Beijing wants to hire 100,000 volunteers as ‘anti-terror informants’

Beijing’s plan to recruit up to 100,000 volunteers as “anti-terror informants” has been met with doubt by some members of the public.

They fear efforts to collect information could lead to dangerous confrontations with strangers, and point to concerns about living in a community where suspicion of one’s neighbours is rife.

The chief of the municipal Public Security Bureau, Fu Zhenghua, announced late last month that the capital aimed to enlist people from across society, including cleaners, security guards and deliverymen, to act as lookouts for possible terrorist activity. The announcement came a few months after Beijing police began offering up to 40,000 yuan (HK$50,280) for tip-offs on suspected plots.

Some provinces have unveiled even bigger rewards to informants, with Yunnan offering up to 200,000 yuan and Inner Mongolia 500,000 yuan. In Shenzhen, authorities have left the amount uncapped. But some members of the public question whether such payments will be made if they were to step forward with information.

“The 40,000 yuan reward seems too good to be true,” said a bicycle repairman in Beijing’s Tuanjiehu area, who did not want to be identified. “Who can guarantee the reward won’t be an empty promise?”

A security guard near Tuanjiehu Park was equally sceptical, saying he was concerned residents might endanger themselves if they tried to pursue information.

“People carry backpacks and pushcarts all the time. They come and go. We don’t have any right to stop and check them. We’re not the police,” he said. “The police did not mention an informant protection plan. What if the terrorists went after the informant after he or she made a report? I think a life is worth a lot more than 40,000 yuan.”

Full article: Beijing wants to hire 100,000 volunteers as ‘anti-terror informants’ (South China Morning Post)

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