Monday, July 6, 2009

Millions of Boy Security Guards

With a national slogan of a "Harmonious Society", why all the security? Every large apartment complex in China is guarded by young Chinese security guards who can be seen staring bored into space, harassing motorists, or listening to music on their mobile phones. Beijing has more security guards at residential areas than any city I have ever visited. In 2007, the Beijing Municipal People's Congress stated there are 200,000 security guards in Beijing alone, of which 50,000 security guards patrol properties. Xinhua News Agency states that a security guard earns only 1,000 RMB ($133) a month, which is less than a waiter. The report also states that 30,000 guards are employed illegally. In 2006 there were five cases of murder in Beijing by security guards, in which all five of the convicted guards were below the age of 20, were not natives of Beijing, and had no high school education.

Note: Once I saw a badly beaten guard, who looked about 16, but a elite police officer who arrived stopped me from helping him and refused to let me give him a cold Coke for his swollen cheek. Often I donate my old clothes and magazines to the guards who stand freezing for hours in the cold winters and sweating during hot summers. If China wants to be a world class country, and not only the largest economy, then the 50,000 young men standing in place at Beijing apartments will need a high school education and a more purposeful role in society. For a start, how about an Eco-Corps of newly trained botanists, forestry majors and biologists planting trees and plants in the barren, deforested hills surrounding Beijing?

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