Controversial Chengguan Handbook Outrage Netizens


more-danwei-125x125From Danwei:

“A practical handbook for beating street vendors”

Why are chengguan so brutal?

City administration enforcement squads (城管) have an abysmal reputation. Tasked with checking permits and keeping street vendors from setting up unlicensed stalls, their methods frequently result in violent altercations that sometimes land rule-breakers in the hospital or morgue. In the ongoing debate over how to pull these squads into line, chengguan are often depicted as uneducated, short-tempered brutes who don’t know any better.

However, a textbook that has been the focus of considerable online attention over the past few days suggests that chengguan are being taught to use violence in certain situations when carrying out their duties. An article in today’s Southern Metropolis Daily discusses the online controversy and speaks to the Nanjing-based chengguan who first posted images from the book online:

Article from Southern Metropolis Daily, translated by Danwei:

Netizen exposes textbook on “beating without drawing blood”

by Zhang Dongfeng, intern Xiong Qiao / SMD

“In dealing with the subject, take care to leave no blood on the face, no wounds on the body, and no people in the vicinity.” Yesterday, the cover and contents of a book titled The Practice of City Administrator Law Enforcement exploded onto the Internet.

An official with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of City Administration and Law Enforcement (hereafter the City Administration Bureau) confirmed to this newspaper that the bureau had authored the “training textbook.” He was surprised at the controversy portions of the book had caused online: “Who put it up on the net? How did internal material come to be discussed outside?”

No consideration for harm to the subject

The book, a “training textbook” for the City Administration Bureau, was published by the National School of Administration Press.

The book is a practical manual to guide chengguan in enforcing the law. The images posted online showed a portion of the fourth chapter. The section titled “Handling limits in the process of city administration law enforcement” explains in detail how chengguan are to prevent violence when they are about to encounter violence: without letting go of the subject, several chengguan shall act together and in a single move take the individual under bodily control. Each action must be effective so as not to give the subject any pause for breath.

What most astonished netizens was section’s explanation of “specific actions to counter violent resistance to the law”: In dealing with the subject, take care to leave no blood on the face, no wounds on the body, and no people in the vicinity….

The book also instructed chengguan squad members to achieve “unawareness” (??): “Do not consider whether you are a match for the subject, whether you will harm the subject, or how long it will take for the resistance to subside. You must achieve a state of unawareness and become a resolute law enforcer staunchly protecting the dignity of city administrative regulations.”

Hostage negotiation expert assisted in writing the book

After reading the portions of the book posted online, a netizen exclaimed that it was a “secret martial arts manual”: “Beating without drawing blood requires immense internal energy!” “The Practice of City Administrator Law Enforcement: Even greater than suffering insults silently or turning the other cheek ? beating without drawing blood.”

However, some netizens felt that the material was meant to instruct chengguan in how to use appropriate self-defense protect themselves and brought up examples of how police deal with people who resist arrest. But more netizens felt otherwise: “The police are dealing with criminals. Chengguan are dealing with ordinary people!” …

translated article continued at: Danwei



From EastSouthWestNorth:

“The Whistleblowing Municipal Administrator’s Own Views”

Article from Southern Metropolis Daily, translated by EastSouthWestNorth:

The person who exposed <The Municipal Administrator’s Practical Guide To Law Enforcement> on the Internet is Nanjing city Xuanwu district municipal administrator Zhao Yang. It is perhaps the most famous municipal administrator on the Internet because he has published many essays about municipal administrative problems over the years. In 2002, he established the “Municipal Administrator Home” forum the Xici Hutong BBS and made many self-critical and scandal-exposing essays there.

“I have been transferred several times, and I have been criticized by my supervisors,” said Zhao Yang. He regards the Internet exchanges as a way of letting “the outside word see the true situation of municipal administration” and therefore he continues to write about various problems, including more than 1 dozen posts on excerpts from <The Municipal Administrator’s Practical Guide To Law Enforcement>.

Yesterday, Zhao Yang was interviewed by Southern Metropolis Daily. Although he does not agree with the guideline “to make sure that no blood is visible on the face and no wounds are observable on the body” and although he is opposed to “violent law enforcement” and although he is sympathetic with small businessmen and vendors (sometimes even helping them to find work), he often used violent methods to enforce the law because he cannot accomplish his mission otherwise.

Q. You don’t seem to agree with certain presentations in the book, but why were these methods chosen in the “official training”?
A: This book reflects reality relatively. There are many technical things that are very practical. For example, the part about how to intimidate resisters is very useful. As another example, the book explained that when there are many spectators around, you should assume a moderate attitude. When there are fewer people, you can use forceful techniques. This is all you can do when you encounter violent resistance.

Q. This is the only way?
A. In the present reality, you can’t get anything done if you don’t follow this way. For example, your supervisor issues order to evict all the curbside stands. This is hard to do. What should you do? You can block them out, but as soon as you do so, you will encounter violent resistance. Under the pressure, is there any way to avoid violence? If you fail to accomplish your mission, you will flunk your evaluation. Take us as an example. Suppose the order was to have no curbside vendors. The supervisors comes around to inspect and we get fined 40 yuan for each curbside vendor present. Some of our law enforcement colleagues gets fined 500 or 600 yuan a month. So the relationship between municipal administrators and street vendors is one of life and death. To a certain degree, this book reflects reality. We can also see from the book just how severe the situation has gotten to.

Q. What is the root of the problem? …

translated article continued at: EastSouthWestNorth


more-littleredbook-125x125From littleredbook:

“Government issued “violence how-to” pamphlet for city managers angers Chinese netizens”

Select comments from Sina, translated by littleredbook:

新浪湖北武汉网友/(from Wuhan, Hebei)

I wanted to be a gangster at first; recently it seems pirates become popular, so I changed my mind and wanted to be a pirate. After reading this, I want to become a city official now.

新浪陕西网友手机用户/(from Shannxi)

Actually the original intention of setting up city official this job position is good, if do it right, they will be helpful for preserving social order. However, if you see what they are doing on the streets now, this group of bastard have totally distorted the original intention!

新浪江苏网友/(from Jiangsu)

The book may not really exist, this maybe just somebody’s making a practical joke. However, almost everybody agree on city officials’ abuse of power. So there are really some problem existing, maybe it’s because rules and regulations haven’t been well improved, or maybe it’s because national productive forces haven’t been well developed. I hope everybody try to be more considerate, if there is force going on please help them, also wish our government could select someone really qualified to be city officials.

新浪广东深圳网友/(from Shenzhen, Guangdong)

The objects of city officials law enforcement are small vendors. Among those vendors, some are laid-off workers, some are farmers who came to the cities, some are just out of a school and couldn’t find jobs, etc. They need to earn their lives. They are disadvantaged group in our country. They need help. City officials, do you have consciences?

新浪重庆网友/(from Chongqing)

The book is well written, and it should be well spread. City officials are also human beings, when facing violent resisting, they need to defend themselves.

新浪浙江杭州网友/(from Hangzhou Zhejiang)

If you are using legitimate defence, why need to worry about if there will be blood or not?

新浪河北沧州网友/(from Cangzhou, Hebei)

China is a developing country; there are way too many unemployed people. Get rid of those vendors in order to maintain the so called city image; this is a fascist way of administration. I’ve seen city officials threw a vendor’s’ stuff all over the ground, beat the vendor down and shouted:” Why don’t you do something meaningful, why chose to be street vendor?” For the god sake, even university graduates can’t find jobs, not to mention those poor normal citizens. Frankly speaking, China is a country with a large popularity, which requires to have varied forms of job positions.

新浪江苏苏州网友/(from Jiangsu Suzhou)

City officials are so powerful. If anyone shouts “City officials are coming”’ among crowds of vendors, the scene will be very much like what happened when devils Japanese came to China years ago.

Select comments from Tianya, translated by littleredbook:


I admire city officials. We will never need army from now on, and I believe that China will undertake not to be the first to use city officials [Sherry: this guy is making fun of the political statement of “China undertakes not to be the first to use nuclear weapons”]


City officials are an unbeaten army.


It turned out that they have a book to look for instructions.


How come these are city officials? They are clearly bandits and gangsters, some legally licensed bandits and gangsters!


I think they are way stronger and more efficient than Japanese army! The sequel of “Nanjing! Nanjing” should be “Chengguan! Chengguan!”

more info & translated comments at: littleredbook


Written by chinaSMACK

Welcome to chinaSMACK. This is an archive of announcement posts and other posts without a specific author.


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