“Beat Him, Take Everything Away” Abuses by China’s Chengguan Para-Police
Speaker: Dr. Sophie Richardson
China Director, Human Rights Watch
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
12.45pm – Lunch
1.15pm - Question-and-Answer Session
Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong
On Wednesday, May 23 2012, Human Rights Watch (HRW) will launch its first China report of 2012: “Beat Him, Take Everything Away” Abuses by China’s Chengguan Para-Police at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club.
Since its founding in 1997, China’s Urban Management Law Enforcement (城管执法), or chengguan, a para-police agency tasked with enforcing non-criminal urban administrative regulations, has earned a reputation for excessive force and impunity. The chengguan have become associated in popular opinion with arbitrary and thuggish behavior, including assaults on suspected administrative law violators (some of which lead to serious injury or death), illegal detention, and abuses accompanying forceful confiscation of property.
“Beat Him, Take Everything Away”—based on interviews with victims of chengguan abuse between mid-2009 and 2011 and analysis of relevant Chinese laws, regulations, and academic writings—charts the creation and development of chengguan units over the past 15 years, details recent cases of abuse, and sets forth recommendations for ending the abuses. The report illustrates problems plaguing law enforcement in China more generally, underlining the gap between the Chinese government’s rhetoric on rule of law and the rougher, more arbitrary reality experienced by Chinese victims of abusive policing.
Human Rights Watch will launch the report at a Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents Club lunch on May 23, 2012. HRW China director Sophie Richardson will present the report’s main findings and discuss other pertinent issues related to human rights and rule of law in China in a question and answer session with lunch attendees.
Sophie Richardson is the China director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division and oversees the organization’s work on China. She has testified before the European Parliament and the US Senate and House of Representatives. She has provided commentary to the BBC, CNN, , Foreign Policy, National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, the Hopkins-Nanjing Program, and Oberlin College.