Chinese Chengguan Surrounded, Beaten Bloody By Angry Crowd

A mass incident in Cangnan, Zhejiang surrounding chengguan who were beaten bloody after beating a passerby for photographing them.

A mass incident in Cangnan, Zhejiang surrounding chengguan who were beaten bloody after beating a passerby for photographing them.

From NetEase:

Full Story of the 5 Chengguan Temporary Workers Involved in Beating Surrounded and Beaten By A Thousand People

From the around 8:30am in the morning until around 8pm at night on April 19th, the dispute between 5 Zhejiang province Wenzhou Cangnan county Lingxi town chengguan city management personnel and an individual who was taking photos to dissuade them from using violence in their law enforcement escalated into a mass incident involving the entire town.

According to local officials, at around 9am that morning, local chengguan had a dispute with a female street peddler while on patrol against street peddlers doing business by occupying and blocking the road. Immediately afterward, chengguan clashed with Huang Xiangba, a person who had been passing by and used his mobile phone to take photos of the dispute, beating the latter onto the ground until he was spitting blood. The 5 chengguan who beat him were then besieged by the surrounding crowd, with all 5 suffering injuries, and two of them going into shock with critical injuries.

As of yesterday night, local police authorities have already arrested over ten individuals involved in instigating the incident, with “most of them being idle bodies [troublemakers] in the town and surrounding areas.”

Within these 12 hours, Huang Xiangba, the person who passed by and took photos, has won the sympathy of the local populace. Then also in the name of sympathy, the 5 chengguan have become the victims.

“Can’t do it this way”

The chengguan wearing uniforms quietly left, while those not wearing uniforms stayed behind to continue beating Huang Xiangba

Around 8:30 on the 19th, as 39-year-old Huang Xiangba was on his way home after buying groceries, he saw several chengguan confiscating the gas stove and high-pressure pot of a street peddler. “One chengguan was getting physical with an old lady who was selling things.”

Eyewitness Zheng Ruiyuan claims that when the incident occurred, he saw an old grandma who was selling tea eggs and roasted yams pleading with four or five chengguan personnel. “You guys can’t do it this way [can’t behave like this],” Huang Xiangba said as he took photos. Two chengguan personnel who were in the process of moving things turned around and charged up to Huang Xiangba. “They both slapped/hit me immediately,” Huang Xiangba says.

After running away about a dozen meters, Huang Xiangba was caught by chengguan squad members and beaten.

Lingxi town mayor Wu Zhaopeng explains that the location where Huang Xiangba was beaten was around the intersection of Damen Road and Kangle Road, at the center of Lingxi town. Damen farmer’s market is located here and every morning there are many rural vegetable farmers who come here to sell their vegetables. Starting from 5am in the morning, the less than 5 meter wider street is filled with the honking of cars and peddlers hawking their goods.

The chengguan that Huang Xiangba encountered were those that were in the process of clearing away the street peddlers blocking traffic on Kangle Road in the direction towards Wanghe Road from Jiangwan Road. Before that, they had already cleared nearly 3/4ths of Damen Road, and were close to completing their morning task.

When Huang Xiangba was being beaten, Chen Xianrui, the owner of the pharmacy opposite the scene of the incident said he was in his store when he heard someone yell “chengguan are beating people”. He then went outside and saw three uniformed chengguan punching and kicking a man. The man at first used both hands to protect his head and after being beaten until he was squatting on the ground, the chengguan personnel began kicking him. “The chengguan were wearing hard leather shoes, blood was spurting out.”

Multiple witnesses claim that after the beating began, the chengguan wearing uniforms quietly left, while the few people not wearing uniforms remained to continue beating Huang Xiangba.

Guo Xian (pseudonym), the owner of the Damen Road communications equipment store, claims that several young people attempted to stop the beating: “How can you guys beat someone like this”, “but were immediately hit several times.”

Zheng Ruiyuan was one of the people who went up to plead [with the attackers to stop]. When Huang Xiangba was attacked, he was nearby taking photos, and he was punched and kicked when he went forward to plead with them. “My right foot/leg is swollen from being hit.”

The beating lasted nearly 10 minutes. According to photos provided by witnesses, Huang Xiangba was already spitting blood at this time, with footprints left on his body. “I had lost consciousness at that time,” Huang Xiangba told this Beijing News reporter.

Not long after Huang Xiangba fainted, Tang Shujiao, who has ran a store for over 10 years on Kangle Road, arrived on the scene. “That’s my uncle!” Her yell quickly brought together the over a hundred neighborhood people around the area who then surrounded the vehicle the chengguan involved in the beating were attempting to leave in.

The chengguan under the pressure of “fostering a civilized/model city”

There are normally a lot of street peddlers blocking the road in the Damen Market area. “A minority of street vendors and street peddlers refuse to listen to our exhortations [for them to clear the road], while the vast majority of people are understanding of and support our work.”

“The law enforcement personnel did not fight with the street peddler blocking the road [but instead the fight was with the passerby Huang Xiangba].” Yesterday, [town mayor] Wu Zhaopeng explained that the law enforcement personnel asked that Huang Xiangba stop his photo-taking, but Huang Xiangba continued to take photos, and thus the two sides clashed. In the clash, Huang Xiangba was injured, which led to the nearby crowd gathering.

Wu Zhaopeng says [the chengguan] were on their routine patrol taking corrective action against those illegally operating businesses and blocking the road, with the personnel involved including chengguan law enforcement personnel and temporary workers.

Cangnan county chengguan have clashed with the populace in the course of law enforcement many times before.

On 2012 September 3, during a patrol of the Cangnan county Longgang town [chengguan], a clash occurred with a street peddler blocking the road, resulting in the female peddler suffering broken fingers; On 2011 July 28, an incident of violence and smashing involving deaf and dumb people was triggered by Lingxi town chengguan forcibly confiscating the merchandise of a deaf and dumb peddler.

According to multiple street peddlers where the incident occurred, the law enforcement of Cangnan county’s chengguan in recent years is closely related to the county seeking the “provincial-level model county city” designation [an honorary government award for governance and management]. According to the official Cangnan county government website, Cangnan county began seeking this provincial-level model county city designation in 2008 and succeeded in 2011.

Tang Shujiao says the 2012 September 3 Longgang town law enforcement clash was caused by the chengguan increasing their patrols [for city regulation violators] in anticipation of on-site evaluations by the government office responsible for determining if the county would receive the “model county city” honor.

[The drive to] “Foster a civilized city” has also increased the pressure on the chengguan.

Yesterday, Cangnan county Lingxi town Chengguan Department Legal Section Chief He Gang confirmed to this Beijing News reporter that the county is indeed currently being evaluated for the “provincial-level model county city” designation. He says his department’s law enforcement squad was on a routine patrol on the day of the clash, and that the clash was probably caused by the masses being misled by inaccurate information. He says it is normally common to find street peddlers blocking the road at the Damen Market area, “a minority of street vendors and peddlers refuse to listen to our exhortations [for them to clear the road], while the vast majority of people are still understanding of and support our work.”

This reporter saw that the streets and alleys of Lingxi county are covered with banners encouraging the fostering of a “provincial-level model county city”. The public affairs website set up by Lingxi county says [fostering] “a model county city” is a core goal. On April 17th, just two days before the [beating] incident occurred, Director Gong Yinyi of the Zhejiang province government office for determining “model” status had led an evaluation team to Lingxi county to conduct an on-site evaluation.

The chengguan involving in the beating were “temporary workers”

“These 5 chengguan staff are not actually official chengguan personnel. They are people the chengguan temporarily hire to assist in removing the stones and merchandise that are blocking the public roads.”

In the 4 hours from 10am until around 2pm on the 19th, the number of people in the surrounding crowd grew from the hundreds into the thousands, with Cangnan county people using Weixin/WeChat to disseminate information to their friends about “chengguan beating people”.

60-year-old witness Wang Pu (pseudonym) says there were a total of two chengguan vehicles that were surrounded, with one vehicle being a cargo vehicle for holding confiscated/impounded merchandise and the other being a small van. At first, the two vehicles attempted to drive away, but the surrounding crowd immediately punctured the vehicles’ tires. The chengguan personnel in the cargo vehicle was so frightened that he fled into the small van, locked the vehicle doors, and continuously made phone calls.

The small van was drowned in wave after wave of calls to “Beat them! Beat them!” At around 11am, Huang Xiangba’s relative arrived at the scene of the incident and the scene got further out of control.

At 12 noon, police and the county leadership arrived at the scene. Police officers attempted to escort the 5 besieged chengguan out but were stopped by the crowd at the scene.

According to Li Qin (pseudonym) who was the first to call 110 [the emergency police number], the first time he saw the claim that “chengguan had beat people to death” was on Weixin/WeChat and it was at roughly the same time that the crowd also began yelling the same thing.

At around 2pm, after shouts of “chengguan had beat people to death”, some in the crowd began using objects such as bricks and wooden sticks to smash the vehicle windows and doors, causing injury to the several people inside the vehicle. Photos provided by one witness to this Beijing News reporter showed that inside a yellow van surrounded by the crowd, there were at least 3 people with differing levels of injuries and many bloodstains visible on their bodies.

“I know that hitting people is wrong, but do you know how arrogant/unbridled they were at the time?” said one local who asked to remain anonymous and who, at the time, had grabbed a broom from home. He explained that many locals in Cangnan were already normally quite disgusted with the chengguan, that these people [the chengguan] were basically all “waidiren [outsiders, non-locals]”. “A lot of people went forward to hit them a few times”, said witness Guo Xian.

According to He Gang: “As I understand it, these 5 chengguan staff are not actually official chengguan personnel. They are people the chengguan temporarily hire to assist in removing the stones and merchandise that are blocking the public road. This is because some of the peddlers will places stones/rocks on the street to prevent others from parking their cars there and thus affect their business. However, this is not allowed, so chengguan know ahead of time that there will be things that need to be removed and therefore call in outside workers to assist them. In the past, we’ve often called in these temporary workers to come help remove things.”

The 5 chengguan were dragged out of the vehicle and beaten by a sea of clubs and fists. Photos show that two chengguan were covered in bruises. After the incident, Cangnan county officials circulated information stating that on April 19th, people had posted rumors on the internet that “chengguan had beaten people to death”, causing the surrounding crowd to gather and the 5 chengguan to be surrounded and beaten. Later, the Ministry of Public Security organized people to persuade the crowd to disperse, order was basically restored, and the 5 injured chengguan personnel were taken to the hospital for treatment. After medical examination, two of the personnel had gone into shock from blood loss resulting from their injures, are currently in critical condition, and currently receiving emergency care; 3 personnel have soft-tissue injuries. As of 6:30pm that evening, the surrounding crowd had been persuaded to disperse, and order has been restored to the scene.

According to a Cangnan news website, local police have as of last night already apprehended over 10 people involved in causing trouble at the scene, “most of them being idle bodies [troublemakers] in the town and surrounding areas.”

According to that report, as of 3pm yesterday afternoon, one of the chengguan was still in shock due to blood loss from injuries and still undergoing emergency care. “I’m bewildered as well to have suddenly suffered such a beating,” said Zhao Eryuan, one of the “temporary workers” who suffered multiple soft tissue injuries.

Comments from NetEase:

网易广西南宁市网友 ip:121.31.*.*:

Those who have seen chengguan physically attack people with their own eyes, please click ding.

网易山东省聊城市网友 ip:182.39.*.*:

Strongly demand the release of the group of people who were arrested and that the chengguan personnel who first physically attacked people be held accountable [prosecuted].

网易广西南宁市网友 ip:121.31.*.*:

Just who was it that used what method to give chengguan temporary workers the power to enforce the law?

网易广东省东莞市网友 ip:113.79.*.*:

How did a group beating become a clash? Why were those who used violence unable to be stopped in the course of using violence?

网易重庆市网友 ip:113.206.*.*:

They often call people who have a sense of justice and conscience “society’s troublemakers”. This is their usual way of handling things!


You’re working to make a city more civilized and that means the ordinary common people are not allowed to make a living for themselves anymore? The old lady [the original street peddler who was allegedly harassed] still has to peddle to sell tea eggs, and whose fault is this??? Just how was old-age social security for the elderly ordinary common people been handled [forcing such people to still have to work]???

网易委内瑞拉手机网友 ip:190.75.*.*: (responding to above)

Of all the comments I’ve seen, this netizen says it best! A ding for you…

oriusstar [网易北京市网友]:

That civil servant in Hubei province Maoju who was beaten to death by over 10 chengguan after passing by and taking photos of a scene of chengguan beating someone, to this day, the 10-something attackers have not been sentenced to death. The reason I remember this place name is because I’ve passed through Maoju before during a trip. The reason I remember this incident is because I too have had to enter a police station with chengguan for [witnessing and then] stopping the barbaric law enforcement of chengguan.

chisesnow [网易河南省郑州市手机网友]:

Several things must be said!
1. Why can’t fair and just law enforcement be photographed? Is it too shameful to be seen?
2. Why is it that Huang X, who was already beaten to the point of spitting blood and obviously had serious injuries, is described as not having any major physical injuries? Whereas the five chengguan temporary workers are described as suffering soft tissue damage? With such biased descriptions, what unspeakable purpose/goal is there?
3. Why do they say those who who physically assaulted [Huang] are temporary workers? The surrounding crowd saw the [initial] attackers were chengguan wearing official uniforms; it’s just that they fled more quickly and were not surrounded in time, letting the five temporary workers become the scapegoats. This is different from saying the [initial] attackers are not official chengguan.
4. Why is it always stressed that street peddlers are operating illegally? Even if the peddler was blocking the public road, is that enough reason to use violence in law enforcement? To the point of surrounding and beating passerbys?
5. Why is that chengguan who beat to death street peddlers are only sentenced to a few years [in jail] but street peddlers who were attacked first and then beat to death chengguan while fighting back are instead sentenced to death?
6. Why do you people insist on shamelessly evading and distorting the truth in the style of the Emperor’s New Clothes even when everyone already knows what actually happened? Because at least you believe it anyway?
7. Why is it that things like this are happening more and more? Just who made thugs and hooligans law enforcement??

Comments from Phoenix Online:


Chinese law enforcement unbelievably are afraid of being photographs. This is a phenomenon worth thinking about. Why [are they afraid]?


Chengguan have already become the enemy of the public!


The anger and grievances of the lower levels of society has already reached a high pressure state. Increasing the thickness of the steel [increasing containment] is not the answer. Providing people with livelihoods and rooting out corruption is what is necessary.


Just wait, it was done by “temporary workers”.


The saying that “bandits/thugs used to be in the mountains but are now in the government” is true!


My homeland, just what is wrong with you?


China’s “legendary army” [referring to the chengguan] has once again done something!


The government employing chengguan is just causing more trouble. They’d be better off not employing [chengguan]!


Chengguan are the largest obstacle hindering the Chinese Dream from moving forward.


Chengguan, the Diaoyu Islands need you.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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