Beijing Diary: Is Beijing Police Motto a Stab at Humor?
by Tom McGregor
Fri, May 20, 2011, 05:13 AM
BEIJING: While living in China, I frequently receive an e-mail that reads as follows: “I hope your safe and be careful.” Of course, I understand the reasons behind these messages from Americans who worry that my anti-Marxist tendencies and inability to hold my tongue may soon implicate me in a tragic set of circumstances in the land of Chairman Mao.
But, I always explain that Mao is no longer alive, I got proof, I visited Tiananmen Square and saw the corpse. Mao clearly looks dead and even Haitian voodoo priests can’t bring him back to life. The Chinese government has been implementing political reforms, which allows someone like myself to work for the state-run media.
Just recently, I was given access to a radio studio at China Radio International to spend one hour interviewing a Chinese economist about the yuan currency and whether or not Marx should play a role in China’s future. In case you’re skeptical, the taped audio will appear on CRI’s website next week.
Even when a Chinese co-worker asked if I was a Marxist, and I said no, even his response surprised me. He said, “don’t worry, if you are a foreigner, we have a new policy if you want to join the Chinese Communist Party, you just have to pay the initiation fee, attend a drinking party, and you don’t have to get ideological clearance.” I explained, jokingly, that as a Republican, this new party affiliation may become a conflict of interest should I decide to pursue a political career if I return to the U.S. I can see the attack ads now: “Chinese Communist Party Member, Tom McGregor, is the Manchurian Candidate for the Republican Party.”
Anyway, I do feel safe and secure in China and I can handle the interesting situations that occur every once in a while. But today, I did get a subtle reminder China does have its unique differences from America. The police motto in the U.S. is “To protect and serve,” which has a diplomatic ring to it, but as I returned from the bookstore after buying a book about Jesuit missionary activities in China, I saw a police squad car next to the CRI building that showed the motto “to punish and enslave,” written in cursive English, and also requested you call, “1-1-9 in case of emergency.”
Hopefully, this motto was simply a joke, because if not, I may have cause for concern. Most Chinese cops are very helpful. Last Chinese News Years’ a police officer showed me how to properly light explosive fireworks, despite that fireworks were banned in Beijing. His assistance prevented me from getting my hand blown off. So, I commend him for going above and beyond the call of duty. I wonder if this is the same cop who wrote the enslavement motto on the squad car.
... written by ElHombre , May 21, 2011
That motto means someone has a sense of humor. It's from the 'Transformers' movie, Tom. An evil robot disguises itself as a Mustang police car and those decals are clearly shown in the movie.