Low pay, no respect

A security guard outside the Sunshine 100 International Apartment in Chaoyang district on Sunday. Photo: Wang Zi/GT

Research into Sino-foreign integration suggests that foreign residents often treat community staff, such as security guards, better than local Chinese residents do.

Security guards the Global Times interviewed tended to agree, noting that they felt Chinese people often looked down on them as they hold a low-status job.
Sun Jixiang, a student from the University of International Business and Economics concluded his survey by interviewing security guards as part of the faculty’s research on “Sino-foreign integration” in international communities, which was revealed on Sunday.

So far, the survey has focused on Wangjing, Chaoyang district, where in addition to foreign and Chinese residents, Sun also interviewed security guards in the communities.

“Chinese and foreign residents hold different opinions on careers such as being a security guard. It seems some Chinese citizens take a disparaging attitude toward them while most expats show more respect,” Sun said.

Zhao Zhilong, 24, from Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, works in Huading Shijia community, Chaoyang district, where 80 percent of residents are foreigners. He values his working environment with its “unique characteristics of an international community.”

“I feel fine with where I am as a security guard after graduating from a college, and the biggest reason is that I have the respect I deserve in the community from the expatriates,” Zhao said, “but usually Chinese people look down on security guards in big cities.”

Liu Zhicheng, 21, from Tianshui, Gansu Province, will quit his security-guard career in four months after serving at Sunshine 100 International Apartment, in the CBD, because it has been “too hard and I suffered discrimination.”

“I was hit on the face by a boss on the 6th floor because I said he couldn’t park his Audi inside without a permit. It turns out security guards get more scolded than a waiter here,” Liu said, “my mom and I agreed I can go back home where everyone appreciates each other’s hard work, and understand better we are just doing different jobs.”

Liu confirmed that usually foreign residents are more polite to them and show more respect by saying “thank you” a lot, while some Chinese take his work for granted.

Hospitality comes in a mutual way, and some overseas residents living in Pingod, near Shuangjing, enjoy the guards’ special treatment and friendly manners.
“They’re polite, but I think they’re more polite to the foreigners, better than to Chinese. Sometimes they offer to carry the bags after I do my grocery shopping,” said an anonymous German resident who has lived there for two years.

“I don’t think it’s part of their responsibility, but I still enjoy this,” she said.
Joe, an American who has lived in the same community for one year, also thinks the guards treat expats better than local Chinese, however, he does not think they do a good job in keeping order, for example, in preventing all the junk mail and flyers posted through the door.

Li Shaohua, a member of Beijing Municipal Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, who ran the first property management company in Beijing back in 1991, thinks it is a fact that many Chinese people who worship money do discriminate against people who do low-paid, low-skilled and low-entry standard professions.

“Some security guards even look down on themselves by not wearing their uniform back home, because society thinks people in the industry are not well-educated and have low morals. It makes it even harder to bring in more well-educated people to change peoples’ opinion, so it’s truly a vicious circle,” Li noted.

According to research Renmin University of China conducted in over 100 communities in town from 2005 to 2010, serious disputes between property owners and security guards occurred in 80 percent of the compounds, and 37 percent involved physical confrontation.

“Security guards have an important role in helping maintain public security, and we have more of them than policemen in most cities, so hopefully the government will regulate the security companies on a management and training level,” Li said.

Source: Global Times

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