In coastal city, any­one can be an in­spec­tor

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By LI XIAOKUN in Qin­huang­dao, He­bei lix­i­aokun@chi­nadaily.com.cn Shi­ji­azhuang Qin­huang­dao

It was an or­di­nary mid-July day in Qin­huang­dao, a coastal city in He­bei prov­ince. Yang Sheng was on his way to work and hap­pened to see an elec­tri­cal power box cov­ered in thick rust.

He stopped, took a pic­ture with his cell­phone and up­loaded it to a dig­i­tal man­age­ment plat­form us­ing an app called Ci­ty­wide Man­age­ment In­spec­tors. He wrote a brief de­scrip­tion of the prob­lem and gave the lo­ca­tion of the box.

The whole process took about two min­utes.

Over the next sev­eral days, the city’s ur­ban man­age­ment of­fice con­tacted all the tele­com- mu­ni­ca­tion com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the area but couldn’t find the owner of the box. So they went in per­son, visit­ing nearby com­pa­nies. At last, they found that it was owned by a nearby shop­ping cen­ter.

On July 21, five days af­ter his post­ing, Yang got a call in­form­ing him that he might want to check the app again to see a pic­ture of a new power box, which had been in­stalled to re­place the rusty one.

Yang is far from alone. The dig­i­tal plat­form han­dles a mas­sive num­ber of tips from mem­bers of the pub­lic ev­ery day.

“We be­gan to pro­mote the app in late April and have turned more than 8,000 vol­un­teers into our eyes. The group is still ex­pand­ing rapidly,” said Li Yaobin, di­rec­tor of the Qin­huang­dao ur­ban man­age­ment of­fice. “They are our fans and in­tend to closely watch the city’s per­for­mance. Just imag­ine how pow­er­ful the group will be if the fig­ure of ac­tive users reaches 10,000.”

Li said Bei­jing has its so-called Chaoyang qun­zhong and Xicheng aun­ties — res­i­dents who pro­vide cru­cial in­for­ma­tion on pub­lic se­cu­rity. They’ve risen to promi­nence on Chi­nese so­cial me­dia.

“Now, Qin­huang­dao has its own ci­ty­wide crowd of in­spec­tors,” Li said.

Chen Jianfu, di­rec­tor of the dig­i­tal city man­age­ment su­per­vi­sion and com­mand cen­ter, said there are strict dead­lines for han­dling cer­tain cases. Il­le­gal street stalls, for in­stance, should be dealt with-

EN­VI­RON­MENT

FIVE YEARS ON

in three hours; bro­ken pave­ment should be fixed within five work­ing days.

In 2015, the city — fa­mous for its shore­line and as a sum­mer re­sort for Chi­nese lead­ers since the 1950s — vowed to turn it­self into one of the clean­est in the coun­try.

Now, with an ur­ban pop­u­la­tion of about 1.4 mil­lion, the city has mapped a dig­i­tal grid — an over­lay in which ev­ery road is as­signed to four peo­ple of var­i­ous lev­els — from mu­nic­i­pal lead­ers to san­i­ta­tion work­ers, Chen said. Once a prob­lem is iden­ti­fied, the peo­ple in charge of fix­ing it can be found by sim­ply click­ing the map.

An early step was the abil­ity to track all san­i­ta­tion ve­hi­cles to as­sess daily per­for­mance.

All se­cu­rity cam­eras in the city have been linked to the sys­tem and are con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tored.

Xie Xiaob­ing, deputy di­rec­tor of the ur­ban man­age­ment of­fice, said that in the past, dur­ing the rainy sea­son, the city was ner­vous about flood­ing, es­pe­cially in un­der­passes, and sent staff mem­bers to keep an eye on high-risk places.

Now, cam­eras do the watch­ing, and wa­ter lev­els are mon­i­tored au­to­mat­i­cally. If it reaches a warn­ing line, the area will be blocked off.

“We can do many other things on the plat­form. It is a war map of our daily work,” Xie said.

The ef­forts have paid off. Last year, Shan­haiguan district got the high­est score in He­bei prov­ince as a clean city.

“I visit Qin­huang­dao about three times a year and have wit­nessed im­pres­sive changes, from san­i­ta­tion to man­age­ment,” said Wang Xu, 66, a tourist from Bei­jing. “Now more of my friends in­tend to spend the sum­mer here.”

WANG ZHICHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Art sim­u­lat­ing fried eggs and uten­sils draw the at­ten­tion of passers-by in Shaox­ing, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, on Mon­day.

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