• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 9:12pm


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.


Shenyang hawker hoped for justice ahead of execution for double killing

Shenyang snack seller, executed yesterday for killing two urban management officers who beat him, clung to belief he would be vindicated

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 September, 2013, 1:10pm

A street hawker who was executed yesterday for stabbing two urban management officers to death in 2009 after they beat him was still hoping for vindication during his last hours, according to his wife.

The Shenyang City Intermediate People's Court said on its microblog that Xia Junfeng was executed on the charge of "intentional homicide" after it was endorsed by the Supreme People's Court.

The hawker's wife, Zhang Jing, told the South China Morning Post yesterday that Xia was still hoping for vindication during his last hours. She said he appeared calm during their half-hour meeting shortly before his execution, and he insisted he had acted in self-defence.

"As long as there is still one person back at my home, tell them not to give up appealing for me," Xia said in his last words to his wife.

"He told me that he won't accept it even if he died," Zhang said.

Zhang said her family was shocked and devastated by the execution because the Supreme Court had promised to look into the case seriously when they applied for a review of the death sentence two years ago.

"We didn't expect such an outcome after two years of waiting," she said.

On May 16, 2009, while selling roasted sausages and other snacks with Zhang in Shenyang in Liaoning province, Xia was seized by urban management officers - known as chengguan - and taken to their office, where he was beaten.

Xia fought back with a small knife he normally used for preparing food, stabbing two officers to death and injuring another.

He was convicted of intentional homicide and sentenced to death in November 2009. His appeal was rejected in April 2011.

The execution was a shock for his supporters, as the case had been under review by the Supreme Court for 28 months, offering a glimmer of hope that his death sentence would be commuted. The Supreme Court defended Xia's execution yesterday, saying on its microblog that "Xia's crime was particularly serious and did not deserve a lighter punishment".

Xia also told his wife yesterday for the first time that his confession presented by prosecutors at the trial two years ago was extracted through torture.

Xia expressed a last wish to have a photo taken with his family, but officials refused. "How could you be so cruel?" Zhang charged on her microblog.

Legal scholar Teng Biao , Xia's defence lawyer, said the case had not been properly investigated and lacked evidence that Xia killed the officers intentionally.

"It will make more people think about the legitimacy of the use of the death penalty," he said.

Tong Zongjin , an associate professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said on his microblog that if Gu Kailai , the wife of disgraced Politburo member Bo Xilai , only received a suspended death sentence - normally commuted to life imprisonment - for murdering British businessman Neil Heywood, then "there's no reason to execute Xia after he was beaten and killed [the chengguan] unintentionally".

The execution aroused widespread sympathy on the mainland's social media. It was the most popular topic on the Sina Weibo microblog yesterday, with more than 133,000 posts as of late yesterday afternoon.



Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Caixin reported today that Xia Junfeng may not have had a fair trial:
"A court request by defense lawyers to show footage from a surveillance camera was rejected, and six witnesses for Xia were not allowed to testify."
They were called SA in Nazi Germany, China's shining example.
I have seen "chengguan" in action, they are a bunch of lowly trained, educated power hungry thugs. IMO, many of them should be executed because they intend to kill behind the protection of being a "government official". IMO, they should be send to the Talibs as thug toys.
u guys dont know what kind of animals they(ChengGuan) are dealing with in the streets in China.. 2nd/3rd gen country bumps with little or no education and freaking unreasonable SOBs that won China for Mao's CCP thugs!!!
Such anger. So what would you like to do to the ChenGuan? Jail them? Torture them? Execute them? Please note, they didn't kill nobody & they're LIKE YOU is a son, a brother, a husband, a father to some innocents. Not all ChenGuang are bad. And they are a necessity (same like the unappreciated Hawkers Control in HK). You would speak otherwise if you've experienced the problems of uncontrolled hawkers & beggars in China - as I've.
Today in Germany they are called "Ordnungsamt". You should learn more about your own history and country, buddy.


SCMP.com Account