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    Beijing Wants More Citizen Vigilante Groups Across the Capital

    City officials cited the influential Chaoyang Masses as role models.
    Nov 18, 2021#urban China

    The Chaoyang Masses are a collective of eagle-eyed residents from Beijing’s Chaoyang District known for keeping tabs on petty crimes and also reporting the alleged misconduct of some of the country’s top celebrities. Now, city officials say they want more such citizen vigilante groups.

    The Beijing Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau released a plan earlier this month to increase the number of community social organizations in the capital and stress the importance of highly influential groups like the Chaoyang Masses. The document added that each district should have at least two such volunteer-led organizations on par with the Chaoyang Masses brand.

    The plan is to “promote the high-quality development of community social organization in Beijing, and give them a positive role in grassroots social governance,” according to the document.

    The Chaoyang Masses most recently made national headlines in October after members anonymously reported prominent Chinese pianist Li Yundi for allegedly soliciting prostitution. Li was later detained by Chaoyang police.

    The Chaoyang Masses have also been referred to as the “world’s fifth-largest intelligence agency” on social media for their detective work. There are currently over 230,000 volunteers with daily obligations varying from picking litter to tipping off police to potential crimes.

    Editor: Bibek Bhandari.

    (Header image: A volunteer discourages couriers from entering a residential community in Tongzhou District, Beijing, Feb. 12, 2020. People Visual)