Citizens' mistreatment by police and officials stands in stark contrast to government's rosy picture of an ordered society Until five months ago, Xu Yunlong was decidedly less cynical about government slogans, including the propaganda about building a harmonious society, which was espoused by the sixth plenum of the 16th Communist Party Central Committee that closed yesterday. But the 29-year-old, who runs a small business cleaning and cooking for families, said that all changed when his girlfriend, a young Tsinghua University graduate with a stable job, was arrested while pursuing their mutual hobby - helping stray animals find a home. He said his girlfriend was walking two dogs on the street with a pregnant friend five months ago when two police officers asked to see their dog licences, which are a requirement for dog owners. His girlfriend said she only had one licence because she had just picked up one of the dogs from the street. Mr Xu said what happened next was beyond his imagination. His girlfriend - Mr Xu asked that her name not be used because of fears she might lose her job - was accused of hitting one of the officers, an accusation she said was false. Her pregnant friend was pushed to the ground and not allowed to call an ambulance. Mr Xu said his girlfriend was detained for 10 days and then given a six-month suspended jail sentence. 'When she was in the detention centre, she thought she was a victim of false accusations,' he said. 'But she found so many cases worse than hers.' Mr Xu said the incident had completely changed his mindset. 'Building a harmonious society? It is just a lie trying to deceive ordinary people,' he said. 'Now I understand how corrupt the cops are and how dark the society is.' Mr Xu is just one of many ordinary people - who are not even losers in the mainland's recent economic growth - angered by mistreatment by corrupt officials abusing their power. Those who seek justice by petitioning the authorities or appealing to the media often find themselves trapped in a vicious cycle as they are persecuted for complaining. An example is Feng Xuangxi, a cadre in charge of public relations in a Guangzhou government department and a Communist Party member. Mr Feng thought he could organise press conferences and send out press releases to reporters to force police in his home town in Hebei province to charge a man he thought raped his sister. Instead, he lost his government job, became homeless after he sold his property to finance the cost of petitioning, saw his relatives beaten up by police, fell sick and was finally detained himself. Mr Feng was a troublemaker in the eyes of local police and officials. He said he had underestimated the corruption and abuse of power of local officials. To him, President Hu Jintao's harmonious society is only a remote dream painted by the Communist Party. 'The idea is good,' he said. 'But it is just so remote.'