Thursday, November 05, 2009

Kunming man "beaten to death" by Chengguan

It has been reported on some Chinese websites that a man was beaten to death by members of Kunming's City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau [城市管理行政执法局], also known as Chengguan [城管]. The local government agency has been established in every city in the People's Republic of China and is considered by many people to be brutal in the carrying out of its duties. Ever since the agency came into existence 10 years ago, there has been repeated criticism of them using excessive force.
According to reports carried on the website China Smack, Pan Huaiyong, a-37-year-old, from Zhenxiong, Zhaotong, Yunnan Province, was beaten after demanding his 3-wheel peddle-cycle be returned to him after it was earlier confiscated by authorities. Following his death more than a hundred people converged on the offices of the Chengguan in Kunming's Guandu District [pictured above].

Police arrived at the scene and the situation remained calm, but tense according to reports. China Smack says that Pan came to Kunming to make a living after his wife left him. Awaiting passengers outside the Desheng Hotel, he was approached by members of the Chengguan who attempted to confiscate his tricycle. Despite attempting to make off, Pan was beaten and his vehicle, which he used to convey passengers for a living, was taken away. The man attempted to secure the return of his tricycle the next day but due to his not having the 200 RMB [$30] he was apparently beaten and died from his injuries.

Police insist the beating to death of Pan Huaiyong is "only a claim" and reporters have been told they will have to wait for an official report to be conducted. The rumours have angered many however. Comments on Internet forums are cynical of the official explanations. One person writes, "Chengguan not beating people to death would be news." Another describes them as "mobsters posing as law enforcement."

Even when an official report surfaces, many are sceptical of its probable conclusion. "Everyone stop the fuss, leaders in Kunming are coming up with a response as we speak to contain the situation. Mostly likely the conclusion would be that the victim had a disease that suddenly killed him or he committed suicide. Our leaders usually use something like this. It’s a harmonious society," one post read. 

There is growing resentment of security officials which are often seen as little more than paid thugs. And it is not just the Chinese that are complaining. On a recent post written by the Daily Telegraph's Beijing correspondent, Peter Foster describes his own experience with a bank security guard who had taken exception to where Foster had left his bicycle. 

He also told of how a woman shopper was beaten to death by security guards outside a Chinese branch of Wal-Mart after being accused of shoplifting – wrongly as it turned out. It often comes down to training as Matthew Crabbe writes on the website AccessAsia. He says that guards fall into two types – “bao’an”, who are reasonably trained and “zhi’an” who aren’t.

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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