Friday, December 3, 2010

Some people just have to get beat

My assistant editor and I were on are way to an interview this afternoon. We'd just exited the subway turnstile when we turned around to see a middle-aged man start beating a young man with what appeared to be a pair of handcuffs. We did the Chinese thing - stopped in our tracks and gawked until the young man broke free and bolted down the escalator.

"What was that!?"

"I think maybe he is a thief, and I think the other guy beat him with handcuffs - so maybe he is an undercover cop."

"But if he's a cop why didn't he just arrest him?"

I'm imaging a swift take down, something martial artsy, the older man appeared to have just grabbed this young guy by his sleeve and was repeatedly hitting him with the handcuffs. Maybe I've watched too much TV, but it didn't seem like a very official arrest.

"I think here have some thieves. And people hate them very much, so when they are caught they surely must be beat."

Makes sense. Didn't seem like a show an American cop could have gotten away with (in public, I mean), that's the kind of thing you can get sued for. But a little ass whooping for a pickpocket? There's one authoritarian bit of government I can get behind.

My assistant then instructed me that if I see a Xinjiang woman carrying a baby, there's a 90% chance she's a thief, and that they use the baby as cover for their hands as they rifle through your junk.

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