Is a policeman's profession death and danger, or glory and glamour? Answers vary when one peeks into handcuffs, cracked skulls, shell-proof vests, bloody scenes, hero badges and martyr names carved on the walls
Housed in the former imposing American Citibank, Beijing, the Beijing Police Museum helps define the lives of policemen in the capital. On display are 1,500 pieces out of a collection of 7,000 in the four-storey, 2,000 square metre exhibition areas.
Through relics, pictures, models and bilingual explanation (Chinese and English), one learns about the history of the police in Beijing since they were officially organized by the Qing Dynasty in 1907. Policemen duties have included transportation, fire extinguishing, maintaining citizen archives, safeguarding citizens and investigating, catching and gaoling criminals.
Main attractions: Notable are rare relics revealing criminal cases, such as guns used by Lu Xianzhou and his gang in bank robberies in 1995-96, whistles, cameras and uniforms used by policemen from 1950 to today, information on an explosion in Xidan in 1968 and the former "highly confidential" map of DPRK statesman Kim II Sung's Beijing tour in 1987 (to protect him from danger).
Interactive games for children include shooting scenes shown on large screens like real-scene-effect video games, looking for fingerprints, and tracking down criminals by drawing their pictures in the computers.
One also can buy souvenirs such as toys made of bullet shells, miniature vehicles and a set of key-holders based on cartoon images of Beijing policemen. The small shop is in a corner of the first floor.
Add: 36 Dongjiaominxiang Lane, Dongcheng District;
Entry ticket: 5 yuan (US$0.6), free for children;
Opening hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, daily;
Traffic: Take bus 8, 41, 60 and get off at Zhengyilu Nankou, or bus 9, 729, 744, 819, 859 to get off at Zhengyilu. Head north and turn left (westward) to enter Dongjiaominxiang Lane. Or take bus 2, 5, 20, 22, 120, 726 or the subway to get off at Qianmen. Go north then eastward into Dongjiaominxiang Lane, (near the National Museum of China);
(China Daily March 10, 2006)