China / Society

Google Glass 'works' to bolster image

By Jin Haixing (China Daily) Updated: 2014-04-23 02:22

Google Glass 'works' to bolster image

Jiang Yifan posted a picture of himself wearing Google Glass on his micro blog page.

An urban patrol officer in Jiangsu province became an Internet celebrity recently after he bought a Google Glass as a tool for gathering evidence as he patrolled the streets.

Jiang Yifan, 27, the urban patrol officer in Changzhou, said that because the Google Glass was not as obvious as traditional recording devices, it could ease tensions between urban patrol officers, or chengguan, and street vendors during law enforcement.

Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical, head-mounted display and information that is accessible in a smartphone-like, hands-free format.

"It works very well for taking pictures and videos when we gather evidence for our work,” Jiang said on Monday.

He posted a picture of himself wearing the device on Sunday morning, and the photo was soon the topic of much online discussion.

Using his own money, he bought the Google Glass in early April on, China’s largest online shopping platform, at a price of 13,000 yuan ($2,085).

At first, he planned to use it only for personal purposes. But he gradually realized that it could be used as a good tool to collect evidence and to record chengguan officers' work in the streets.

According to regulations, at least two chengguan officers should appear during the patrol. Jiang said his colleague uses traditional devices, while Jiang uses the Google Glass as a supplementary tool.

Although the Google Glass was being used on a trial basis, Jiang’s action has received positive responses from chengguan authorities, he said.

In China, urban patrol officers are responsible for enforcing bylaws and maintaining the urban environment. Chengguan have made headlines for being involved in conflicts that often have been violent and bloody.

On Saturday in Cangnan county, Zhejiang province, after a conflict between chengguan officers and residents, a man who took pictures of the patrol was injured by the officers. Later, five officers were beat by angry onlookers.

Jiang, who has worked as a chengguan since 2011 after graduating from Shanghai University, said that he had a deeper understanding of the complicated job.

"The job was full of disputes with small vendors. The reason was complicated. Both sides should understand and cooperate with each other,” Jiang said.

Chengguan should also explore ways of enforcing laws that ordinary people better can accept, he said.

Jiang plans to make a short film with Google Glass later this year, using a first-person point of view to showcase a positive image of chengguan. He hopes the film will show the positive changes to the environment brought about by chengguan.

Experts said Jiang’s efforts and creative ideas to improve chengguan officers’ work and image should be praised.

Wang Hui, a deputy professor in urban management at Capital University of Economics and Business, said Jiang’s actions should be rewarded by authorities because he used his own money to improve his work.

"Although a Google Glass may not be a realistic tool for every chengguan, other advanced tools of gathering evidence could help promote civilized law enforcement,” Wang said.

Jian's action should at least inspire society on how to improve the bad image of chengguan, Wang said.

Other chengguan should also think about better ways to enforce laws to counter recent negative cases, Wang said.

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