Updated: 2013-07-26 08:35
Chengguan 城管 (urban management officials)
Chengguan is short for urban administration and law enforcement bureau officials, especially at the grassroots level. Employed by local governments, chengguan are mostly in charge of keeping a city's streets and pavements clear by driving away vendors and hawkers, and cracking down on illegal taxis and illegal construction.
But chengguan don't have a good public image. In fact, people dislike them, because of the violent way they wield their power. For instance, a farmer vending his melons in Linwu county, Hunan province, was beaten to death by six chengguan recently. In Harbin, Heilongjiang province, a vendor was injured in a fight with chengguan after they had seized his fruits.
Millions of people from rural areas have migrated to cities attracted by the lure of better income. Though most of them have salaried jobs, some have taken to vending all sorts of things, from fruits and snacks to hosiery and footwear. It is this vulnerable group of vendors that is the primary target of chengguan. Those who bully others should be punished. But, at the same time, the authorities also have to educate and train chengguan to deal with vulnerable people in a civilized manner, instead of treating them like criminals.
(China Daily USA 07/26/2013 page16)