Attention, Lovers of Communism: This is what it’s really like. The Chinese government has “recognized the high efficiency of using urban grid management for social control.”
China is rolling out a nationwide system of social control known as “grid management” in a revival of state presence in residential life that had receded as society liberalized during recent decades.
From smog-blanketed towns on the North China Plain to the politically sensitive Tibetan capital of Lhasa, small police booths and networks of citizens have been set up block by block to reduce neighborhood disputes, enforce sanitation, reduce crime — and keep an eye on anyone deemed a troublemaker.
The rollout coincides with a broader tightening of state control over civil society and crackdown on dissent under President Xi Jinping.
“The grid management system is an attempt by the authorities to re-establish its control over individuals,” said Li Dun, an expert in public management at Tsinghua University in Beijing. “The aim is to reinstate the idea of upholding the party’s leadership.”
During a recent journalists’ tour of Lhasa, officials credited grid management for the calm and order in the city. The city plans to hire 12,000 grid administrators so each can be responsible for 200 families. “If a grid administrator is responsible for 200 families, he can roughly remember who is in his grid in one month’s time and grasp the basic information of each family in about three months’ time. In six months’ time, he can count every member of those families,” Guangzhou’s mayor, Chen Jianghua, was quoted as saying by Oriental Outlook, a magazine run by Xinhua.
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