May 23, 2012

II. Chengguan Abuses

[The chengguan officers] verbally abused me and beat me. They said that sale of vegetables on the street is not allowed and this is a regulation. I was beaten up. They hit me in the head and face and my nose was bleeding. They punched me in the face until my face was swollen. [100]

Excessive Force and Torture

Individuals targeted by chengguan efforts are often subjected to physical violence that appears to be gratuitous or excessive in light of the circumstances. Seventeen of the 25 persons we interviewed who experienced violence at the hands of the chengguan reported having been beaten or otherwise physically abused. The violence, often inflicted in view of multiple eyewitnesses, included being slapped, shoved, pushed to the ground, forcibly held down on the ground, dragged, punched, kicked, and thrown from vehicles to the street. Those beatings resulted in injuries ranging from bruises, cuts, and bloody noses to broken bones.

Many of the persons interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that chengguan officials were extremely aggressive and uncommunicative while conducting enforcement operations. This account by Ma Lijun of an encounter between fruit vendors and chengguan in the city of Qingdao in Shandong province on September 21, 2009, is illustrative:

We sell our goods beside a supermarket. On the day of the incident, more than 10 people came out of the supermarket to tell us that we weren’t allowed to sell our goods there. We disagreed, and the supermarket staff overturned the fruit stall. The supermarket [staff] rang up the chengguan office. Six chengguan officers arrived, with a chengguan supervisor hurling verbal abuse while getting out of the car. They were swearing the minute they got out of their vehicles [and] they kicked me. Our staff member holding a camera [filming the incident] is a young girl, but [the chengguan officers] surrounded her, held her down, and kicked her. [101]

Street vendors are not the only victims of excessive force by chengguan. Journalists who attempt to report on such incidents have been beaten by chengguan officers objecting to media coverage of their activities. A group of chengguan forcibly dragged away and beat a reporter for Ningxia’s New News on the morning of July 7, 2007, while the journalist was trying to interview a local chengguan official. [102] The official was subsequently suspended for an unspecified period of time. [103] On March 17, 2009, a group of seven to eight chengguan officers attacked a journalist while he was filming the scene of a traffic accident in Changsha, Hunan province, with his mobile phone camera. The journalist’s wrist was injured when the chengguan officers forcibly confiscated his phone and his wrist later required medical treatment. [104]

The account of journalist Zhang Wei, beaten by chengguan officers on March 26, 2010, in Kunming, Yunnan province, further highlights the risks faced by reporters who cover chengguan-related incidents:

A hawker had been beaten up. A conflict had erupted between the chengguan officers and the hawkers. After the officers hit the man, a crowd surrounded [them], refusing to let them leave. I was about to interview a little girl who was sitting on the ground crying, when [the chengguan] came up to me claiming that I had crossed the police cordon. About six [chengguan] used their plastic batons to hit me, and they kicked me, too. They ignored me completely when I said I was a reporter. Even when my colleague went up to them to prove [my identify using] his identification, they still refused to listen. Although there were police officers on the scene, they did not stop the chengguan officers.[105]

Chengguan officers have also used excessive force in forcible eviction operations and demolitions. Reports of such violence are common in state media coverage of such operations. Kunming policeman Zhang Jingren, for example, was beaten by chengguan when he resisted a December 22, 2010 operation to demolish an illegally enclosed balcony in his home. According to a local news report, “[m]ore than 20 [chengguan] officers knocked Zhang to the ground and beat him with batons,” [106] breaking his right leg so badly that required surgery. Authorities announced an investigation into the attack but the results have not yet been made public. [107]

Zhang’s experience echoes that of Lin Ping, a 32-year-old woman in Huangshan, Anhui province, who told Human Rights Watch that her grandmother was injured in the course of a chengguan operation to evict her family from their home in the early morning hours of April 20, 2008.

My grandmother and parents came out when they were about to start demolishing. There were 300-400 chengguan officers. The officers hit and verbally abused my grandmother. My family tried to obstruct them when they came. We asked what authority they had for demolishing our house. But there were so many of them, how was it possible for us to stop them? The police were unable to apprehend [the chengguan officers who injured my grandmother], so the manager of the demolition company undertook compensation. Chengguan officers should be the poster children for civil and orderly governance. Why did they do this?[108]

Of the people we interviewed who complained about chengguan actions, most said that the chengguan, who commonly work in teams of up to six individuals, [109] provided little or no legal justification or information about what regulations they were enforcing. That failure to inform is a violation of their obligations under both the Administrative Penalties Law and Administrative Enforcement Law. [110]

Tian Ying, a street vendor beaten by chengguan officers in Shenyang in mid-2007, told Human Rights Watch that she was given no explanation for their actions. “They did not explain [the violation] to me. They would not even talk to you, but just dash up to seize your goods.” [111] Cui Aiping, a migrant street vendor from Henan province who sells beef kebabs in Beijing, said that the chengguan who assaulted him in July 2010 likewise failed to provide any legal justification for their actions. “No reason was given. 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.” [112]

In encounters that turn violent, chengguan themselves sometimes become the victims. Our research turned up four cases in which chengguan were killed in the course of their duties in recent years.

In 2006, a Beijing street vendor named Cui Yingjie stabbed a chengguan officer, Lu Zhiqiang, during a scuffle while Lu was attempting to confiscate Cui’s cart. A Beijing court subsequently sentenced Cui to the death penalty with a reprieve of two years, a sentence that often leads to eventual commuting of the death penalty. The relatively lenient sentence was due to video footage of the incident which indicated that Cui’s actions were not premeditated. In January 2010, in Shanghai, a migrant street vendor surnamed Zhang stabbed to death a chengguan officer surnamed Ju in an altercation sparked by the chengguan officer’s effort to get Zhang to stop selling at a subway station exit. The Chongqing municipal government recorded 86 incidents in 2010 in which chengguan officers were hospitalized from violence incurred in the course of their work.

In May 2011, a Shenyang court sentenced street vendor Xia Junfeng to the death penalty for the May 2009 murder of two chengguan officers who had detained him for illegal vending. Xia claimed self-defense and insisted that the chengguan officers had “beat me into a rage.” Xia’s lawyer, Teng Biao, described the two murdered chengguan officers as “victims of the urban management system.”

Professor Cai Dingjian at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing has asserted that all chengguan use of force is unlawful: “No one is authorized to use violence in China except soldiers and police. By resorting to violence, chengguan have actually violated the law.” [113] As the cases above suggest, however, there are instances in which chengguan themselves come under serious attack and, in such cases, the use of force in self-defense may be justified. Article 20 of China’s Criminal Law permits all Chinese citizens to use force in legitimate self-defense [114] and may actually allow chengguan greater latitude than others due to their responsibility to enforce regulations aimed at protecting public health and safety. Article 20 stipulates that citizens “shall not bear criminal responsibility” in situations in which they “ stop an unlawful infringement in order to prevent the interests of the State and the public from being infringed , or his own or an other person s personal rights, property rights, or other rights from being infringe d” to the extent the use of defensive force is “necessary” rather than excessive. [115]

While the cases cited immediately above illustrate that chengguan at times face lethal threats and can be justified in using physical force in self-defense, in most of the cases we and others have investigated, chengguan have used force against alleged administrative wrongdoers not in self-defense, or even as a necessary adjunct to their duties, but excessively, as a form of punishment. Such abuses cannot be justified under article 20 or other provisions of Chinese law.

Illegal Detention

Chengguan have no legal basis to detain alleged violators of administrative regulations: the Administrative Penalty Law, which is the foundation of chengguan law enforcement powers, explicitly limits powers of detention and arrest to China’s public security organs. [116] But two of the 25 people interviewed by Human Rights Watch reported that they were illegally detained by chengguan personnel. Another two interviewees said that chengguan had attempted to detain them, but they had successfully resisted those efforts. In each of the four cases, the interviewees were beaten while detained or while attempting to resist detention. Prominent Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao argues that chengguan detention of suspects also violates article 238 of China’s Criminal Law, [117] a provision that makes violators liable for severe punishment. [118]

Ma Dong, who sells pancakes from a street-cart in central Beijing, told Human Rights Watch of his detention by chengguan officers in November 2009:

The chengguan officers loaded the pushcart I used for selling pancakes, my baking pan, eggs, and other belongings into their vehicle. They also pushed and dragged me into it, too. They verbally abused me while pushing me into the vehicle, and I was also knocked into the vehicle. I couldn’t get water to drink when at the [chengguan] brigade office. The chengguan officers did not explain the reason [for my detention]. They only said that peddling is not allowed here. They did not tell me how long I would be detained for. [My detention lasted] from around 10am to about 6pm, until my wife arrived. As I was leaving, the chengguan officer threatened me, saying that if he ever catches me peddling on the streets again, I will have to face heavy consequences. [119]

A Shenyang street sausage vendor, Liao Rong, told Human Rights Watch of the ordeal endured by her husband after he was detained by chengguan officers on May 16, 2009:

We had chosen to set up our stall at one end of [Shengyang’s] Nanlejiao Road. We usually chose to set up our stall … in the afternoon, because that’s when the chengguan officers would return home for lunch, so none would be on patrol. We had never run into chengguan officers before that [time]. We set out at 10:30am and arrived at the road at 10:40am. Shortly after, the chengguan officers arrived. There were four vehicles with 12 officers. They got out and wanted to confiscate our cart. After removing the cart, they held us down [on the street] and we cried “Please show us mercy, big brother. We will definitely not peddle again.” They pinned me down, beat me, and started shoving my husband, pushing against his shoulder. They surrounded us. Whenever [one of the chengguan present] came up to us he would give us a kick, or even hit us. Even passersby were yelling “Stop beating them! How inhuman of you to beat a woman!” At that time, they had dragged my husband into a [chengguan] car—I remember the sole of his shoe had fallen off. They didn’t tell me how long he would be detained for. The chengguan office is a street away from the road junction where we were selling fried sausages. [The chengguan] dragged my husband to the [chengguan] office and started asking him if he had an urban or rural hukou. A [second] chengguan officer entered the room and both of them started kicking my husband. That lasted between one and two minutes. My husband was kneeling on the floor … he never once lifted his head. [120]

The vendors decided against filing a police report or pursuing compensation for the beating due to a belief that such efforts would be ignored by the relevant authorities. “Even when such cases [of chengguan violence] are reported, the police would not come … [and chengguan] will never give compensation.” [121]

Jiang Jianguo, a 44-year-old migrant street vendor from Hebei province interviewed by Human Rights Watch, resisted chengguan efforts to detain him in central Beijing in August 2009. Although he successfully avoided detention, his resistance resulted in a beating:

I was selling watermelons. Usually no one would [bother us], the chengguan officer would drive past us several times to intimidate us, but this is merely a symbolic gesture. This time, unexpectedly, the chengguan officers drove toward us. The other vendors and hawkers with three-wheel scooters fled into an alley. But I was on a three-wheel tractor and I still had stools and tables placed around, so I wasn’t able to leave. The five or six chengguan officers who approached me were very harsh. They instructed me to follow their vehicle using my three-wheel tractor. I refused and claimed that I was waiting for someone. Before I could finish speaking, two chengguan officers flung away the cloth covering my vehicle, grabbed two watermelons, and threw them down [on the ground]. They also kicked over the tables and stools. The ground was covered in bright red watermelon bits. I scolded them, saying they were bandits robbing me. They wanted to drag me up to the chengguan vehicle but my daughter-in-law got nervous. She went to appeal to them [to release me] and then started getting into a scuffle with them. They pushed my daughter-in-law to the ground and [so] I started to fight with them, but was unable to prevail. They kicked me several times and pinned my hands behind my back as if I were a criminal. They wanted to take me to the chengguan vehicle, but I refused to get in because I’ve heard that once you get into the vehicle, they would draw the curtains and demand that you pay a fine. If you refuse to pay, they will beat you up. [122]

Jiang did not pursue any legal or compensation claims against the chengguan officers who assaulted him, believing that compared to more serious cases of the use of excessive force by chengguan, “my case can be considered trivial.” [123] Jiang expressed anger at what he perceived as the arbitrary and unchecked power of chengguan. “The chengguan officers do whatever first comes to mind. If they are feeling happy, they will let you go. If they are not feeling good, they will take out their frustrations on the vendors and hawkers.” [124]

Cai Xue, a 32-year-old street vendor from Henan province, had a similar experience when chengguan officers attempted to detain her in October 2010 while she was selling grapes from the back of a cart in central Beijing.

It was around 11:30am when they drew up in a [chengguan] vehicle. Sitting in it were four people, including a man in plainclothes. Like bandits, they just came up and made a grab for my belongings. They climbed onto the vehicle and just started grabbing without any explanation. They seized my grapes. They said it was illegal to sell on the streets. I replied saying … [that] I would not set up a stall here again. The [chengguan] team leader said that’s not permissible and wanted me to get into their vehicle. Three [chengguan officers] began to kick me, with each person taking a turn. They threw me from my vehicle into the middle of the road. My body had turned black and blue where they had kicked. Three of them kept cursing, [saying to me], “Fxxx your mother. You dare ask for a reason?” The other chengguan officer, a woman, did not utter a word. She came over because she wanted to stop them from hitting me. They did not confiscate the cart, but they seized all the grapes and threw them all around on the ground. [125]

Police eventually arrived on the scene, criticized the chengguan for “incorrect” procedures, and advised the vendor that she could sue the chengguan officers who had abused her if she was “dissatisfied with their law enforcement method.” [126] However, the police took no action to interview or detain the chengguan officers who had beaten her and destroyed her property, and subsequently allowed the chengguan officers to leave the scene without any consequences. [127] Like other victims of chengguan violence, the vendor decried their arbitrary, violent law enforcement methods. “I believe that as law enforcement officers, [chengguan] should enforce the law, but they should not beat people.” [128]

Abuses Accompanying Confiscation of Goods

Chengguan frequently confiscate goods from street vendors. There is legal authority for such confiscations, but it is vague. The Administrative Penalty Law stipulates that “administrative organs” tasked with administrative regulation enforcement can confiscate “illegal gains … unlawful property … or things of value,” but does not provide any specific criteria for those categories.[129] The Administrative Enforcement Law provides general criteria for confiscations [130] chengguan may seize premises, facilities, or properties related to the “illegal acts” (with the exception of “daily necessities,” which may not be confiscated)—and stipulates the process by which seizure and confiscation should occur. [131]

[According to Wang Jianping, a professor of law at Sichuan University, China’s Property Law[132] emphasizes the inviolable nature of private property and should be interpreted to prohibit “[confiscation of] peddler’s merchandise and dealing wares.”[133] Renmin University law professor Wang Yi has similarly argued that the Property Rights Law protects all citizens, including unlicensed street vendors, from arbitrary confiscation of their belongings.[134]

Regardless of whether confiscation of goods is legal or appropriate in any given case, however, such confiscation should never be conducted with unnecessary violence. As detailed below, our research shows a number of instances in which chengguan confiscation of goods was accompanied by beatings and other abusive behavior.

A 36-year-old migrant vendor from Henan, Li Jiawen, suffered injury when chengguan confiscated her three-wheel cart loaded with corn on November 20, 2010, in Beijing. [135]

Around 4pm, the chengguan officers came over to confiscate the three-wheeler. My wife held on to the vehicle and refused to let go of it. Three or four chengguan officers went up to her. They twisted her arm, breaking the little finger on her left hand. We lost our vehicle and the corn in it.[136]

The victim’s husband said that Beijing municipal police subsequently arrived on the scene and brokered a medical compensation payment by the district chengguan authorities of 4,500 Yuan (US$705) for his wife. [137]

Wang Weiwei, a 41-year-old female migrant vendor from Hubei province who sells vegetables on the streets of central Beijing, told Human Rights Watch of the hazards she faced when resisting chengguan confiscation of her goods in April 2010:

I had set up my vegetable stall on the ground by the road. Three or four chengguan offices came over, wanting to raid my vegetable stall, but I defended it and refused to let them have it. They came up wanting to grab it by force; we got into a scuffle and started fighting. They verbally abused and beat me. They said that the sale of vegetables on the street is not allowed and that this is a regulation. I was beaten up. They hit me in the head and face and my nose was bleeding. They punched me in the face until my face was swollen. [138]

With police assistance Wang was subsequently able to negotiate for 500 Yuan (US$78) in medical compensation from the chengguan officers who beat her.

Even compliance with a chengguan confiscation operation is no guarantee of immunity from physical violence. A 36-year-old female spring roll vendor in Shenyang, Liao Meihua, told Human Rights Watch that she was beaten by chengguan officers in mid-2007 despite her lack of resistance when they confiscated her belongings.

It was at [Shengyang’s] Southern Gate. I had gone there at noon, during lunchtime, although I’m usually afraid to do so [because of the threat of chengguan]. The chengguan officers said to me “How daring of you to come here at lunchtime.” They confiscated my belongings and though I offered to pay them [a fine], the chengguan officers said “We don’t want money, it’s too late for that.” Six of the seven [chengguan officers] surrounded me; once their leader arrived, all his junior [officers] came up and started kicking me, causing me to fall. Many passersby witnessed it and they were all asking the officers to stop hitting me. [139]

Wang Xiangwei, a 31-year-old migrant street vendor from Henan province who sells barbecue kebab skewers in central Beijing, described what ensued when chengguan officers attempted to confiscate his scooter in July 2010.

[It was] at around 9pm. There were several people around me, waiting to buy skewers. I was still grilling the skewers when the chengguan arrived. The other street vendors and hawkers dispersed into the alleys, but I did not run away. Two [chengguan] came up to me and pressed me to the ground. They wanted to confiscate my scooter, but I refused to let them do so. I started to resist, using my forearms to push away [one of the] chengguan officers, who then used the back of his hand to slap me so hard that my glasses fell off. When the other two chengguan saw us fighting, they came up together to pin me down on the ground, and [the third chengguan officer] ran off, pushing the scooter along. [140]

The chengguan officers who confiscated Wang’s scooter returned it to him later that evening after he paid a 150 Yuan (US$23.50) fine. [141] That sum exceeded the upper limit for summary on-the-spot fines of 50 Yuan (US$7.9) and the officers failed to give a legal justification for the confiscation and fine as required by the Administrative Penalties Law. [142]

A 31-year-old male migrant fruit vendor from Henan province, Xie Dongfeng, told Human Rights Watch that what appeared to be plainclothes “hired assistants” of chengguan officers beat him after he resisted chengguan efforts to confiscate his three-wheel vending cart for “operating without a license.” [143]

[The chengguan] wanted to confiscate my three-wheel cart, but I refused to let them do so. They jumped onto the vehicle, started stomping on the fruit and making threats. Some abused me verbally, saying “Fxxx your mother. Who allowed you to peddle goods here?” I did not dare utter a word as there were so many of them. If I dared answer back, wouldn’t they beat me up? The chengguan officers didn’t hit me; instead they had two hired assistants beat me up. One held me down while the other hit me. I didn’t dare retaliate as there were yet more of them in the [chengguan] cars. I was beaten until my nose bled. [144]


At least 18 people were killed in the course of chengguan law enforcement operations between September 2000 and June 2010 according to an unofficial estimate compiled by human rights lawyer Teng Biao in July 2010. [145] The majority of those deaths allegedly were due to injuries the victims suffered during beatings by chengguan personnel. [146] Media reports suggest that in many such cases, the alleged perpetrators were not investigated or prosecuted or, if prosecuted, received light sentences. [147]

The most notorious incident of chengguan violence resulting in the death of a citizen in recent years was the beating of Wei Wenhua in Tianmen, Hubei province. In the late afternoon of January 7, 2008, Wei Wenhua stopped his car to take pictures with his mobile phone camera of a roadside confrontation involving a group of at least 50 Tianmen chengguan. The chengguan were facing off with some residents of nearby Wanba village, who were attempting to block access to a waste dump site near their homes. When the chengguan noticed Wei filming the confrontation, 20 to 30 of them rushed over to him and began beating him. [148] A witness said that Wei repeatedly screamed “I surrender” during the assault. [149] Wei subsequently died of his injuries. [150] On November 10, 2009, a Hebei court sentenced four of the chengguan officers implicated in Wei’s killing to prison terms of three to six years. [151] The court granted leniency to Wei’s killers on the grounds that Wei had allegedly died of a heart attack triggered by the beating, rather than the beating itself. [152]

Local government authorities themselves have been unwilling to make an example of chengguan personnel who have been found legally responsible for deaths or serious injuries. On July 15, 2011, a group of chengguan officers in Linhai city, Zhejiang province, attempted to detain a street vendor selling grapes. One chengguan officer chased the vendor, apprehended him, pushed him to the ground, and kicked him until he passed out. The vendor was hospitalized with a perforated intestine. A Linhai government official later defended the chengguan officer who allegedly delivered the beating, insisting that the vendor’s injuries were unintentional and occurred when a “law enforcement officer accidentally stepped on [the vendor’s] stomach.” [153]

In numerous other well documented cases, chengguan implicated in unprovoked violence against citizens have been spared serious legal repercussions for their actions. On May 21, 2011, a roadside fruit vendor named Li Yong in Shenzhen resisted chengguan demands that he move his stall. Witnesses said a chengguan officer instructed his subordinates to “beat him [Li Yong], take everything away.” In plain sight of multiple witnesses, Chengguan officers proceeded to beat Li Yong on the head with their batons, resulting in head injuries. Shenzhen chengguan authorities subsequently paid Li Yong 7,000 Yuan (US$1,098) in compensation. However, no chengguan officials were arrested for the violence and the chengguan official in charge of the area where the assault occurred later insisted that Li’s injuries “were likely accidental.” [154]

On July 11, 2009, a group of five Shanghai chengguan attempted to confiscate the stock of roadside watermelon vendor Peng Lin. Peng resisted and at one point allegedly brandished a knife to try to protect his goods. The chengguan responded by dragging Peng to their van where they proceeded to beat him senseless. The beating left Peng with serious brain and neck injuries. Peng reportedly remains paralyzed and barely conscious. [155] A Shanghai court sentenced the five chengguan officers responsible for Peng’s injuries to prison terms of between three-and-a-half and five years on April 15, 2010. [156]

Popular perceptions that chengguan rarely get punished for abuses deter victims from pursuing legal action against them. Ten of the 25 victims of chengguan abuses interviewed by Human Rights Watch opted to not pursue legal action or civil compensation claims against their chengguan abusers. Their reasons for inaction ranged from perceptions that complaining to or about chengguan was “no use … [because the authorities] cover-up for each other” [157] to an assessment that there are “too many such incidents” that go legally unchallenged. [158] Liao Meihua, a Shenyang street vendor who has been a victim of chengguan violence “five or six times” since 2007, told Human Rights Watch that fear of retribution prevented her from attempting to seek legal action against or compensation from chengguan for such abuses.

I’m really afraid of applying for compensation. I still have to make a living – what am I to do the next time I run into [chengguan]? They will be more brutal the next time. They will beat you up and tell you: “You can sue at whatever place you wish.” They are not scared at all.[159]

[100]Human Rights Watch interview with Wang Weiwei, a Beijing street vendor, Beijing, December 6, 2010.

[101] Human Rights Watch interview with Ma Lijun (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Qingdao, Shandong province, December 3, 2010.

[102]宁夏西吉县城管监察队长率众围殴记者被停职”,宁夏日报(银川) [Beating of journalists prompts Ningxia Xiji County chengguan officials suspension,”Ningxia Daily(Yinchuan)], July 6, 2007, (accessed October 19, 2011).


[104]记者称在湖南遭城管殴打向省委书记写求助信”,重庆早报(重庆) [“Reporter says he was beaten by Chengguan, appeals to provincial secretary for help,” Chongqing Morning News(Chongqing)],March 19, 2009, (accessed October 19, 2011).

[105]Human Rights Watch interview with Zhang Wei (a pseudonym), a journalist beaten by chengguan officers, Kunming, Yunnan province, September 10, 2010.

[106]家中违建遭城管强拆警察被打生活新报(昆明) [“Family home’s illegally built construction forcibly demolished by chengguan, policeman beaten,” Life Daily News(Kunming)], December 28, 2010, (accessed October 19, 2011).

[107] Ibid.

[108] Human Rights Watch interview with Lin Ping (a pseudonym), a victim of a chengguan forced demolition operation, Huangshan, Anhui province, September 10, 2010.

[109]Human Rights Watch interview with Zhang Wei (a pseudonym) a journalist beaten by chengguan officers, Kunming, Yunnan province, September 10, 2010.

[110]Law on Administrative Penalty, art. 31.“Before deciding to impose administrative penalties, administrative organs shall notify the parties of the facts, grounds and basis according to which the administrative penalties are to be decided and shall notify the parties of the rights that they enjoy in accordance with the law.”

Law on Administrative Enforcement, art. 18 (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.”

[111]Human Rights Watch interview with Tian Ying (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Shenyang, Liaoning province, August 29, 2010.

[112] Human Rights Watch interview with Cui Aiping (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Beijing, December 9, 2010.

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

[114] Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, adopted on July 1, 1979 and effective on March 14, 1997, (accessed April 8, 2012), art. 20. An act that a person commits to stop an unlawful infringement in order to prevent the interests of the State and the public, or his own or other persons rights of the person, property or other rights from being infringed upon by the on-going infringement, thus harming the perpetrator, is justifiable defence, and he shall not bear criminal responsibility. If a persons act of justifiable defence obviously exceeds the limits of necessity and causes serious damage, he shall bear criminal responsibility; however, he shall be given a mitigated punishment or be exempted from punishment. If a person acts in defence against an on-going assault, murder, robbery, rape, kidnap or any other crime of violence that seriously endangers his personal safety, thus causing injury or death to the perpetrator of the unlawful act, it is not undue defence, and he shall not bear criminal responsibility.

[115] Ibid.

[116]Law on Administrative Penalty, 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.”

[117] Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, adopted on July 1, 1979, revised on March 14, 1997, (accessed April 8, 2012), art. 238. Whoever unlawfully detains another person or deprives another person of his personal freedom shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, criminal detention, public surveillance or deprivation of political rights. If circumstances of hitting or insulting another person exist, the offender shall be given a heavier punishment.Whoever, by committing the crime mentioned in the preceding paragraph, causes severe bodily injure to another person shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than ten years. If he causes death of another person, he shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years. If another persons deformity or death is caused by violence, the offender shall be decided a crime and punished according to the provisions of Article 234 or Article 232 of this Law.Whoever, for the purpose of extorting the payment of debts, unlawfully detains or confines another person shall be punished according to the provisions of the preceding two paragraphs.Whoever from the staff of a state organ takes advantage of his office to commit a crime mentioned in the preceding three paragraphs shall be given a heavier punishment according to the provisions of the preceding three paragraphs.

[118]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, (accessed October 11, 2011).

[119] Human Rights Watch interview with Ma Dong (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Beijing, June 8, 2010.

[120] Human Rights Watch interview with Liao Rong (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Shenyang, Liaoning province, August 23, 2010.

[121] Ibid.

[122] Human Rights Watch interview with Jiang Jianguo (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Beijing, December 12, 2010.

[123] Ibid.

[124] Ibid.

[125] Human Rights Watch interview with Cai Xue (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Beijing, December 7, 2010.


[127] Ibid.

[128] Ibid.

[129] Law on Administrative Penalty, art. 8. Types of administrative penalty shall include (3) confiscation of illegal gains, or confiscation of unlawful property or things of value.

[130] Law on Administrative Enforcement, 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 properties 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.”

[131]Law on Administrative Enforcement, 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.

[132]The Property Law of the People’s Republic of China adopted at the 5th Session of the10th National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China on March 16, 2007 and effective on October 1, 2007, (accessed April 8, 2012).

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

[134] Ibid.

[135]Human Rights Watch interview with Li Jiawen (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Beijing, December 7, 2010.


[137] Ibid.

[138]Human Rights Watch interview with Wang Weiwei (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Beijing, December 6, 2010.

[139]Human Rights Watch interview with Liao Meihua (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Shenyang, Liaoning province, August 29, 2010.

[140] Human Rights Watch interview with Wang Xiangwei (a pseudonym), a street vendor,Beijing, December 9, 2010.


[142]Law on Administrative Penalty, art. 33. “If the facts about a violation of law are well-attested and there are legal basis and if, the citizen involved is to be fined not more than 50 yuan or the legal person or other organization involved is to be fined not more than 1,000 yuan or a disciplinary warning is to be given, such administrative penalty may be decided on the spot. The party shall carry out the decision on administrative penalty in accordance with the provisions of Articles 46, 47 and 48 of this Law.

Ibid., art. 34. “If a law-enforcing officer decides to impose administrative penalty on the spot, he shall show the party his identification papers for law enforcement, fill out an established and coded form of decision for administrative penalty. The form of decision for administrative penalty shall be given to the party on the spot.

In the form of decision for administrative penalty as stipulated in the preceding paragraph shall be clearly recorded the illegal act committed by the party, the basis for administrative penalty, the amount of fine, the time and place, and the title of the administrative organ. Such form shall also be signed or sealed by the law-enforcing officer.

Law-enforcing officers must submit their decisions on administrative penalty made on the spot to the administrative organs where they belong for the record.

[143] Human Rights Watch interview with Xie Dongfeng (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Beijing, December 7, 2010.

[144] Ibid.

[145]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, (accessed October 11, 2011).

[146] Ibid.

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

[148]褚朝新,老总拍摄冲突现场被城管打死”,新京报 (北京) [“Executive photographing conflict scene beaten to death by chengguan,” Beijing News, (Beijing)], January 9, 2008, (accessed October 14, 2011).

[149]David Bandurski, “Brutal killing of Wei Wenhua underscores the evils of China’s ‘urban management’ system,” China Media Project blog, January 10, 2008, (accessed October 14, 2011).

[150]褚朝新, 老总拍摄冲突现场被城管打死”,新京报 (北京) [“Executive photographing conflict scene beaten to death by chengguan,” Beijing News, (Beijing)], January 9, 2008, (accessed October 14, 2011).

[151]“Beating death officers jailed,” Shanghai Daily (Shanghai), November 12, 2008, (accessed October 30, 2011).


[153]城管小贩冲突路人拍照遭强删小贩受伤至今住院浙江晚报 (浙江) (“Bystanders photos of chengguan, vendor conflict forcibly deleted; vendor still in hospital,” Zhejiang Evening News), July 21, 2011, (accessed October 7, 2011).

[154]又见城管暴力之法,这次在深圳”,解放日报 ( 北京) [“Once again, chengguan seen violently enforcing the law, this time in Shenzhen,” Liberation Daily (Beijing)], May 24, 2011, (accessed October 11, 2011).

[155] Shang Ban, “Officers go on trial for beating,” China Daily (Beijing), February 27, 2010, (accessed October 30, 2010).

[156]Jail for five in paralyzing beating,” Shanghai Daily (Shanghai), April 16, 2010.

[157] Human Rights Watch interview with Xie Dongfeng (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Beijing, December 7, 2010.

[158] Human Rights Watch interview with Wang Xiangwei (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Beijing, December 9, 2010.

[159] Human Rights Watch interview with Liao Meihua (a pseudonym), a street vendor, Shenyang,August 29, 2010.