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.


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.

Six urban management officers were sent to a detention centre in Chenzhou city for causing "intentional injury" to the street vendor Deng Zhengjia, 56, who died as a result of his injuries, Xinhua reported, citing officials from the Linwu county government.

The killing of watermelon seller Deng Zhengjia this week in China has led netizens to draw parallels with the death of Tunisian vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, which triggered regime change across the Middle East.

The death of a Hunan watermelon vendor has reignited public outrage against the chengguan - urban management officials - force in China as the latest incident of what some call excessive violence has triggered a protest in the south-central province.

The official, or chengguan as they are more commonly known, was caught selling ceramic mugs on a sidewalk in the Wuhan's Hongshan district on Sunday.

Stories about chengguan - officers employed by city urban administrative and law enforcement bureaus - beating up street vendors are nothing new, but when a video showing one in Yanan , Shaanxi , stamping on a vendor's head was circulated online last week, it sparked surprise and anger.

The official, identified as Su Jiaquan, was stabbed seven times and had knife wounds on her head, face, hands and forearms. The attacker, and other hawkers at the scene, fled immediately.