Chengguan are an urban management force installed in almost every city on mainland China. They mostly clamp down on illegal street vendors but also enforce rules on city sanitation, landscaping and parking. Chengguan officers have been increasingly criticised after some of them used bullying tactics that have resulted in injuries and sometimes death.
Chengguan blamed for beating another vendor
The public outcry against the army of chengguan, or urban management officers with a reputation for thuggery, has grown after a hawker was seriously injured in a northeastern province a day after another man was beaten to death in a southern city for illegal peddling.
In the latest incident, four or five chengguan allegedly bashed a hawker over the head with their walkie-talkies and even bricks - then refused to take him to hospital even though his head was covered in blood, People's Daily reported.
The assault allegedly took place on Thursday night in the Daiwai district of Harbin , the capital of Heilongjiang province.
On Wednesday, Deng Zhengjia, 56, was beaten to death by chengguan in Linwu county, Hunan province, for selling watermelons without a licence.
Both events sparked an outcry online.
Wu Wei, the vendor assaulted in Harbin, said he was attacked as he was about to pack up.
"Suddenly someone knocked my head," he said. "I ran away but then returned to try to retrieve my goods, when one of them began knocking my head with his walkie-talkie. There were four to five of them, [and they] hit me with bricks."
An onlooker said Wu was bleeding profusely and she asked the officers to send the man to hospital. "They didn't pay any attention to me," she was quoted as saying.
Local authorities told the paper that the officers involved in the attack, all part-time workers, had been suspended as the city investigated the incident.