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The Peking Academy of Colloquial Chinese

Volume 1, Lesson 14 - Joint Defense (lian fang)

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Our prestige occupation this month is Lianfang, lian meaning joint and fang meaning defense. (This has nothing to do with the legal profession, so please read on... we'll use small words)

So, you might be asking, "What the heck is a joint defense if it has nothing to do with the legal trade?"

First, I'll assume you live in a matchbox apartment somewhere in the Beijing metropolitan area, or have at least visited one. Provided it's high enough, and you're not arriving in a state of inebriation (drunk, in small words) after two o'clock in the morning, you've probably used the elevator.

Er... that is, you've probably 'ridden' the elevator... since if you tried to touch the buttons you'd get your hand whacked with a knitting needle or worse.... See, if you haven't experienced this, the woman (usually of mature age) sitting in the elevator all day pressing buttons and reading newspapers is part of the Joint Defense, or Lianfang.

Besides watching the elevator all day and pushing people's buttons, from time to time, (national holidays, congress meeting days, foreign ministry visiting days, national xxx campaign days...), they are encouraged to roam around the neighborhood at night with a flash light to ensure nothing weird is happening.
In addition, the meaning of Lianfang can be extended to the person responsible for helping the surplus labor workers settle down.

Job Title: Lian Fang
Job Description:

1. Watch for thieves.
2. Observe and report on foreigners dating Chinese girls.
3. Keep strange people tracked.

Fortunately for us our Lianfang is very good at her job.

But unfortunately for the Lianfang, her devotion to watching the elevator and everything else often ends in a lifetime of work, neglecting her children who later embark on a life of degradation and crime.

Thus ends and begins anew the story of lianfang.

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