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Josh Garcia, a temporary chengguan from the US, shows a pedestrian a sign saying "please do not jaywalk" in Zhuzhou, Hunan province, last week. Yang Lingling / for China Daily
Josh Garcia will leave Zhuzhou in Central China's Hunan province next week, with a uniform of chengguan, a urban management officer, a gift from the local urban management bureau for his temporary service there.
Garcia, 23, who comes from Cleveland, Tennessee, is in Zhuzhou to visit his girlfriend, a voluntary English teacher at a local middle school.
On Thursday, he took local residents by surprise when he appeared on the streets of Zhuzhou wearing a chengguan uniform and performing the duties of an urban management officer.
"Many people found it funny and stared and laughed at me. Some kids followed me around for a while, mimicking everything I did," he told China Daily.
"But the people we caught jaywalking were not as happy," he said.
His patrol lasted more than two hours in the afternoon and at the end of his service he received the uniform as a gift.
Garcia took up the job at the invitation of Yang Hao, the chief of urban management officers in the Shifeng district of the city, who is also his friend.
"We think it is a good practice to set up a friendly image of chengguan," he said.
"He is my best friend in China and I believe what he does is good for the city. So I did not hesitate," Garcia said.
Garcia said previously he was impressed by the city's old ladies who acted as assistants to urban management officers.
"They seemed to be in so many places and are very strict with people who breach the rules. But they were very nice to me."
To prepare him for the chengguan job, Garcia got brief training from other officers. As they could not speak English well, they used a lot of body language.
Garcia has been in China for about one month, has visited several cities.
"My impression of chengguan was that they often selectively enforce laws, and sometimes were a nuisance, especially when I wanted to cross the street."
"But my impression of the chengguan here in Zhuzhou is different. They seem to be doing a very good job here."
The two hours of patrolling as a chengguan helped him get a better understanding of the job.
"It was very hot in the uniform in the hot weather," he said. "The ladies that do this sort of job are wonderful."
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(China Daily 06/12/2012 page7)