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Urban management authorities in south China hire more female officers to boost image

(Xinhua)

15:32, November 05, 2011

GUANGZHOU, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- Dogged by criticism over their use of excessive force and questionable tactics, China's urban management authorities are trying to improve their image and enforce the law in a more friendly fashion, including hiring more women to patrol the streets of urban centers.

Urban management officers are parapolice who are charged with enforcing city regulations and preventing or stopping minor crimes. However, they have gained a reputation among the public for being overly violent and cruel in enforcing the law.

Guangzhou, the capital of south China's Guangdong province, has trained a team of 52 female urban management officers to patrol for illegal streetside vendors, discourage petty theft and prevent other minor crimes.

"Violently enforcing the law and using administrative force are no longer suitable for today's society. Female inspectors take a softer approach," said Deng Riming, chief of the Guangzhou Urban Management Bureau.

The female officers were selected based on their appearance, age and education. The officers are required to be at least 160 cm tall and speak at least one foreign language, according to Deng.

"We feel proud to be part of the team. Not everyone can be selected," said Zhang Yang, one of the team's leaders.

Urban management authorities in other cities are also making changes. In one district in the city of Chengdu, located in southwest China's Sichuan province, one urban management unit is now made up entirely of women.

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