By Kevin B. Lee
Police on duty at Guangzhou Railway Station in early 2012. Image: eChinacities.
On his blog Screening China, Dan Edwards reviews two new films by the prolific documentary maker Zhou Hao, whose films Using and The Transition Period are distributed by dGenerate. Zhou’s new films Cop Shop and Cop Shop II are both about the daily operations of the police station at Guangzhou Railway Station, one of the busiest public transport hubs in China. Edwards writes, “Without explicitly making the point, the Cop Shop films present a pretty damning view of the vagaries of China’s bureaucratic administration, which impacts negatively upon both the police and the swirling masses outside.”
Edwards goes on to describe how the events depicted in these films reflect the larger social conditions affecting contemporary China:
Unfettered capitalism, in an environment completely dominated by government business monopolies and a weak rule of law, has turned Chinese people against one another and reduced daily life for many to the level of an animalistic struggle for survival. With no effective systems or institutions in place to deal with these issues, the police of the Cop Shop films spend their days fobbing off an endless parade of the distressed and disenfranchised… The Cop Shop films, especially Cop Shop II, are an engrossing look at the myriad pressures and problems faced by uniformed officers in China, as they deal with the front line victims of what has become a cut-throat, highly stratified society.
Read the full article at Screening China.
To watch an in-depth study of the lives of Chinese policemen, watch Zhao Liang’s acclaimed film Crime and Punishment.