"When the police patrolmen I knew in Taiwan reflected on their experience working as agents of law enforcement, they frequently invoked a cultural ideal of balance between three primordial qualities of human sociality: qing (sentiment), li (reason) and fa (law). It was a defining idiom of their job, an idiom pedigreed by a thousand-year-old jurisprudential tradition and expressed in modern form through textbook techniques taught in the police college. "
|Police propaganda billboard advertising goals for building a “Peaceful and Healthy Society.” This photograph was taken in Taiwan in the early 2000s. Photo courtesy Jeffrey T Martin|
* Jeffrey T Martin is a cultural anthropologist working in the sociology department at the University of Hong Kong. He runs a policing seminar in Hong Kong that aspires, among other things, to contribute to the development of a comparative anthropology of policing (see www.policingstudiesforum.com).