Getting a shoe shine in police car, driver fired


Shine my shoes!”  A police car with Fujian province license plate (闽HA042警) parked on the street of Quzhou City, Zhejiang Province. A foot sticking out from the police car, a shoeshine lady sitting by the car door, head down, shines the shoe.

This scene was captured and posted onto weibo, soon was massively retweeted.  Many netizens criticized this policeman of being too much like a “tyrant”.  Soon reporter found out this police car does not come from a police station but belongs to Pucheng County People’s Court, Fujian Province.

After the incident some media contacted the Pucheng County People’s Court.  Today afternoon the court responded the matterin a letter.

Pucheng County court said, after seeing the relevant information, they have conducted an investigation immediately.  They have found, with approval, the court sent a police car (license plate闽HA042警) to send a policeman’s family member who was seriously ill to the train station to board a train to Shanghai for treatment.  While the policeman escorted the patient to the train station lobby, the police car was waiting outside.  A shoe shiner came, wanting to shine the shoes for the driver.  Worrying that the policeman would come back soon, driver refused the offer.  But the shoeshine lady said, “You can sit in the car, I will shine your shoe by the door.” So the driver extended his leg outside.

The court also said, this driver signed a 5-year work contract with them since July 2007.  Given the driver’s uncivilized behavior damaged the image of the People’s Court, and had adverse social impact, according to the labor contract the court severely criticized and educated him also terminated his working contract.

Court’s letter said in the end, “The driver’s uncivilized behavior also reflected some poor management and supervision issues of the court.  For which, we sincerely apologize, and to learn from that, to take measures for rectification. We sincerely welcome the media and netizens to monitor and criticize!”

According to Quzhuo Evening News on sina blog, reporter found the truth about this story from the shoeshine lady.  Reporter first contacted the person who took the picture “冰山一粟” who posted it on weibo.  He said, on November 7, 9 am he saw the scene at the train station, he thought it was pretty interesting so he took a photo of it, but never thought it would became so popular.


Reporter then found the shoeshine lady; her name is Mao Juanlan (毛娟兰), 50 years old, living in the village near the train station.  When reporter identified himself, her first words were, “I swear, he sat in the car because of the cold weather.”

In the morning of November 14, Mao Juanlan have heard people mentioning a shoeshine photo was red hot on the Internet, and her first thought was maybe it was when she shined shoe in front of a police car.  “I was worried, so I asked my neighbor if I was wrong or if he was wrong, my neighbor said it’s not my fault.”  Mao then felt relieved.

Mao Juanlan told the story.  In the morning about a week ago, a police car stopped in front of the train station lobby.  She said, she does not remember if there were 2 or 3 people in the car.  Only remember someone walked out towards the train station.  Another man got out the car and said he wanted a shoeshine.  Mao recalled, this man spoke Mandarin, dressed in a stripped short sleeve shirt.  “He got out of the car, but it was cold that day, windy also.  He said it’s too cold and asked if he could sit in the car, I said ok.” Just like that, the man sat in the car, and Mao Juanlan shined his shoes.

It took only 5 minutes, they never communicated during the shoeshine.  Mao Juanlan said, “If it were a normal car, I would have chatted with him.  But it was a police car, I didn’t dare to say anything.”  After it was done the man gave 3 yuan in coins and left.  “I know that in this society some officials make lao baixing (common people) feel uncomfortable, but this thing is not what everything thinks.”  Mao Juanlan repeatedly told the reporter.

  1. I’m not understanding this. Why was it a problem that the driver had to be fired? The lady was conducting her shoeshine business. The driver paid to have his shoes shined. This isn’t making sense to me.

  2. “The court also said, this driver signed a 5-year work contract with them since July 2007. Given the driver’s uncivilized behavior damaged the image of the People’s Court, and had adverse social impact, according to the labor contract the court severely criticized and educated him also terminated his working contract.”

    How is it ‘uncivilized’ to pay for a shoe shine that results in a better appearance.

    Lynchings, even when they don’t result in hangings, are ugly business.

    Here citizens stampeded the government into an employment lynching.

    I am at a loss as how having one’s shoes shined [arguably which would in improve the image of the Peoples’ Court by having well groomed employees] had an ‘adverse social impact’ [some people were ‘upset’ at a mere picture, well life is filled with little upsets. Some extremist Muslims riot and arson because they are upset at representations of the Prophet Muhammad. Some Chinese demand a firing when some buys a shoeshine. Is there any material difference?] while certainly having one’s employment taken away is a terrible ‘social impact’ on the officer and his family and those who depend upon his income. Terminating employment for what is only arguably a slight temporary embarrassment to the Court is very uncivilized conduct by the Court. The ‘punishment’ [all the Court could do] hardly fits the crime of having committed ’embarrassing shoeshine’.

    Is loss of employment truly a just outcome here? Where’s the outrage at this. Looks rather 250ish to me by many who acted.

  3. People at china and other places get shoe shining jobs because they need a job that will provide them atleast something worth for living.(food,house,ect.) I didn’t know many chinese ppl had very little money. I thought I(family) had little money and still bug my parents about money….feel bad but hope they do well.

  4. Why does nobody seem to care that the Police/Court’s resources (the car AND the driver) were being used by a cop for personal purposes? Or is the job of the Pucheng County People’s Court to be a taxi service for policemen’s relatives?

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