to China to study law as their is no rule of law in China.

      • John says:

        Some of the best chefs in the world are in the UK. Just sayin’

        • raul says:

          Not cooking English food, are they?

        • It was, admittedly, a cheap shot. The British have, in recent years, made notable efforts to rehabilitate their national cuisine. One hopes that the Chinese can make similar efforts to rehabilitate the credibility of their system of law.

          • Sarah says:

            What about all the michellin star restaurants in England? What about Jamie Oliver Gordon Ramsey etc etc? I suppose all them can’t cook right?

            • Mark says:

              Is their an English Cuisine? Substitute Cuisine for Cooking Classes. Cuisine as in national or traditional cuisine.

              Perhaps English Cuisine has an image problem. I had Rabbit pie, peas and mash potatoes in Vancouver British Columbia and it was fantastic. Yorkshire pudding and Prime rib is damn good, but lets face it Britain managed to colonize a lot of the world yet there are very few British restaurants internationally. The few English restaurants are colonial relics like an old British club in Rangoon.

  3. 柴纳闷 says:

    The ‘girl’ tried too hard to make her story credible. What happened to the badge number that was conveniently omitted from the original post?

  4. Mark says:

    The seemingly insignificant brutal actions of the police to one person in China will destroy its ruling party just as it did in Tunisia where the police harassed a street vendor. Witness Egypt.

    • Eidolon says:

      Never count your eggs before they hatch, I’d say. Tiananmen Square was supposed to bring democracy to China, but look what happened there. Mubarrack may still crush the protesters.

      • 2B-real says:

        Yeah but you dont see tanks and guns involved in riots anymore either. They have made crushing riots a work of art in china. Since then the Hans have been pretty content with the progress and direction that China has taken but. Those that are not happy are silenced but those that are not happy and not of Han decent are turned against and marginalized. They release the Chinese pop on the dominant residents of those groups and let them do all the deadly illegal actions first then point blame and prosecute the minorities.

        The ruler of Egypt isn’t going anywhere in remote future unless they get the military to coup but I don’t see that happening because it would have happened already. The only way for some real change is to over throw the force. That is where all powerful gov will win. The politician is nothing with out his guns. Notice they are still allowed to protest even after the early as fuck curfews? As of now they are severely defiant but not completely determined to go all the way. Same thing in Thailand. They just waited the red shirts out and its fury died down. They still want the change but people gotta go all the way or go back to work and do some real soul searching.

        The Chinese are simply too pussy, to content, to realize that they outnumber their Gov but you have to also realize that it was poor peasants that got them in this mess in the first place and if I were them I wouldn’t wanna turn the clock back another 60

        • Mark says:

          Yeah,

          It has been written that the CCP is scared shitless that at any moment they will lose control of the Chinese people. With the massive corruption in China, at all levels, and the simmering resentment of the masses, the moment the CCP can not deliver economic growth China will go the way of Egypt. Tunisia and Egypt imploded after the global recession added to the oppression and inequality.

          • Eidolon says:

            Again, you presume that Egypt/Tunisia will change fundamentally after the current governments step aside. This is not certain. Protests, riots, and even so-called revolutions come and go, but the results are not always change – or at least change for the better.

            • 2B-real says:

              Amen to that, as you see with China right? Or even Cuba huh. How about America? It started off pretty good but then they reverted back to the good ole times when the British were in power. The British were doing great but they went about it the wrong and pissed too many people off in the process.
              Fuck a revolution, its too messy. Fuck re-organization, state your gripe like they are doing but then chill out but still plea your case until you get what you want.

              I can only say that singapore went about it the right way after their break from Malaysian rule. They heard what the people had to say a few times and now the people are content with the direction they took the nation. The problem Gov forgets that the people are your money making machine that needs to operate efficiently (happy). If a few too many nuts and bolts come loose, you get the problem that America has which is are gears grinding and stuck in the same place for a long period of time.

              • Mark says:

                Authoritarian states always look better short term. As long as a free people have information through a free press never underestimate the power of a free people to understand and meet the challenges of their time.

          • mao says:

            @ Mark

            The Chinese people have their shares of revolutions already. The Chinese today are not the Chinese of 89′. Those old school folks now know that democracy cannot happen overnight like they thought back in 89. They know it’s a gradual process so there won’t be anything like 89 calling for revolution. The city folks won’t jeopardize what they got now…the living standard is way better than before. I’m surprise there is no mass demonstration in the US calling for new government where unemployment is a 10%, why’s that? Talking about corruption in the US..wall street..the banks..Chicago. The US is no better, it’s just there is not a lot of journalist willing to lose their high paying salary and career to dig up corruption in the government. The media and government in the US is powerful… your life, career will be over if any corruptions is brought to light..you know it. The US is decades ahead of China on monitoring its citizens..you know it. China still got people following its citizens on foot. While the US got GPS, RFID tags to track anyone in US and world. NSA got listen post all over the world to tap into your phones, you know it. In fact the US is more a police state than China because they can track, monitor, you anywhere. In fact I think my new license has a chip in it which probably the US government can track on top of my cell phone. China is no where that sophisticated. So in a sense…people in China are more free than people in US. Freedom is any illusion in US than. They dont care if you trash talk the gov cause they can track you anywhere you are and end your life and career anytime they want..it’s more subtle that you won’t even notice they government is behind it.

            • Mark says:

              You write that the U.S. is no better….stop the false comparisons to the U.S. The U.S. had better laws than China and courts than China when it was a colony of the British Empire complete with slavery.

  5. mao says:

    Big deal…every arm service members in every country..yes especially in the US gets special privilege. If you try to go around a cordon off area to snap a picture of US president…you can bet you arse gonna be taken away by the secret service and camera confiscated. This is another article to smear China.

    • Mark says:

      “this is another article to smear China.”

      Mao,

      No one needs to smear China, as it is widely reported that the Chinese government is doing a good job of doing that alone. The only problem is that your government can not kick around the international community with the same alacrity as they do their own people.

      Just for your information there are no secret vip’s in the U.S…..the rules are all public information and the President travels openly with a press corps pool which is allowed the photograph him at all times in public, so your comparison to Obama is ridiculous.

      • mao says:

        @Mark

        “The only problem is that your government can not kick around the international community with the same alacrity as they do their own people.”

        It’s not my government to start. Of course China can not do that yet because they don’t have enough nukes and economics power to do that to the international community like a certain country.

        “the President travels openly with a press corps pool which is allowed the photograph him at all times in public”

        press corps pool= means they have been screen to allow to travel with him to snap shots at. Someone like this “girl in this article” who crash a president press conference without credentials to take pictures of the president would not be allowed near the president. If she is caught ..she will be warn to stop and ask to leave. If she refuse she will be taken away immediately. Same thing with this gal in this article…she did not have permission to take photographs in the area. She was warn by the police who was cordoning of the area for the soldiers, she resisted which gave the police the right to arrest her if she did not cease.

        This type of incident happens alot in the US…some privileged politicians gets the right of way while we ordinary citizens get stuck in the line. Again i repeat myself…China get smear because they are a communist government. Anything communist government do is evil and not good. I wonder if China was a democracy, if this article would even be written and this little incident would just be history for this girl instead of being online so everyone can ridicule the evil communist China. If the CCP was evil why did it even bother to lift 300+ million people out of poverty for? To understand the CCP and it laws…you have to understand what 1.3 billion people is within your borders, that’s freaking hella people. Are you gonna rule with democracy? or a semi-democracy with iron fist? To rule a country with 1.3 billion people…power need to be concentrated to a few in order for decision to be made quickly. There can’t not be debate for that will slow progress for the millions of people in poverty. The dozens of newly democracies government in this world is still trying to figure out what democracy is while the population is living in poverty. When there is no strong stable government…the country will suffer the people get the bad end of the stick.

        • Mark says:

          India is democratic and is also developing. Although not at the rate of China, but in the long run India could have a more just and stable society. Furthermore, India is the second largest country in the world in terms of population, and is projected to have the worlds largest population by 2025.

          The wost abuses by the CCP take place at the local level. The argument that the CCP oligarchy can only guarantee stability and growth is a fig leaf for a regime that is unwilling to any degree to give up power and lacks basic legitimacy.

          Again you compare China to the U.S. as if the two countries are comparable. The U.S. has a VIP culture but it is based on money and the exclusivity money can buy, it is not based on the police arbitrarily preventing private citizens from exercising their right to document or witness public behavior.

  6. mao says:

    This lady was asking for a beating…really. The police said no taking pictures, if she was a law abiding citizen than she shouldn’t try to resist. If she resist..than the beating she’ll get is all her own doing because she choose to resist the law. The laws are pretty simple in China..follow it like you follow your mama’s house rules and there won’t be a problem. If you break the house rules, you get grounded. In China..you get jail time.

    @Mark..i think you are dreaming this lady will bring down the CCP.
    It didn’t bring down US when the LAPD beat Rodney King up for a traffic offense. There’s plenty of police brutality in the US.

    • Mark says:

      Once again you create a false equivalency. The U.S. has strong institutions and the rule of law which China lacks as your own leader admitted on his recent visit to Washington.

      If one party controlled everything in the U.S. down to the municipal level and their was widespread corruption, and police brutality then a Rodney King style beating could bring down the U.S. government.

      However, that is not the case since the U.S. is a multiparty democracy with a strong separation between the Federal government, and state governments, and city governments, all elected directly by the people.

      Thus, when the LAPD beat Rodney, the Federal govt had the power to investigate and bring charges against the LAPD through the FBI, and the people had the power to elect a new city govt. In other wards when the LAPD failed the Federal governement could provide oversight and had the power to do so. After the Rodney King beating the LAPD was forced to operate under federal judicial oversight for civil rights abuses under what is called a “consent decree” No such system, which limits the power of the CCP exists in China except on paper.

      I did not dream that this lady would bring down the CCP. Rather, I predict that such an incident will in the future bring down the CCP just as it toppled the regime in Tunisia, and is impacting Egypt.

      It is not a coincidence that the CCP is right now censoring the events in Egypt from the Chinese people.

      • Eidolon says:

        Tunisia is a small country of 10 million. China is a vast country of 1.3 billion. As long as the CCP has control of the country-side the city dwellers can whine and moan all they want – the CCP will just bring in the rural militia and as seen in Tiananmen the city dwellers are no match. The key to CCP power is not the cities or towns but the country-side from which they recruit the bulk of the military and police. As long as they maintain control of the rural-staffed military, unlike Ben in Tunisia who got ousted by the Tunisian military, the protesters can’t do anything.

        • As far as Tunisia, Egypt, China, or any other authoritarian government is concerned, I think the lesson to be learned is that the day of reckoning comes unexpectedly. There is no one policy that can bring it on, and likewise there is no policy that will absolutely deter it. Reforms that bring about rule of law (for all), transparency, and accountability are the only way out of that particular noose. The paradox is that no authoritarian government has yet devised a way to truly develop the aforementioned capabilities and yet remain–retaining the unjust privileges of being–authoritarian.

          Also, I’ve noted studies suggesting that increasing wealth of the nation’s people dramatically increases the chances of a revolt against authoritarian government rather than reduces it. It’s not accident that this wave of citizen revolts in the Middle East began with Tunisia–a relatively well-educated, well-off country compared with most others in the region.

          The Chinese government has tied their own legitimacy to the beneficial effects of globalism. There’s no getting off the train now.

  7. Olivier says:

    A law student who doing this… prooves that the university of law in China are not very good. haha

  8. Mick says:

    Nobody in positions of power likes having their picture taken. In the US she would not have been released. She would have been tasered. In London I was threatened with arrest for taking a photo of a parking warden.

    • Mark says:

      What you write is absurd.

      There are problems in the U.S. with respect to citizens monitoring police actions with cameras, which is a police abuse of power… however to claim that photographing an official in a public space in the U.S. would lead to detention is just absurd and not true at all.

      • Mick says:

        Mark, I suggest you google “photographer arrested” to see the many examples of ordinary people being arrested and harrassed for taking pictures of inocuous situations in the UK and the US. Here’s one example
        http://boingboing.net/2009/01/11/another-london-photo.html

        Maybe the Chinese need to make a translation of these ‘get-out-of-jail’ cards to carry around:
        http://store.petapixel.com/products/Photographers-Rights-Gray-Card-Set.html

        • Mark says:

          As I mentioned earlier in the U.S. their are problems with over zealous police who do not want to be filmed executing their duties post Rodney King for obvious reasons, which I called an abuse of authority.

          States and municipal police have misapplied some key laws to avoid public scrutiny after Rodney King and some other sensational videos of police misconduct. However the courts have always sided with the right of citizens to video and photograph police operations, and conduct in public spaces.

          The other issue is that post 9-11 police have been asked by the feds to report any suspicious activity which can include photographing or filming potential terrorist targets such as bridges, harbors, nuclear reactors etc. Once again the local police have been too overzealous in some cases. However, given the fact that the U.S. is currently engaged in two wars, there is bound to be some hyper vigilance, and in no way compares to the spy hysteria of Japan before WWII, or the security measures and behavior of China and the Soviets in the past when they were threatened or at war.

          There is a huge difference between a police officer investigating a crime, disturbance, protest, or being assaulted and demanding that a cameraman leave the area, and the police protecting a CCP VIP from being photographed for political reasons.

          The police can demand anything or ask anything, and they do… the real issue is do citizens have the power to refuse and know that if they are arrested the courts will back the rights of the citizen and the public to know.

          • Mark II says:

            Mark is obviously a retard who has never lived in the United States, or has a delusional view of the world he lives.

            • Mark says:

              You are obviously a fucktard, who has never lived in the U.S. and has a delusional view of everything.

  9. Jay K says:

    as a law student taking photos of cadres if she were put on trial would she be penalized under the punishment of subversion of state?

    chinese laws are nothing more than paper thin walls that the landlord erects for passing clouds to wonder upon

  10. 2B-real says:

    Seriously has anyone heard of any anybody winning actually winning a case against the Gov in China? A case that it outside forced evictions and personal property disputes? I can only imagine that she is going to law to become part of the system and re-enforce bullshit she almost became a victim of.

  11. Mark says:

    The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

    As I mentioned earlier China’s ruling thugs are scared shitless of the masses and revolt and are riding a wild dragon that could buck and throw them at any moment.

    The first whiff of revolutionary powder has begun to drift towards China from Tunisia as I predicted on this blog. Just as in the Middle East it is starting with the youth who are connected to the greater world through social media.

    I first got wind of the Chinese movement months ago during the Nobel prize controversy when an obviously well informed Chinese person living in the U.S. posted on NY times that “they” hated the Chinese regime and that Chinese were secretly organizing in China to overthrow it and that a revolt was soon to come. Of course I do not believe everything that I read online but the post was hard to ignore or dismiss as it was well written and was not your average joe blow poster.

    At any rate the first internet organized protests took place in China on Sunday, which confirms that the poster to the NY times was credible, and that his post was the chatter or rumblings that happen when masses of people are quietly starting to organize and move, just like the buffalo.

    There is now a playbook for non violent revolt to overthrow totalitarian dictatorships. The playbook was used in Tunisia and Egypt, and no doubt has been studied and is being studied by the cadre in China. In Tunisia the organizers tested there ability to mobilize people first with small groups and testing the police response. We just witnessed the first such tests in China.

    Hard of course to say how long this will take given China’s size and the sophistication of the organs of repression. However, I would never underestimate the genius of the Chinese people, and the cunning, and patience of the organizers. The planning for revolt will be as meticulous and organized as in Tunisia and Egypt and will take much longer.

    The regime in China has two choices now… well maybe three, they can write their own obituary which will be published in at least 10 years, or very very gradually go the Burma/N Korea route which is to put control and international isolation over development, or option three which is when things look most unstable start a war with say Japan (the external threat option) to rally patriotic fever behind the regime.

  12. Mark says:

    More evidence that the clouds from Tunisia have reached China

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20110227/D9LL35H00.html

    SHANGHAI (AP) – Large numbers of police – and new tactics like shrill whistles and street cleaning trucks – squelched overt protests in China for a second Sunday in a row after more calls for peaceful gatherings modeled on recent democratic movements in the Middle East.

    Near Shanghai’s People’s Square, uniformed police blew whistles nonstop and shouted at people to keep moving, though about 200 people – a combination of onlookers and quiet sympathizers who formed a larger crowd than a week ago – braved the shrill noise. In Beijing, trucks normally used to water the streets drove repeatedly up the busy commercial shopping district spraying water and keeping crowds pressed to the edges.

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