Suzhou Police Protect and Serve (Tea)

The city’s Public Security Bureau has launched its own tea shop, complete with a pun-based name

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Simon Frank
4:11 PM HKT, Mon January 15, 2024 1 mins read

Suzhou’s Public Security Bureau has opened its own tea shop, Jingcha. The name puns on the Mandarin term for police, jǐngchá (警察), swapping the second character in Chinese for the homonymous chá (茶), tea.

The new tea shop has sparked excitement in Suzhou and online, in part due to its comprehensive visual identity system. In a post with more than one hundred thousand views, advertising industry WeChat account 4A Advertising Circle showcased and praised designs for Jingcha’s cups, takeaway bags, and canvas totes.

However, if you’re eager to try Jingcha, you might be out of luck. The teashop is located within Suzhou’s Public Security Bureau offices and is not open to the public. There’s no word on whether Jingcha has expansion plans, but considering recent efforts by the police to connect with younger citizens through cute branding, the positive public reaction to the brand can only be considered a success.

Tea at Chinese People's Police Day, Hangzhou

Nothing to see here. Tea at Chinese People’s Police Day, image via 4A Advertising Circle.

It’s not unheard of for government entities in China separate from traditional state-run enterprises to get involved in commercial ventures (take for example, the People’s Liberation Army’s business empire in the 1990s), but this isn’t even the first time unexpected organizations have stepped into the beverage business. In 2022, China Post opened cafés in Fujian province, launching a chain that has since spread around the country.

Hangzhou, not far from Suzhou, is actually a bit of a pioneer when it comes to bringing together cops and caffeine. In 2022, the city’s Gongshu District opened a café in a police station, and in 2023 it began experimenting with the same “jingcha” pun. For this year’s “Chinese People’s Police Day,” which took place on January 10, the Hangzhou Public Security Bureau teamed up with buzzy Yunnan tea brand Chagee to sell limited edition “jingcha.”

Time will tell if these new initiatives are simply a public relations stunt or if they end up improving food and drink options in government buildings — something that anyone who has had to file bureaucratic paperwork in China might actually appreciate. Either way, the euphemism “being invited to tea” might be taking on new shades of meaning.

Banner image via 4A Advertising Circle.

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