China deploy movie extras to quell protests


OK. I’ll admit that China is infamous for fake stuff. But iPhones, eggs, milk, TVs are all products. And in most instances, these aren’t fakes sanctioned by the Chinese government. The SCMP’s article from the 23rd of June suggests a whole new level of fake stuff. No longer are we content with faking physical products, it appears that the authorities in an area of Beijing hired movie extras to act as security guards in a bid to stop villagers from entering metro-line work-sites.

Apparently, “Fearing that land requisition for a new Beijing metro line could be delayed by angry villagers from the town of Xindian, the authorities decided to hire hundreds of extras waiting for jobs outside the Beijing Film Studio as security guards on June 10 and 17, The Beijing News reported yesterday. The extras were paid 60 yuan (HK$72) a day, given free security guard uniforms and bussed to the scene of the protests to stop villagers entering metro line work sites.”

The article goes on to note that “none of the villagers detected that they were fakes.” which must mean that the extras were pretty convincing. I’m still in the dark as to how anyone found out if the villagers didn’t realize. But it certainly sheds some light on what remains an interesting occurrence.

The local authorities claim that they had hired a contractor to provide security guards and weren’t informed of the situation. In any case, one of the extras said “When villagers clashed with us, most extras chose to run away.” during an interview.

You can see the full SCMP article below:

Extras star in reality show of security
Authorities hire actors as fake officers to quell protests over metro line land payouts

China has a worldwide reputation for making counterfeit products ranging from eggs to iPhones, but villagers from Beijing’s outlying Fengtai district were surprised to discover that hundreds of security guards hired by the authorities to suppress their protests were fakes, too.

Fearing that land requisition for a new Beijing metro line could be delayed by angry villagers from the town of Xindian, the authorities decided to hire hundreds of extras waiting for jobs outside the Beijing Film Studio as security guards on June 10 and 17, The Beijing Newsreported yesterday. The extras were paid 60 yuan (HK$72) a day, given free security guard uniforms and bussed to the scene of the protests to stop villagers entering metro line work sites.

An extra from Henan , who said he had been hired by the government twice recently, told the newspaper that working for the government as a fake security guard was a lucrative new job opportunity.

“Usually, we are hired to pretend to be security guards in the outskirts, to accelerate the process of land requisition by the authorities,” he said. “The last time we [suppressed protests] in five to six villages in a morning. When villagers clashed with us, most extras chose to run away.”

Tian Tao , deputy head of the town government, confirmed to The Beijing News that the government and its contractor had agreed to hire some 200 security guards on June 10 and 1,000 on June 17 to disperse villagers. But he said they were hired by the contractor and he was unaware that some were extras.

Villagers said they objected to the land requisition because the metro line contractor was paying only 4.5 million yuan for 10 hectares of land, far below the market price.

“We found some 200 to 300 young men wearing security guard uniforms and yellow steel helmets on the morning of June 10 as we shouted slogans and rushed to the construction site,” one villager said. “They were forced to retreat after more villagers went out to reinforce the protesters.”

The extras proved to be good actors because none of the villagers detected that they were fakes.

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