Posts Tagged ‘law enforcement’

The Vicious Circle of Justice: Zhao Liang’s Crime and Punishment

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

This week on dGenerate we will be featuring articles related to Zhao Liang’s acclaimed documentary Crime and Punishment to coincide with the screening of his films at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. Click here for more information on the screenings.

This article was originally published November 4, 2010.

by Dan Edwards

Zhao Liang provided one of the most heartrending Chinese documentaries of recent times last year with Petition, an epic work about petitioners living on the fringes of China’s capital. It’s much rarer, however, to see stories about those enforcing the rules in the People’s Republic – the nature of Chinese state institutions means access is usually impossible. Which makes Zhao’s earlier film Crime and Punishment (Zui Yu Fa, 2007) all the more extraordinary, providing as it does an intimate snapshot of life inside a People’s Armed Police (PAP) station.

As Zhao explained in an interview earlier this year, he was only able to gain access to the station, located on the Chinese-Korean border in the remote northeast, because “these people are politically more naive and less politically savvy than their Beijing counterparts.” Zhao does not just exploit the officers’ naivety to expose their petty abuses of power however – the uniformed community provides a microcosm of the broader social structures informing the exercise of state power in contemporary China.

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Chinese Law Enforcement Brings Out Its Feminine Side

Monday, January 10th, 2011

This week on dGenerate we will be featuring articles related to Zhao Liang’s acclaimed documentary Crime and Punishment to coincide with the screening of his films at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. Click here for more information on the screenings.

By Ariella Tai

Photo by Du Bin for The New York Times

Across China, the New York Times reports, governments have taken a rather blunt approach towards building a better public image for their urban law enforcers: hiring prettier ones. Chengguan, a special class of police, have become known for their willingness to utilize clubbing, thrashing and other forms of abuse in their efforts to discipline and maintain social order in recent years. In an attempt to improve this poor public image for the force, district officials in Chengdu have called for females between the ages of 18-22, with good figures and “orderly facial features” to serve, essentially, as decorations, or “flower vases…[with] other responsibilities]” according to an unnamed official. These female officers enjoy a limited tenure that ends at age 26, and lack even the power to confiscate the goods of the peddlers they are daily responsible for chasing into their assigned alleyways. Instead they serve in a supporting capacity, able only to threaten offenders with a report to their male supervisor.

This absurd aspect to Chinese law enforcement recalls Zhao Liang’s 2007 documentary, Crime and Punishment, which documents the daily lives of underworked military police on the border of North Korea. During an unforgiving winter, officers rigidly enforce law and order. They raid a private residence to bust an illegal mahjong game, casually abuse a pickpocket accused of throwing away evidence, and berate a confession out of a scrap collector working without a permit. The police switch between precise investigative procedure, explosions of violent fury, and moments of comic ineptitude, all captured incredibly before the camera.

We are proud to announce that Crime and Punishment will be presented on the big screen at the Anthology Film Archives. There will be showings Jan 13 at 6:45 & 9:15, and then one each on Sat and Sun, Jan 15 & 16 at 4:00.

Check here for more details. View a trailer below.

The Vicious Circle of Justice: Zhao Liang’s Crime and Punishment

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

by Dan Edwards

Zhao Liang provided one of the most heartrending Chinese documentaries of recent times last year with Petition, an epic work about petitioners living on the fringes of China’s capital. It’s much rarer, however, to see stories about those enforcing the rules in the People’s Republic – the nature of Chinese state institutions means access is usually impossible. Which makes Zhao’s earlier film Crime and Punishment (Zui Yu Fa, 2007) all the more extraordinary, providing as it does an intimate snapshot of life inside a People’s Armed Police (PAP) station.

As Zhao explained in an interview earlier this year, he was only able to gain access to the station, located on the Chinese-Korean border in the remote northeast, because “these people are politically more naive and less politically savvy than their Beijing counterparts.” Zhao does not just exploit the officers’ naivety to expose their petty abuses of power however – the uniformed community provides a microcosm of the broader social structures informing the exercise of state power in contemporary China.

(more…)