Cop that, Shang­hai-style

FOL­LOW THE READER

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page - JOHN QUINN

MY­wife Ju­dith and I were strolling down the wide Nan­jing Road pedes­trian walk­way that runs from The Bund to Peo­ple’s Square in Shang­hai one evening in 2011, gap­ing at the bright lights of the multi-storey shops, the neon ex­trav­a­ganza of sig­nage and the colour­ful prom­e­nad­ing crowd.

Then an al­ter­ca­tion broke out. We saw four louts ha­rass­ing and in­tim­i­dat­ing a group of peo­ple who, given their poor cloth­ing and ap­pear­ance, may have been ru­ral vil­lagers.

Up popped a small Pub­lic Safety Bureau Of­fi­cer (a Shang­hai po­lice­man, that is), who with­out hes­i­ta­tion grabbed the lead­ing lout by the ear­lobe with the fin­ger and thumb of one hand and de­liv­ered a rapid-fire, fin­ger­wag­ging di­a­tribe, be­fore con­temp­tu­ously flick­ing the young thug away, leav­ing him to slink off with his bul­ly­ing mates.

The out-of-town­ers were all bow­ing and smil­ing as the as­sem­bled crowd qui­etly ap­plauded the Pub­lic Safety Bureau Of­fi­cer for his ef­forts. I pushed my dropped jaw back into place.

OK, I re­alised we were trav­el­ling in an au­thor­i­tar­ian coun­try, but in Aus­tralia our po­lice of­fi­cers pa­trol in pairs in bul­let-proof vests and loaded down with heavy leather belts fes­tooned with ba­tons, cans of pep­per spray, firearms and walkie-talkies.

This lit­tle guy in Shang­hai (and he was small) wore a uni­form of cap, shirt and trousers with what looked like a mo­bile phone tucked into his belt. In Aus­tralia, the lead­ing lout would prob­a­bly have sued for dam­age to his ear­lobe and his mates would have put in a claim for trauma and hurt feel­ings. Send your 400-word con­tri­bu­tion to our Fol­low the Reader col­umn: travel@theaus­tralian. com.au. Pub­lished colum­nists will re­ceive a $100 voucher for Colorado shoes. Colorado (now stocked by Wil­liams stores) spe­cialises in men’s and women’s life­style footwear. More: colorado.com.au; williamsshoes.com.au.

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