Court officials experience new life in communities during epidemic

(Xinhua)      Updated : 2020-04-03

HARBIN -- They are often referred to as "legal eagles" and confidently argue their case in courtrooms, but recently, court officials from the Harbin Intermediate People's Court have had a fresh experience: running errands for residents in communities.

The court sent more than 240 court officials to several communities for 43 days in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, as part of a government program to help ease the pressure on community officials from the coronavirus outbreak and strengthen the bonds with the public.

Of the officials, many were judges, court officials and court police officers whose typical jobs include sending suspects and criminals in and out of courts.

Wang Dapeng is head of the "cadres' department" of the court, in charge of promoting or firing officials. He also evaluates the performance of court officials. But this time around, his job took a very different direction: he became a "gateman" at the Tienan Alleyway community. His new job involved doing various chores for the residents, in addition to patrolling the communities and registering the information of vehicles and residents.

"I was not quite used to such work at first," he said. "It was quite a transition."

Some residents gave him a hard time.

"A lady bought a big round table on the internet for her father, but because of prevention and control measures, the deliveryman was not allowed to enter the community," Wang said. "The lady was quite upset and started yelling at us."

Wang did not want to make a scene, so he decided to carry the table for the lady.

"It was really heavy. I sweated a lot and my hands were numb soon after," he said. "She saw it, came over to help and apologized to me."

Wang soon got used to his new job, and even started helping locals run errands.

"I saw an old couple, probably in their 80s, walking with shaking legs on their way to the market," Wang said.

So Wang decided to order fresh vegetables and daily necessities online and carry the goods to the couple's house regularly.

"They are quite old, and even though I went to their house many times, they still did not recognize me," he said. "But it did not matter, because seeing them reminded me of my own parents."

Wang said he felt filial by helping the seniors.

"I had never been so close to people in such a way before, not by sitting in my office," he said.

Like Wang Dapeng, senior judge Wang Shujie also had a novel experience.

Wang Shujie was assigned to work in Harbin's Fanrong Street. During her stay there, she got to know an introverted woman who lives alone.

"She never wore a mask when she went out of her house, no matter how hard the community officials persuaded her to," Wang said. "So every day, I would go to her house and give her two extra masks, while engaging her in conversation. She probably just needed a friend."

The two became acquaintances and would say hello to each other on the road.

"I felt like she was happier than before," Wang said. "She thanked us when we finished our work in the community."

The days of working in the communities were rewarding, Wang said.

"We got to know the people better, that is our biggest achievement," she said. "We will listen to people more in the court before mediating and making court decisions in the future."

The 43 days have enhanced their bond with the public, said court head Jin Yinqiang.

"We will continue to serve the people whole-heartedly in the future," Jin said.