Enough already! Try doing my job for a week and then criticize me

I started working as a chengguan when I left the army. About 70 percent of my co-workers are veterans like me. We so-called law-enforcers head out every day to clear the streets of illegal obstructions and all we get from the public and our managers are criticism and abuse. People call us assholes because we deprive street vendors of their source of income, but do you know how much my monthly salary is? It is just 1,200 yuan! I have nothing left after I buy powdered milk for my kid. I would say 90 percent of my co-workers can’t afford to buy a home. We also have to do unpaid overtime, even on holidays.

I don’t want sound defensive but to those of you who criticize us, you really need to experience our job for a week. Those of you who sympathize illegal small business owners, you need to interact with them wearing our uniform and enforce the law in a “harmonious” fashion like us. Then you will understand what our job is like. You don’t have the right to criticize us without first experiencing that.

There are far more black sheep in the army than in the ranks of chengguan. It’s a pity that you don’t get to see the dark side of the army because of the strict media controls. To the public, soldiers are protectors of the country as well as “servants of the people,” which makes their mistakes forgivable sometimes. But we chengguan are not that lucky. Our job is to deal with society’s most vulnerable citizens and squeeze them further – conflict is inevitable.

Our transport at work is a minivan worth no more than about 2,000 yuan. It was actually scrapped years ago. You often see media exposes of bureau directors driving around in luxury cars but have you ever seen a chengguan in anything like that? Our budget is so tight; we don’t even have a shelter for our vehicle. Imagine six or seven people squeezing in a minivan for a whole day under the sun without air conditioning or even a fan. Have you experienced anything like that?

I can’t remember how many times these incorrigible street vendors have moved their stands and goods back right after we leave. They don’t take us seriously and think we will not dare to confiscate their property. We do have the power to confiscate goods but under pressure from the public we never use it. Some vendors watch us with a contemptuous smile, eating snacks while we move their stuff. One of them even said to my co-workers; “be careful, if you break my stuff I’ll report you to the TV station.”

When I was in the army I was told that being a chengguan was an awesome job, but now I feel it’s a job with no dignity. Even if we confiscate their property, vendors can just come to our office later and get it back. We want to educate these illegal vendors about the regulations but apparently they regard us simply as porters.

One day we had a minor confrontation with one of these vendors, and he immediately lay on the ground and pretended to be dead. His son took out his cell phone and threatened to post the video online. We were not even confiscating their stuff, just moving their stand but the vendor said we would regret doing so and tried to stop us. My co-workers pushed him to the side and he deliberately lay on the ground. I swear it is the truth. Still, because of that video, our supervisor paid the vendors a couple of hundred yuan in compensation.

Recently, we tried to remove an illegal advertising banner put up by a clothing store. The store owner was offended by our actions and kicked my co-worker in the groin. He couldn’t stand up for several minutes. What’s more, the owner and her family blocked our escape so we couldn’t leave for the hospital. In the end, it was our office that paid for my co-worker’s medical care, not the attacker. We didn’t use force and the inspector was the victim. Who is protecting us?

Given the fact that everyone has a cellphone these days, if all chengguan are as bad as we are portrayed in in the media, there would not be enough time in the day to watch all the posts.

The vulnerable are not necessarily innocent. The sympathy these illegal vendors get has to some extent made the vulnerable privileged while we chengguan have become the humblest of the humble. I beg you to think it over: are we really as evil as murderers, rapists or robbers?

Read the original post 别再骂所有城管了,给大家说说我这几年当城管的真实经历! in Chinese here.
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