The pictures, which showed SWAT officers with machine guns arresting lawless thugs, are clearly a welcome sight for many. As one commenter said, “Good, this is what serving the people really is!”
However, this is not an isolated incident of wage arrears; the problem is endemic in construction sites and factories across China. And this is probably what prompted another netizen to say:
Do you plan on deploying a SWAT team every time to get migrant workers their wages? Throughout the entire country, how many SWAT teams are needed to deal with this amount of migrant workers’ wages???
Certainly, one is inclined to share in that skepticism. Chongqing is, after all, the city that has been leading the way, PR-wise, with “attacking black” (mafia-style gangs) and “singing red” (patriotic Mao-era songs). But, while Chongqing’s high profile campaigns may seem like PR stunts to some, and while they may be ineffective in changing the root cause of social ills, there’s no doubt that the populist topics they cover have massive appeal in a country that is increasingly polarized economically.
In light of the fact that the Chinese government is now spending more money on “maintaining stability” - massively increasing funding of the police and security forces - maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to make this sort of PR stunt a more common occurrence.