Impersonating a police officer is a serious offence; except in China where it seems local government officials have been paying people to do so. In fact, Xinhua reports that cadres in Guiyang paid 837 university students to dress up as police. The purpose? To provide a show of force as they tried to evict residents and demolish their ‘illegal structures’ (i.e. homes). The intimidating police presence – fake or otherwise – was intended to force residents into departing rather than putting up a fight (as we pointed out in an earlier issue, one man created a makeshift rocket launcher to defend his home from forced demolition). According to Xinhua, the students were recruited from Guizhou AVIC Technicians College and were paid Rmb80 ($13.12) to stand around in black police uniforms, while construction workers got on with their bulldozing. As it turns out, the demolition was unsanctioned and the 12 officials involved have all been sacked, reports Xinhua (although not before they obliterated 51 buildings from the city’s Guanshanhu district). This was no isolated incident, adds Beijing News. It interviewed other students in Guiyang who had also posed as police officers in demolitions earlier this year. The newspaper says student contingents have been employed as police stooges at least six times in the past five months.
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