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China Daily Website

Metro Beijing

Beijing police department puts faces to new PR efforts

Updated: 2010-07-21 07:54
By Han Bingbin ( China Daily)

Three spokesmen - from the departments of criminal investigation, public order, and police patrols - all made their debut Wednesday morning during a press conference.

The spokesmen will make announcements and answer questions on behalf of the departments, which are part of the Beijing Public Security Bureau.

Observers hope the public relations officers will improve the relationship between Beijing's police and the public.

The spokesmen, who are all vice-leaders of departments, will take on the responsibility of releasing news to the media and public, said an official who hosted the conference.

Along with the introduction of the three spokesmen, the bureau announced it will allow media from Hong Kong and Macao to attend routine press conferences in the capital. The official said it is likely overseas media will participate in future.

The introduction of the spokesmen follows the setting up of the bureau's first public relations office on July 13.

In addition to regular press conferences, the public relations office will participate in blogs and microblogs in a bid to better understand the opinions of netizens.

On top of that, an open day, during which people will be able to see the typical daily life of the capital's police officers, is being planned.

Fu Zhenghua, director of the bureau, said the police force is facing more challenges and pressure in maintaining favorable public opinion and, hopefully, modern technology will help the department improve its image and build trust and support from the public.

All district-level public security bureaus in Beijing are expected to have their own public relations offices by the end of July, according to local media.

The bureau's initiatives were welcomed by experts.

Hu Guangyu, from the Research Center for National Conditions at Tsinghua University, said the move was scientific and reasonable.

Hu said the launch of an online platform could speed up the response to the needs of the public.

Meanwhile, the police force's transparent presence on the Internet would help stifle wrong and misleading messages released by hostile groups, he said.

Hu said the new public relations efforts should serve as a tool to push forward the improvement of the department's inner system. He said a more transparent public security system would help in the fight against corruption.

But the police will face new challenges too, Hu noted.

Hu said he was concerned that many officers who were born in the 1980s will be sole children in their families and he wondered if that will breed a lack of empathy.

He said it takes a heart to care for the public and build good public relations. Therefore, police officers will have to improve themselves first, he said.

He also noted that the expanded public relations function will require more investment and manpower.

Usually, the emergence of a new function comes along with unexpected new problems, he said, adding that he hopes the department has made adequate predictions and preparations.