MA chengguanMeng Yanchao, 26 years old.

Educational background: In 2010, he graduated from Tongji University, after which he attended a graduate program at Newcastle University in high-level international commerce management and received his Master’s degree.

Employment: Chengguan (Urban Management Authority), Songjiang District, Shanghai

Expecting to learn from work: I’m willing to do basic work, to encounter all sorts of people, and learn about all sorts of things.


Tall and fair complexioned with half-frame black glasses, and still a little shy when he smiles, it’s hard to imagine that 26 year old Meng Yanchao has already completed several years of mental preparation to work as a chengguan.


I once hesitated: work in government or do business?

Dongfang Daily: What influence did your two years of education abroad have on your future career choice?

Meng Yanchao: In 2010, when I graduated from Tongji University, I decided to go to England to continue my studies. I chose to study high-level international commerce management for my Master’s program at Newcastle University. Actually, this is in the same vein as the administrative management I majored in at Tongji University. If you match these subjects of study up to a corresponding position and organization, I think that being a chengguan, as well as industry and commerce, are both suitable.

When I received my undergraduate degree, I already had a plan to take the public service exam, so my studies abroad didn’t change my career aspirations. My time abroad helped me understand more about customs and living conditions abroad and broaden my perspective. My main objective in getting my Master’s wasn’t to go abroad.

In July of 2012, I graduated and returned to China, and I once again became conflicted about whether to go into government or business. Finding a job with a company, even those famous multinationals, seems like a pretty good path. But when I thought about it carefully, my dream all along was to return to my hometown and make a contribution to it with my abilities. I’m a born and raised Songjiang District native, so without another thought, I went and enrolled to take the public service test.


Testing to become a chengguan, the odds of success are higher

Dongfang Daily: Over the past few years, don’t Chinese who study overseas and return to China have some advantages when finding employment?

Meng Yanchao: I don’t really think so. Even if you’re a study abroad returnee, there’s a lot of pressure to find a job. Finding a suitable company is difficult, and taking public service exams isn’t easy either.

I started preparing for the public service exam basically from September of 2012. Even though I studied hard, my final written test score wasn’t great. It was only a few points above the passing line. Selecting a work unit that relatively fewer people were interested in was the best way of increasing my odds of success. So my first choice was the Songjiang District Chengguan. I mean, the subjective and objective factors aligned in making the choice.

The Songjiang District Chengguan recruited seven people out of twenty one interviewees this year. When they interview you, the interviewers don’t have any information on your personal background. It was the same for me as for the others, I had to rely on my performance to win the approval of the interviewers. “One resident’s external air conditioning unit is blocking the window of another resident. How should you handle the situation?” The four questions during the interview all required interviewees to consider real world situations to come up with answers. I felt a little slow at that time, and I had to take a minute or two to consider each question before answering.


Getting to know work responsibilities through the Chengguan weibo account

Dongfang Daily: What is the image of chengguan in your mind?

Meng Yanchao: Neither my parents nor any of my relatives work in the government. You could say I don’t have any public servants to take as role models. It’s worth noting that I do have a close friend who is a chengguan. In my mind, he’s a good-natured guy and friendly, and he’s nothing like those reports in the news and online about chengguan fighting with people or getting beaten up. But what I know about this job isn’t because of him.

While I was studying, I saw chengguan patrolling the streets many times, and I watched them enforce the law. There was one time when I saw a pile of construction rubble on the street and thought to myself someone should really go clean that up to clear the street. The next day, I saw chengguan cleaning that street.

This work is something like police work. The country entrusts us with the authority to enforce the law. But we have to deal with smaller matters, protecting the normal operations and order of the city. This is a very social service oriented job. I follow Shanghai chengguan on weibo, and I try to understand the responsibilities and scope of work more deeply in that way.


Future development: there’s no very specific plan

Dongfang Daily: Are you sufficiently psychologically prepared to get mixed up with street peddlers and unlicensed stall keepers after you start working?

Meng Yanchao: I’m willing to do basic work, to encounter all sorts of people, and learn about all sorts of things. Not everyone in this world is a successful and well-dressed person who spits in the right place. There’s still a mass of common people who are of low or basic social status. What attracts me to this work is its ability to give me a clearer understanding of society.

I did an internship in the neighborhood committee one summer during college. I talked with the elderly residents and the poor families. The little issues that occurred between those residents and families gave me a basic introduction to this kind of work. If there’s any difference after I put on the uniform, it’s going to mostly be about the application of legal authority to manage issues. This should be a civilized process, and a fair and lawful one. As for my future development, I don’t have a very clear plan. I just want to have my feet firmly on the ground, and move ahead one step at a time.


Original publication date: 5/14/2013


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New Oriental to Close English Training Centers

by elbbj on February 3, 2013

Original publication date: 2/2/13

neworientalWe reported several days ago that English training mega-school New Oriental may cut staff and close training center locations. This has caused quite a bit of worry among individuals studying with the organization.


Closing 15-25 Education Centers

Numerous media outlets have reported in recent days that New Oriental, which has been in operation for over twenty years, provided training for 16 million individuals, and even set up shop in US cities, saw their earnings slide, and is now cutting staff and closing centers. Profits have been seriously affected by New Oriental’s rapid expansion and setting up of 238 new centers in recent years. CFO Louis Hsieh said New Oriental will be closing between fifteen and twenty five centers and cutting between 1000 and 1500 staff within four months.


Main Shanghai branch yet to receive notice of closure

According to reports, there are over about fifty branch centers in the entire city of Shanghai. Many of these centers receive a large volume of students preparing to study abroad and individuals looking to strengthen their English. Will the layoffs and center closures affect Shanghai?

Since New Oriental has refused to make statements to media disclosing a specific plan for center closures, our reporter posed as a regular student and spoke over the phone yesterday with an individual at the main Shanghai branch, who said that the branch has yet to receive notification of layoffs and closures. The individual who answered the phone revealed that normal operations should continue for those enrolled until June.


Recent site inspections by the Board of Education

The Shanghai city Yangpu District branch of New Oriental is overseen jointly by the Yangpu Board of Education and the Civil Affairs Bureau. An official from the Yangpu Board of Education Educational Services Section revealed that New Oriental’s main Shanghai branch receives a yearly inspection every March, and that all was found to be normal with financial operations last year. “We contacted New Oriental when we heard about the layoffs and closures, and we’ll be doing an inspection of the branch office soon to increase our oversight.”

In order to protect the rights and interests of students and teachers, Shanghai city published Provisional Rules for Management of  Educational Training Organization Student Fee Bank Accounts in April of last year, which requires educational training organizations to set up “Student Fee Bank Accounts” at specific banks and actively monitor the flow of funds to and from the account. This is in order to prevent theft of funds and bankruptcy among educational training organizations. 



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High School Students Hesitate to Choose a Major

January 22, 2013

Scholar Meets Students Face-to-Face to Dispel Uncertainties Don’t choose to be a chemistry major. Chemistry is dangerous! Seriously? Yesterday, Jiang Ming, famous Chinese chemist and scholar at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, gave a speech at the Academician’s Hall Shanghai as part of the Orient Youth Sciences Forum Happy Winter Break, Meet the Scholars program. Through close […]

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Attraction of First-Tier Cities Weakens, Half of Graduates Go Home to Find Work (part 1)

January 15, 2013

For college graduates born during the 90s, the draw of cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou is weakening. There are more and more who want to head home and develop their careers in second-tier cities. Reports this morning covered the meetings of the 14th International Western China Fair Hangzhou Professional Recruitment Conference and the Hangzhou City […]

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