The international press hasn’t been shy reporting the dramas in the build up to this week’s change of leadership in China. There’s been the blocking of Google and other annoying Internet disruptions, the 1.4 million-strong volunteer security force keeping peace in Beijing, and the unrelated, somewhat sensationalised reports of thousands clashing with the police in China. But there seems little coverage of the positive change taking place right now in China’s police force.
In 2011, China’s law and order expenditure rose to ¥624.4 billion (US$100 billion), 33% more than New Zealand’s entire Government expenditure. For the first time in history, China’s domestic security budget outstripped it’s military spend. Some of the budget has been assigned to the new fleet of police vehicles.
Walking down an inner city street of Shanghai earlier today, I was heartened to see what I believe is the latest issue for China’s boys in blue. Possibly the smallest bicycle ever ridden by a policeman, anywhere, the electric-blue bike folds up to the size of a lunch box and can be taken on public transport, into a noodle bar or karaoke parlour for quick access in times of need.
Possibly more important than it’s accessibility and environmental credentials, is the friendly, approachable and unintimidating face the miniature bicycles present to the Chinese public. Pedestrians I observed close to the patrolling officer did not appear threatened by the policeman’s presence .
It is unknown how many of China’s 2-million-strong police force will be issued the new set of wheels.
Further sightings have been made of the new fleet since the original post, this time running red lights, hot in pursuit on a wet November evening.