May 23, 2012

I. Background

Chengguan Origin and Legal Basis

The legal basis for the creation of the chengguan is the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Penalty (hereafter, Administrative Penalties Law), passed in March 1996. [7] That law did not specifically call for the creation of the chengguan, nor did it use that term. Instead, the law empowered provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities to “entrust an organization … with imposing administrative penalties” regarding matters falling outside the realm of criminal law and the authority of the Public Security Bureau (China’s police). [8] Over the next six years, China’s State Council, or cabinet, issued a total of four directives which echoed and amplified the objectives of the Administrative Penalties Law. [9]

The goals of the Chinese government appear to have been streamlining enforcement of local administrative regulations which were traditionally the responsibility of multiple local government departments, [10] minimizing opportunities for corruption and abuse of power, and better controlling public unrest.

According to Professor Jin Guokun of the Beijing Municipal School of Administration, the government’s intention was to require local municipalities to establish “a comprehensive department for administrative enforcements instead of various departments which were previously responsible” on the rationale that “one department is always better than 10 departments handling the same issue.” [11] That multi-department approach to administrative law enforcement had also created abuses of power that the central government described in its 1996 Administrative Punishments Circular as part of the motivation to create a new administrative enforcement entity free of such defects.

Some persons in the administrative law-enforcing contingent are low quality at present. Some of them abuse power for personal gain, refusing to provide service without personal gain or misusing power just for personal gain. Some of them even pervert justice for bribes and break the criminal law. Some localities and departments employ contract or temporary workers to carry out the work of law enforcement without necessary funds and other necessary conditions, resulting in a decline in the general quality of the law-enforcement personnel and damage to the image of the government. All localities and departments must pay close attention to that problem, regard the building of an efficient and honest and clean law-enforcing contingent as the key point in implementing the Law on Administrative Penalty.[12]

The chengguan’s emergence also reflected official concern about potentially destabilizing socioeconomic changes underway in Chinese cities. Policymakers perceived the rising numbers of laid-off or xia-gang ( 下岗 ) [13] state-owned enterprise employees and the growing population of migrant workers from China’s countryside coming to the cities in search of work in the late 1990s as potential threats to law and order. [14] Those changes in China’s urban population mix overwhelmed the Chinese government’s existing urban social control mechanism, the danwei ( 单位 ) or work unit, and prompted policymakers to create a replacement, said Chinese Academy of Social Sciences scholar Zhou Hanhua.

Originally [urban social control] issues were handled by the danwei (单位), the work unit, to which Chinese employees were once closely bound. The danwei … prevented people from engaging in [commercial] enterprises on the side. The decline of China’s state-owned enterprises in the 1990s precipitated the breakdown of the danwei system. At the same time, the country grew increasingly urbanized and millions of migrant workers poured into the cities. The traditional [urban social control] system could no longer manage [so] the chengguan were established to handle the problems of the urban environment.[15]

The Administrative Penalties Law outlines the powers of unspecified “administrative organs” [16] to impose administrative penalties which range from “disciplinary warnings,” “fines,” and “suspension of businesses” to “confiscation of illegal gains or … unlawful property.” [17] The law also seems designed to create a non-punitive law enforcement ethos, with explicit calls for penalties to be “combined with education” [18] and to reflect “the principles of fairness and openness,” [19] and it acknowledges the right of alleged violators to legally challenge administrative penalties and seek compensation. [20] The Administrative Penalties Law also requires that administrative regulation enforcers obey a code of conduct which, among other things, requires that they identify themselves to alleged administrative rule violators [21] and inform them of the relevant violation [22] and their right to a legal defense. [23] According to the Newest Essential Manual for Chengguan Grassroots Work, an academic publication, those principles and legal guarantees are routinely flouted.

In reality, chengguan law enforcement personnel do not produce their credentials, they confiscate goods illegally, they don’t follow legal process in carrying out their duties to inform. They don’t follow rules for a [legal] hearing either, [so] unfair law enforcement and illegal processes according to the Law of the Peoples Republic of China on Administrative Penalty occur repeatedly and are nothing new.[24]

The Administrative Penalties Law does not specify the scope of chengguan enforcement powers. It was not until August 2002 that the central government published a directive outlining eight specific areas of administrative law— ranging from environmental sanitation and traffic regulations to urban beautification rules [25] —that provinces, autonomous regions, and municipalities may delegate to chengguan. But even that directive does not specify permissible and prohibited means of enforcement, or set forth rules to guide the deportment and accountability of relevant enforcement personnel.

The Administrative Penalties Law lacunae have raised persistent concerns among lawyers and legal scholars about the chengguan’s fundamental legality. [26] “The legitimacy issue is at the core of all complaints targeted at the chengguan [because] there is no official document stipulating its status as a law enforcer.” [27] Beijing lawyer Hao Jinsun has argued that there is “no law or executive order formally sanctioning the existence of the [chengguan]. Its powers have simply been conferred by some municipal government departments and this is illegal.” [28] A November 2011 report by the nongovernmental organization Chinese Human Rights Defenders argued that the chengguan’s ambiguous legal basis facilitates “violence, brutality, law-breaking, corruption and human rights abuses” by chengguan personnel. [29]

A 2007 review of academic research on chengguan duties and powers noted that in some jurisdictions chengguan have “14 functions and more than 300 kinds of power, none of which, however, is endowed by law … [instead, chengguan functions and powers are adapted] from those of industry and commerce administrations and public security bureaus.”[30] The human rights lawyer and legal scholar Teng Biao has asserted that the ambiguities of the Administrative Penalties Law fatally undermine its legal legitimacy:

Since 1997 when the chengguan came into being … until now there is no national “Chengguan Management Law” or administrative regulations [so] chengguan “law enforcement” has no legal basis. A lack of uniformity and standardization of [chengguan] law enforcement, lack of lead [regulatory] agency and the absence of legal supervision has jeopardized the authority of public security.[31]

To remedy that ambiguity and to give the chengguan a firmer legal foundation with clear duties and transparent lines of control and command, the Standing Committee of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, approved the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Enforcement (hereafter, Administrative Enforcement Law) on June 30, 2011, [32] after six years of deliberation. [33] Peking University Professor Jiang Mingan described the law as a means to rectify inadequacies in the Administrative Penalty Law which “is too ambiguous and not good enough in terms of checking and balancing the power of [chengguan].” [34]

As with every other law and government directive governing the operations of the chengguan, the Administrative Enforcement Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2012, does not mention the chengguan by name but instead refers to “administrative organs.” [35] Numerous specific articles of the law, however, define and clarify duties of “administrative enforcement” [36] and “administrative compulsion” [37] in an apparent effort to prevent chengguan abuses. [38] They include the prioritization of “non-compulsory” enforcement measures [39] and limitations on the power of administrative organs to seize and confiscate property. [40] The law also stipulates a procedure for when and how administrative organs may use “compulsion,” a provision which appears designed to prevent chengguan abuses against members of the public. [41] The law also prohibits administrative organs such as the chengguan from conducting administrative enforcement actions they are not empowered by law to conduct [42] and reinforces the existing ban on administrative detention of suspects by chengguan. [43]

A July 5, 2011 assessment of the Administrative Enforcement Law by the Beijing-based legal firm Lehman, Lee and Xu LLP described the law as an advance in Chinese government efforts to “curb the abuse of administrative powers” while providing “protection of the rights of citizens and entities.” [44] But commentary on the law by Chinese sources has been mixed. A February 9, 2012, statement by the Urban Management Administrative Law Enforcement Bureau in Huai’an, Jiangsu province, praises the law for having a “pronounced impact on urban management and law enforcement” through the implementation of “more stringent administrative enforcement provisions.” [45]

A February 9, 2012 editorial in the Economic Information Daily, however, casts doubt on its impact. The editorial describes an incident in Harbin in which chengguan confiscated a swing which had hung at the door of a senior citizen’s residence. [46] The editorial argues the confiscation violates the Administrative Enforcement Law criteria for such seizure because the chengguan did not produce law enforcement identity documents, did not give legal reasons for the confiscation, and did not notify the affected citizens of their legal rights. [47]

Despite the confusion surrounding the chengguan’s responsibilities and chain of command, their numbers have grown considerably. The first chengguan detachment began operations on a trial basis in Beijing’s Xuanwu district in May 1997. By September 2000, chengguan enforcement operations had expanded under the direction and regulation of individual municipalities to a total of 65 cities. By the end of 2005, 308 Chinese cities had created chengguan detachments out of a total of 656 cities nationwide. Beijing’s ranks of chengguan officers grew from just over 100 in 1997 to 6,200 in July 2010.

Duties and Training

Individual municipalities define the duties and powers of their chengguan units. According to a Chinese academic study of chengguan operations, “Provincial, autonomous region and municipal governments decide the [scope of] chengguan law enforcement rights … [this has led directly] to local governments allowing chengguan duties to excessively affect [citizens] rights and has led to the limitless expansion of chengguan scope of duties.” [48]

Chengguan duties can extend to enforcement of municipal government property eviction and demolition orders. These actions frequently involve angry or violent protests between enforcement personnel and aggrieved property owners, situations more appropriate for better trained and qualified police officers. [49]

Beijing regulations, which other municipalities have adopted as a model, give chengguan enforcement powers in 14 areas and stipulate 300 sub-categories of violations for which chengguan have the power to impose punishment, including a catch-all “other administrative punishments” category. [50] In the area of hygiene, for example, the regulations give chengguan authority to ensure the quality of restaurants’ cooking oil, [51] while in the public utilities area they provide that the chengguan are to ensure the safety of the city’s gas pipelines. [52] During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the municipal government mobilized more than 5,000 chengguan officers to assist with ensuring good air quality during the games. [53] In Yantai city in Shandong province, the municipality has empowered local chengguan with vague “emergency” law enforcement powers. [54] Those responsibilities have allowed for extremely wide interpretation and application which have been criticized for “covering almost every aspect of city residents’ lives … [and] the vital interests of the people.” [55]

Both the Administrative Penalties Law and the Circular of the State Council Regarding the Implementation of Administrative Punishments stipulate educational and training qualifications for chengguan officers. [56] However, numerous legal scholars, lawyers, and civil society activists are skeptical about the implementation of those standards. Certain municipalities employ chengguan officers who have not even graduated from high school. [57]

Yao Lifa, a democracy activist and former municipal People’s Congress representative in Qianjiang city in Hubei province, blames the education and skill deficit of many chengguan on the common municipal practice of hiring demobilized soldiers untrained in administrative law enforcement as chengguan. [58] A Nanjing chengguan officer in May 2010 cited “lack of proper training” for frequent incidents of violence involving chengguan officers. [59] “We don’t have enough training to effectively enforce law with manners. We are too often told about the dos and don’ts, but seldom how to work properly.” [60]

The training that chengguan do receive has fueled concerns about chengguan commitment to the rights and safety of Chinese citizens. In April 2009, contents of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of City Administration’s Law Enforcement Training Manual were leaked onto the internet. Sections of the book, described in the preface as China’s “first professional guide to practical city administration enforcement” reportedly suggested the application of violence against citizens in the course of enforcement actions. [61] Among them were instructions for surreptitious violence against perceived rule-breakers: “In dealing with the subject, take care to leave no blood on the face, no wounds on the body, and [ensure that] no people [are] in the vicinity.” [62]

Chengguan and Street Vendors

Media reports and interviews by Human Rights Watch suggest that street vendors constitute a large proportion of the victims of chengguan violence. Xie Zhikui, deputy director of the Institute for Social Development at the Shenzhen Academy of Social Sciences, attributes the lack of formal employment opportunities for rural migrants in China’s cities to their participation in the “informal economy” of street vending. [63] Street vending is illegal in most of China’s cities outside of designated outdoor market areas where vendors require government-issued permits. [64] Those restrictions are widely ignored, bringing vendors into conflict with chengguan officers tasked to keep streets, sidewalks, footbridges, and pedestrian underpasses free of illegal vendors.

Street vendors rarely bother to apply for the necessary registration for legal outdoor vending and a senior chengguan official noted in 2008 that municipal governments lack personnel to ensure the efficient issuance of such permits. [65] However, one chengguan official defended his agency’s focus on the activities of street vendors as a response to public complaints about their effect on the areas where they operate. “Chengguan officers … respond daily to residents’ complaints against noise, fumes and pollution caused by street vendors, [even in cases where] they have no legal basis to [sanction the street vendors],” according to Luo Yameng, secretary-general of the National Joint Meeting of the Directors of all Chengguan Bureaus in the Country. [66]

The result is a perception that, “the main task of chengguan officers now is to drive away vendors from pavements and underpasses … [and] many city authorities resort to violent means to remove them.” [67] A November 2011 report by the nongovernmental organization Chinese Human Rights Defenders described chengguan “basic law enforcement methods” in controlling street vendors as including: “Confiscation of goods, kicking vendors’ stands, throwing [vendors’] goods to the ground, gang [style] beatings, triad-style [gangster-like] protection fee collection.” [68] Police statistics issued in 2009 indicate that there are 600 violent incidents annually between illegal vendors and chengguan in the city of Guangzhou alone. [69] Those statistics do not specify who provoked the violent incidents or whether injuries resulted.

A 41-year-old female street vendor, Ruan Ying, who was the victim of a chengguan beating in late July 2010 in Beijing, summarized the fear and confusion felt by vendors toward chengguan:

No reason was given [for the beating]. They never told me what crime I had committed. In fact, up to this day, I still do not know if doing this business is legal or not. We are playing a cat-and-mouse game: the chengguan officers arrive, we run. We don’t even understand why they want to arrest us.[70]

Professor Cai Dingjian of China University of Political Science and Law believes the chengguan’s enforcement focus on street vendors is misdirected and wasteful. Cai suggests that the government replace the chengguan with “a new urban service body that will be responsible for registering street peddlers, so that these self-employed people will become part of the city’s business community.” [71] Nanjing’s municipal government announced an initiative in July 2009 which would grant vending permits for designated areas to 10,000 low-income earners. [72] However, that initiative was limited to citizens with Nanjing household registration, or hukou permits, [73] thus disqualifying migrants who constitute the majority of China’s street vendors. [74] China’s central government was reportedly mulling a directive in 2009 which would legalize street vending “as a means creating jobs and curbing a rash of violent conflicts between the sellers and the law-enforcement officials who police them.” [75] However, no such directive has yet been issued.

Public Criticism

There are numerous expressions of public concern in China about chengguan abuses. The Wall Street Journal reported that in mid-2010 the most common Chinese-language phrase containing the term “chengguan” searched on Google was “chengguan beat people” (城管打人).[76] In numerous recent Chinese state media editorials, the chengguan have been vilified with epithets ranging from “the epitome of the evils of public power”[77] or derided as law-breaking “X-Men … with only basic means of attack such an iron stick, a piece of brick, or … only their hands.”[78] In October 2010, a very popular video game across China was one that involved the player taking the role of a street vendor tasked with having to “defeat 10 waves of attacks by the semi-official enforcers, known as chengguan”.[79] A Shenzhen chengguan official complained to the People’s Daily in October 2011 that he and his colleagues often encounter “verbal abuse, pushing and are sometimes even spat upon” in the course of their duties by members of the public.[80]

In May 2011, the Chinese government released a “Chengguan Image Analysis Report,” which attributed the organization’s poor public image to harsh online commentary which had prompted the public to “demonize” chengguan. [81] The report characterized public antipathy toward chengguan as the result of unfair “public prejudice” and “incompetent public relations.” [82] A Chinese state media English-language newspaper, the Global Times, ridiculed that assertion: “Chengguan’s notorious reputation is not the result of bad PR management, but a reflection of their real image. In the past few years, the public has witnessed too many violent acts by chengguan.” [83]

One indicator of public antipathy toward the chengguan is the rising number of protests and riots that have occurred over the past two years in response to alleged chengguan abuses. At least half a dozen such outbreaks of public violence have been reported since 2009, with several involving thousands of protesters who have attacked chengguan and police and damaged chengguan vehicles. Those outbreaks of violence prompted Asia Monitor, an Asia-based risk consultancy firm, to draw parallels in July 2011 between chengguan-related unrest in China and the protests which presaged the popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya in early 2011. [84]

In the most recent reported public protest over alleged chengguan malfeasance, a large crowd in Qianxi, Guizhou province, overturned, burned, and smashed 10 chengguan vehicles before dispersing on August 11, 2011, in protest of chengguan operations against alleged illegal parking. [85] A similar protested erupted in Anshun in Guizhou province on July 26, 2011, in response to reports that local chengguan had beaten a disabled fruit vendor to death. [86] The crowd clashed briefly with city authorities before eventually dispersing. [87] Those two incidents prompted criticism of chengguan law enforcement methods at a meeting of Guizhou’s standing committee of the provincial Chinese Communist Party on August 14, 2011. [88] Party cadre at the meeting attributed those incidents to inadequacies in Guizhou chengguan enforcement methods. [89]

[Guizhou chengguan are] low in law enforcement qualities; employ outdated law enforcement style; lack surveillance and supervision regarding the way they enforce the law; fail to enforce the law with civility, impartiality, sensitivity, and a service-oriented and humanized attitude; and fail to adopt a low-key approach, respect the masses, or exercise patience and persuasion while enforcing the law. [90]

Reform Efforts

On January 1, 2012, the Chinese government implemented the Administrative Enforcement Law,[91] which the government describes as a means to improve supervision of “administrative organs.”[92] The law makes no specific mention of the chengguan but certain sections stipulate that “administrative organs” have the right and duty to suspend enforcement of administrative regulations if enforcement risks “irreparable damage”[93] and specifies restitution or compensation for people affected by errors in administrative regulation enforcement.[94] That regulation appears designed to curb chengguan abuses and to provide legal redress for people who are victims of such abuse. It is not yet clear whether the Administrative Enforcement Law is having a substantive impact on curbing chengguan abuses.

Some municipal governments have responded to public concerns about abuses by chengguan with various measures aimed at mitigating or preventing abuses and boosting public confidence in chengguan operations. In May 2007, the Beijing municipal government issued new guidelines that prohibited “rude or barbaric methods of law enforcement,” [95] while in September 2009 the Guangzhou municipal government implemented rules emphasizing non-violent “persuasion” in chengguan performance of their duties. [96] The Nanjing municipal government in May 2010 prohibited chengguan personnel from drinking alcohol on duty and using “excessive force” in the course of their duties. [97]

In 2010, a summer training course at Tsinghua University in Beijing in Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism for 80 senior chengguan officials aimed to improve the organization’s “comprehensive set of qualities.” [98] The Chengdu municipal government’s approach to addressing chengguan shortcomings included hiring special units of female chengguan officers to patrol the city on roller-skates as a reflection of “a more moderate approach to law enforcement.” [99] There is no publicly available research indicating whether these efforts have been effective in reducing violence and other abuses by chengguan authorities in these cities.

[7]中华人民共和国行政府处罚法, 1996年3月17日第八届全国人民代表大会第四次会议通过1996317日中华人民共和国主席令第六十三号公布,自1996101日起施行 (Law of the Peoples Republic of China on Administrative Penalty, adopted on March 17, 1996 and effective on October 1, 1996), (accessed April 8, 2012).

[8] Ibid., art. 16.

[9]国务院1996415日《国务院关于贯彻实施〈中华人民共和国行政处罚法〉的通知(国发[199613号)(Circular of the State Council Regarding the Implementation of Law of the Peoples Republic of China on Administrative Punishments, effective on April 15, 1996), (accessed April 8, 2012);

国务院19991118日《关于全面推进依法行政的决定》(国发〔199923号)(Decision on Pushing Forward Administration by Law in an All-Round Way, effective on November 18, 1999), (accessed April 9, 2012);

国务院办公厅 2000 9 8《关于继续做好相对集中行政处罚权试点工作的通知》(国办发(200063号文)(Circular of the State Council on Continued Pilot Work on Relative Centralization of Power to Impose Administrative Penalty, effective on September 8, 2000), (accessed April 9, 2012);

2002 8 22国务院《关于进一步推进相对集中行政处罚权工作的决定》(国发(200217号文)

(Decision of the State Council on the Work of Further Promotion of Relative Centralization of Power to Impose Administrative Penalty), adopted on August 22, 2002, (accessed April 9, 2012).

[10]褚朝新,“湖北天门城管歧路:执法就是靠打?”新京报(北京) [Chu Chaoxin, Hubei Tianmen chengguan: “Crossroads” for law enforcement?” Beijing News(Beijing)], November 22, 2009, (accessed October 10, 2011).

[11]Xie Chuanjiao, “Police support for Yantai chengguan,” China Daily (Beijing), May 29, 2009, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[12]国务院1996415日《国务院关于贯彻实施〈中华人民共和国行政处罚法〉的通知(国发[199613号)[Circular of the State Council Regarding the Implementation of Law of the Peoples Republic of China on Administrative Punishments, effective on April 15, 1996, No. 13, (3)], para. 2, (accessed April 8, 2012).

[13]The Chinese government classifies former employees of struggling state-owned firms as laid-off or xia gang (下岗) rather than officially unemployed because their former employers are expected to provide them with aliving allowance. However, many of the laid-off workers have to fight to secure those basic benefits as struggling state-sector firms shortchange employees to stave off bankruptcy. Owen Brown, “Job Creation Emerges As Priority For Chinas New Leaders,” Dow Jones Newswires, October 4, 2002.

[14]章仲威伊穄衛,2009: 中国本命年,中共应对动乱危(Zhang Zhongwei and Yi Jiwei, 2009: China’s Fateful Year, The Chinese Communist Party’s Response to its Crisis of Unrest), (New York: Mirror Books, 2009), pp.247-248.

[15]Austin Ramzy, “Above the Law? China’s Bully-Boy Enforcement Officers,” Time, May 21, 2009,,8599,1899773,00.html (accessed October 10, 2011).

[16]中华人民共和国行政府处罚法, 1996317日第八届全国人民代表大会第四次会议通过1996317日中华人民共和国主席令第六十三号公布,自1996101日起施行 (Law of the People’s Republic of China on Administrative Penalty, adopted on March 17, 1996 and effective on October 1, 1996), (accessed April 8, 2012).

[17] Ibid., art. 8.

[18]Ibid., art. 5.

[19]Ibid., art. 4.

[20] Ibid., art. 6.

[21] Ibid., art. 34.

[22] Ibid., art. 31.

[23] Ibid., art. 32.

[24]池启演主编.最新基层城管工作必备手册(Chi Qiyan, ed., The Newest Essential Manual for Chengguan Grassroots Work), p. 851.

[25] 2002 8 22国务院《关于进一步推进相对集中行政处罚权工作的决定》(国发(200217号文)

(Decision of the State Council on the Work of Further Promotion of Relative Centralization of Power to Impose Administrative Penalty, effective on August 22, 2002, No. 17), art. 2. The eight categories of chengguan enforcement stipulated by the State Council, China’s cabinet, are as follows: environmental hygiene, urban planning, urban beautification, city administration, environmental protection, industrial operations, traffic law enforcement, and unspecified “other administrative punishment” areas deemed appropriate by provincial, autonomous region, and municipal governments.

[26]没有整体的法律,城管职权支离破碎”,新京报 (北京) [“No Comprehensive Law, Fragmented Urban Management Functions,” Beijing News(Beijing)], January 20, 2008, (accessed October 11, 2011).

[27]Legitimacy Issue,” China Daily (Beijing), July 30, 2010, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[28]“China’s enforcement officers turned thugs,” Straits Times (Singapore), October 30, 2009, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[29] Chinese Human Rights Defenders, 城管综合行政执法体制的制度弊端及城管执法对人权的侵害, (“Urban management comprehensive administrativelaw enforcement system and human rights violations by urban management personnel”), (accessed January 13, 2011).

[30]Coldness Kwan, “Property law challenges power of Chengguan?China Daily (Beijing), April 3, 2007, April 8, 2012).

[31]小贩杀死俩城管被判死刑律师辩词催人泪下”,中国青年报 (北京) [“Vendor sentenced to death for killing two chengguan; A lawyer’s heartbreaking defense, China Youth Daily, (Beijing)], May 10, 2007.

[32]中华人民共和国行政强制法, 已由中华人民共和国第十一届全国人民代表大会常务委员会第二十一次会议于2011630日通过,现予公布,自201211日起施行。(Administrative Enforcement Law of the Peoples Republic of China, adopted on June 30, 2011 and effective on January 1, 2012), (accessed April 9, 2012).

[33]Choi Chi-yui, “NPC again considers law to rein in violent city administrators,” South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), April 22, 2011.


[35]Law on Administrative Enforcement, art. 2. “Administrative enforcement refers to the performance of obligations as legally enforced by administrative organs or by the peoples courts upon applications of administrative organs against citizens, legal persons or other organizations which do not perform administrative decisions.”

[36] Ibid. Article 12 of the Law on Administrative Enforcement lists the following “manners of administrative enforcement”:

(1) Fines or late fees; (2) Transfer of deposits or remittances; (3) Auction or legal disposition of premises, facilities or properties that are seized or impounded; (4) Removal of obstructions or restitution; (5) Performance on behalf of the party concerned; and (6) Other manners of enforcement.

[37] Ibid. “Administrative compulsory measures refer to the temporary restriction of the personal freedom of citizens or temporary control of the property of citizens, legal persons or other organizations according to law by administrative organs in the process of administration for such purposes as stopping illegal acts, preventing destruction of evidence, avoiding damage and containing expansion of danger.” Article 10 of the Law on Administrative Enforcement specifies the following administrative compulsory measures: “(1) Restricting the personal freedom of a citizen; (2) Seizing premises, facilities or property; (3) Impounding property; (4) Freezing deposits or remittances; and (5) Other administrative compulsory measures.”

[38] Ibid., art. 1. “This Law is formulated in accordance with the Constitution for the purposes of regulating the setting and implementation of administrative compulsion, guaranteeing and supervising administrative organs' performance of duties according to law, maintaining public interests and social order and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations.”

[39] Ibid., art. 5. The setting and implementation of administrative compulsion shall be appropriate. If the purposes of administration may be achieved by non-compulsory means, no administrative compulsion shall be set or implemented.

[40] Ibid., art. 23. “Seizure and impoundment shall be limited to the case-related premises, facilities or properties, and no premises, facilities or properties irrelevant to the illegal acts shall be seized or impounded. The daily necessities of citizens and their dependents shall not be seized or impounded. Premises, facilities or property of the party concerned, which have been seized by any other state organ according to law, shall not be seized repeatedly.” Ibid., art. 28. “ Under any of the following circumstances, an administrative organ shall timely make a decision on lifting a seizure or impoundment: (1) The party concerned has not committed any illegal act; (2) The seized or impounded premises, facilities or properties are irrelevant to the illegal act; (3) The administrative organ has already made a handling decision on the illegal act, and a seizure or impoundment is no longer necessary; (4) The term of seizure or impoundment has expired; or (5) The measure of seizure or impoundment is otherwise no longer necessary. Where a seizure or impoundment is lifted, the relevant properties shall be returned immediately. If the fresh goods or other perishable properties have been auctioned or sold, the proceeds from the auction or sale shall be refunded. If the selling price is obviously lower than the market price, causing any loss to the party concerned, compensation shall be made for the loss.”

[41] Ibid., art. 18.1) Before implementation, a report on implementation shall be submitted to the person in charge of the administrative organ and an approval of implementation shall be obtained.
(2) An administrative compulsory measure shall be implemented by two or more law enforcement personnel of the administrative organ. (3) Law enforcement identity certificates shall be produced. (4) The party concerned shall be notified to be present. (5) The party concerned shall be notified on the spot of the reasons and basis for taking the administrative compulsory measure and the rights of and remedies available to the party concerned according to law. (6) The statements and arguments of the party concerned shall be heard. (7) On-site transcripts shall be made. (8) The on-site transcripts shall be signed or sealed by the party concerned and the law enforcement personnel of the administrative organ, and if the party concerned refuses to do so, it shall be noted in the transcripts. 9) If the party concerned is not present, witnesses shall be invited to be present, and the witnesses and the law enforcement personnel of the administrative organ shall sign or seal the on-site transcripts. (10) Other procedures as prescribed by laws and regulations.”

[42]Law on Administrative Penalty, art. 13. Administrative enforcement shall be set by law. Where enforcement by administrative organs is not provided for by law, the administrative organ making the relevant administrative decision shall apply to the people's court for enforcement.

[43] Ibid., art. 16.The State Council or the peoples government of a province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government that is empowered by the State Council may decide to have an administrative organ exercise other administrative organs power of administrative penalty. However, the power of administrative penalty involving restriction of freedom of person shall only be exercised by the public security organs.”

[44] Lehman, Lee and Xu,The Administrative Enforcement Law of the PRC was Released, post to “China Blawg” (blog), July 5, 2011, (accessed March 29, 2012).

[45]濮加友,“《行政强制法》对城管执法工作的影响”,特区城市管理 (Pu Jiayou, “Administrative enforcement of Urban Management and Law Enforcement Work,” Special Administrative Region Urban Management), February 9, 2012, (accessed March 29, 2012).

[46]杨涛, 城管强征将了行政强制法一军”,经济参考报(Yang Tao, “Urban Management an Administrative Army,” Economic Information Daily), February 9, 2012, (accessed March 29, 2012).


[48]池启演主编.,《最新基层城管工作必备手册 (Chi Qiyan, ed., The Newest Essential Manual for Chengguan Grassroots Work), p.855.

[49] “New rules set to ease China’s property disputes,” Reuters, January 29, 2010.

[50]章仲威,伊穄衛,2009: 中国本命年(Zhang Zhongwei and Yi Jiwei, 2009: China’s Fateful Year, The Chinese Communist Party’s Response to its Crisis of Unrest), p.245.

[51]Zhou Wenting, “Beijing in new crackdown on use of illegal cooking oil,” China Daily (Beijing), July 11, 2011, (accessed October 31, 2011).

[52]Wu Wencong, “Safety test for all gas links,” China Daily(Beijing), April 13, 2011, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[53]吴狄, 城管奥运时可能发动群众’”,新京报(北京) [Chengguan during Olympics may “mobilize the masses,” Beijing News (Beijing)], June 6, 2008, (accessed October 11, 2011).

[54] Xie Chuanjiao, “Police support for Yantai chengguan,” China Daily (Beijing), May 29, 2009, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[55]池启演主编.,《最新基层城管工作必备手册(Chi Qiyan, ed., The Newest Essential Manual for Chengguan Grassroots Work), p.851.

[56]Law on Administrative Penalty, art. 19 (2) stipulates that the organization which enforces administrative law should “be staffed with personnel who are familiar with relevant laws, regulations and rules.”

The Circular of the State Council Regarding the Implementation of Administrative Punishments (1) states that “All localities and departments shall, in line with the principle of combining study with practice, pay close attention to the training of administrative law-enforcing personnel, making the personnel have a good grasp of the Law on Administrative punishments.”

The Circular of the State Council Regarding the Implementation of Administrative Punishments (3) states that local governments should “Strengthen the education of law-enforcing personnel …making them enhance their sense of responsibility and consciousness of acting according to law [and] strengthen the qualifications, certifications and clothing of law-enforcing personnel.”

[57]池启演主编.,《最新基层城管工作必备手册 (Chi Qiyan, ed., The Newest Essential Manual for Chengguan Grassroots Work), p.852.

[58]“Beating death sparks mass protests in central China,” Radio Free Asia, January 10, 2008 (accessed October 11, 2011).

[59]Wu Yiyao, “City government tightens rules for chengguan,” China Daily(Beijing), May 5, 2010, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[60] Ibid.

[61]张东锋, 网友曝光城管打人不见血教材”,南方都市报 (广州) [Zhang Dongfeng, Netizen exposes textbook on beating without drawing blood,Southern Metropolis Daily(Guangzhou)], July 22, 2009, (accessed October 11, 2011).

[62] Ibid.

[63]段欣毅, 小贩生存与城管面子’,一对解不开的死结?”人民日报(北京) [“Vendors’ survival and chengguan ‘face’ – A knot which can’t be untied?” People’s Daily, (Beijing)], (accessed October 25, 2011).

[64]Lauren Ratcliffe, “Peddling for profit? Beijing’s street vendors,”, June 23, 2011, (accessed October 22, 2011).

[65]He Bolin, “A case of so near, yet so far and no nearer,” China Daily, (Beijing),August 19, 2008, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[66] Ibid.

[67]“Debate: Chengguan,” China Daily (Beijing),July 18, 2011, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[68] Chinese Human Rights Defenders, 城管综合行政执法体制的制度弊端及城管执法对人权的侵害”, (“Urban management comprehensive administrative law enforcement system and human rights violations by urban management personnel”), (accessed January 13, 2011).

[69] “Urban managers feel the squeeze,” China Daily (Beijing),April 10, 2009, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[70]Human Rights Watch interview with Ruan Ying (a pseudonym), a Beijing street vendor, Beijing, December 9, 2010.

[71] “Hackers ’spice up’ chengguan site,” China Daily (Beijing), June 2, 2009, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[72]Qian Yanfeng, “Street peddlers to be allowed in Nanjing,” China Daily (Beijing), July 17, 2009, (accessed October 22, 2011).

[73]The hukou or household registration system, which remains in force, limits many social benefits to registered residents of a particular locale. The system has traditionally imposed stringent controls on the movements of rural residents to urban areas, and continues to constitute a discriminatory barrier to rural migrants’ access to employment opportunities and social welfare benefits that are legally granted to those in possession of an urban hukou. International Labor Organization, Equality at Work: Tackling the Challenges. Global Report under the Follow-up of the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (Geneva: ILO 2007),, pp. 34-35.


[75] Jeremy Chan, “China to Revise Policy Toward Peddlers,” Wall Street Journal Asia(Hong Kong), August 11, 2009, (accessed October 22, 2011).

[76]Christopher Carothers, “Chengguan Killer Gets Public Sympathy,” Wall Street Journal: China Real Time Report, July 2, 2010, (accessed October 18, 2011).

[77]“Chengguan’s way out,” China Daily(Beijing), March 30, 2010, (accessed October 30, 2010).

[78]Huang Xiangyang, “Chengguan making our streets safe from vendors,” China Daily(Beijing) April 15, 2011, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[79]Shirong Chen, “China online game allows people to fight officials,” BBC, (accessed October 19, 2011).

[80]地位缺失 苦于编制 城管困惑我是谁’?”,人民日报(北京) (“Lacking status, suffering from personnel establishment mechanism,Chengguan wonder Who Am I?People’s Daily), October 20, 2011, (accessed October 25, 2011).

[81]“Chengguan's bad reputation their own fault,” Global Times(Beijing), May 23, 2011, (accessed October 23, 2011).

[82] Ibid.


[84] “Migrant Worker Protests Resemble MENA Troubles,” Asia Monitor: July 2011 Political Risk Analysis, July 2011, -risks-on-the-rise.html (accessed August 12, 2011).

[85]贵州黔西县发生一起因城管纠正违章引发的冲突”,新华网 (“Chengguan enforcement action prompts Guizhou Qianxi conflict”Xinhua News Agency), August 12, 2011, (accessed October 22, 2011).

[86] Zhong Yanling, “Death of disabled vendor sparks riot in Guizhou,” Caixin Online, July 27, 2011, (accessed October 18, 2011).

[87] Ibid.

[88]赵国梁, 省委召开常委(扩大)会议研究部署进一步做好社会稳定工作”,贵州日报 (Zhao Guoliang, “ ProvincialStanding Committeemeetingand planto further improvesocial stability,” Guizhou Daily), August 15, 2011, (accessed October 25, 2011).


[90] Ibid.

[91] Law on Administrative Enforcement.

[92]“China enacts laws to regulate administrative power,” Xinhua News Agency, October 27, 2011, (accessed October 28, 2011). The law “provides a legal basis for the guarantee and supervision of the administrative organs performance of administrative functions and powers in accordance with the law, as well as the protection of the legitimate rights and interests of citizens, legal persons and other organizations.”

[93]Law on Administrative Enforcement, art. 39 (3).

[94]Ibid., art. 41

[95]“Chagrin over chengguan,” China Daily(Beijing), May 17, 2007, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[96] “New laws stipulate duties of chengguan,” Dongguan Today (Dongguan), August 4, 2009, (accessed October 11, 2011).

[97]Wu Yiyao, “City government tightens rules for chengguan,”China Daily (Beijing), May 25, 2010, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[98] Xu Fan, “Officials to be enlightened by philosophy,” China Daily(Beijing), April 19, 2010, (accessed October 30, 2011).

[99] “Law and Order on roller blades in SW China city,” China Daily(Beijing), August 3, 2011, (accessed October 30, 2011).