Using their amateur acting skills and their own offices, police in eastern China have turned a safety lesson into a cop show — and it’s a hit.
The first installment of “Officer Li Jianguo” was put online Monday by its producers, a division of the municipal police of Changzhou, a city in Jiangsu province. The five-minute episode educating children on how to keep safe during the summer holiday had been viewed 12 million times by Friday.
The hero of the show is Li Jianguo, a chubby policeman working in the city’s Weitang Station. Despite introducing Li in the opening monologue as a crime-fighter, his superior assigns him the task of carrying out safety education among young students.
Instead of resorting to brochures, which Li dismisses as a boring teaching method that “should be dumped,” he and his superior play the roles of two primary school kids in a short video explaining how to respond when you see someone drowning. In China, drowning is the main cause of death among children 1 to 14 years old, according to a 2014 report from the World Health Organization.
By adopting an exaggerated acting style, the amateur sitcom stars poke fun at the otherwise serious content matter. Police officer Yu Tao told local newspaper Yangtse Evening News that they embraced an unconventional approach to reach their target audience more effectively. The police station behind the show could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
According to the show’s Weibo microblog account, more episodes will follow, featuring more protagonists and safety tips. Yu said the cast are all from the police force, but that the film crew are professionals.
Net users have been impressed with “Officer Li Jianguo,” praising its production quality and educational value. “I can’t believe police can film such great work,” read one comment on Weibo. “Thumbs up for you,” wrote another user. “You really went all-out for children’s safety during the summer vacation.”
The Changzhou corps are not the first police officers to mold their message into a viral video. In April, police in Beijing debuted a “Waiting for Red Lights” dance video to deter people from jaywalking. In May, an officer composed a rap song about his experiences on the night shift.
In another initiative to communicate more closely with communities, authorities in Nanjing, also in Jiangsu province, on Tuesday launched an app for filing police reports that media have described as “Didi for police,” referring to China’s most popular ride-hailing app.
Editor: Kevin Schoenmakers.
(Header image: A screenshot from the video filmed by police officers in Changzhou.)