On September 21, a recruitment order for the “management of 10 households” in a residential area in Gongjing District, Zigong City, Sichuan Province, was spread on social media. The mentioning of “managing 10 households” in the recruitment order sparked a wave of comments from netizens. Some netizens bluntly said: “The ‘ten-household management’ system of the Qin Dynasty is reappearing, one person makes a mistake, the whole family is affected, (they) simply want to control the people.'”

According to a report from “China Digital Times,” the community in Gongjing District has implemented a “10-household management” system and is recruiting candidates. However, the mention of “managing 10 households” in the recruitment order made many netizens think of the strict hukou (household registration) management system in China’s feudal society. For example, “Importing household registration to correct people” of the Qin Dynasty and the “System of a thousand households” of the Yuan Dynasty are all colors of pressure and terror because if one person makes a mistake, others will be punished. 

Since the end of August, the area has piloted a management system of “10 households management.” The Sichuan Daily media reported on this, pointing out that the “manager of 10 households” was primarily responsible for contacting and serving the neighbors of ten households in the residential area. “Managing 10 households” is a bridge connecting community organizations, household heads, and residents. In each building in the residential area, party members, officials of government agencies, and business agencies living there are the first to carry out the responsibility of “managing 10 households.”

The recruitment order “managing 10 households” spread on the Internet shows that this occupation is open to everyone. It requires people with a strong will to progress, good health, harmonious coordination, communication, organizational skills, and enthusiastic service to the common good. It can be self-nominated or recommended by the community.

According to the Vision Times, the Weibo account “Pen ge la di” points out that “managing 10 households” means that the heads of ten households form a “group of household heads,” the natural role of which is dedicated to epidemic prevention and mutual management. So the task is to knock on the door of 10 households to enter the house to see if it has been disinfected, tested for nucleic acids, and whether the occupants are wearing a mask or not. But the question is, do we have the right to prevent the “manager of 10 households” from entering the door? Normally this would be the case. But not now. Because the task of the “manager of 10 households” is to prevent the pandemic, if they are not allowed in, we are hindering pandemic prevention and control. And the consequences of hindering pandemic prevention and control are too many if it is light—fines, if severe—imprisonment.

The author continued: “The management system of 10 households cannot help but make people talk. When it comes to “managing 10 households,” people immediately think of Prime Minister Shangyang of the Qin Dynasty. The Qin Dynasty is estimated to have a history of 2,300 or 2,400 years. We have advanced over 200 centuries, and are we really still convinced by the wisdom of Shangyang?”

The author asks, “sanctity is an indispensable thing for ordinary people, who can be willing to let the manager of 10 households search their home? Privacy is a place for people to maintain their dignity, who is willing to let the “manager of 10 households” knock on the door? Not only adults, even a child, will not be willing to accept the existence of this “10-household manager,” because the meaning of their existence is basically the same as that of an electronic sentinel.”

NetEase account “Wenwu Shijiee” (Vision of Literature) pointed out that the reason netizens feel confused when they see the “management of 10 households” is related to their historical knowledge. For example, in 356 BC, during the political reform of the prime minister Shang Yang of the Qin state, every five households in the country were organized into a team. Ten households were classified as a group, and five or ten Households were organized into a common security body, instructing people to monitor each other. If one of the “team 5” and “group 10” has a household committing a crime, the other households must report it promptly, the whistleblowers were rewarded, and those who didn’t report were slashed across the back.

According to The Vision Times‘ Weibo account, “New knowledge creator Zhao Zheng (Zhao Zheng)” said: “A small official is not qualified to recruit to manage 10 households in a street. This method is clearly reminiscent of the historical practice. Regardless of the law, it’s freely created, which is a loophole in the workings of China’s power system.”

The account “Cinema and Television Life Club” wrote: “I don’t know if the story about managing 10 households is true or not? If true, my attitude is not very supportive! and I do not agree with this method, especially under the epidemic period, everyone’s income is low, people are extremely confused, life is difficult! and this will certainly add fuel to the fire.”

Angry netizens commented:

“The brain was kicked by the donkey, so I figured out a way to manage these 10 households, I want to cause chaos.”

“The old civil status payroll system to people management in many layers started from the Qin Dynasty. After being brought out, the Qin Dynasty quickly perished. When it appeared in the Yuan Dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty also soon perished. This policy indirectly or directly led to the short-lived Yuan Dynasty’s fall.”

Twitter user Zhao Lanjian said: “One person who commits all crimes is punished is a modern version of the feudal ‘execution of nine relations’ law (one offender, whole lineage were all beheaded for nine generations).” Managing 10 households is also a kind of joint responsibility. These ten households monitor each other, and as long as one person makes a mistake (such as not taking a nucleic acid test), several other families are punished together. Then ten families fight (each other). Or like whether a child can go to school is related to whether family members pay for health insurance. This management model of ‘involving the nine races’ will further restrict citizens’ rights and cause people to fall into even more fear.'”

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