Domestic Affairs

Chengguan making our streets safe from vendors

By Huang Xiangyang (
Updated: 2011-04-15 16:46
Large Medium Small

Salute to China's chengguan (urban management officers). They have never let us down in terms of bravery and courage displayed during their battle to ensure that our cities are free from disorder and chaos caused by unlicensed street vendors.

Almost all Beijing newspapers on Thursday carried reports about the latest show of gallantry the previous day, when two chengguan jumped on a motor tricycle driven by an unlicensed fruit vendor in Haidian district trying to flee. To force the rule violator to stop, they "yanked his hair and strangled his throat" - according to a Beijing Times report - before the tricycle lost control, knocked down a 74-year-old passerby, and crashed into the roadside. The driver and the two chengguan were hurled off the vehicle. All four were injured, the old man seriously, and hospitalized.

I had expected such a scene to appear only in Hollywood blockbusters, and I had thought that only Bruce Willis in the Die Hard films, or Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible series, are capable of creating that kind of thrill. But I am dead wrong. As to what feat our chengguan can achieve, and through what means, the only limit is our imagination.

It has not been easy for our chengguan to become X-men. They are equipped not with modern weapons, but with only basic means of attack such as an iron stick, a piece of brick, or as in the above scenario, only their hands. They are yet to undergo hell-like training tailored for Marines similar to that depicted in Full Metal Jacket. But already our chengguan have made it, and become invincible in their day-to-day combat against the ubiquitous unlicensed street vendors, and achieved one victory after another in their relentless quest to make our cities an orderly and harmonious place to live. Let us look in awe at some of their deeds.

On April 6, some chengguan in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, subdued two rebellious vendors of roast corn and sweet potatoes with just iron bars in no time, sending blood to gush from their heads.

In November last year, several chengguan in Zhengzhou, Henan province, slapped 73-year-old vendor Zhang Quanhui a dozen times because he neglected warnings and continued to sell vegetables in the downtown area to "pay for the medical cost of his son."

In January 2008, some chengguan in Tianmen, Hubei province, even beat a man to death because he dared to videotape, with his mobile phone, their "violent process of rule enforcement."

The list can run forever, and the longer it goes, the more sense of security our law-abiding citizens could feel, and we cannot but be proud of their ever-increasing combat capability and express our heartfelt gratitude to our dedicated guardians, who have risked their lives to make sure our cities are kept in good order.

Looking at what the chengguan have achieved in the face of all adversities – lack of equipment and training, misunderstanding from some ignorant people, and sometimes violent resistance by rule-defying street vendors – I would like to suggest that we increase financial input just a little bit more to better train and equip them. Once they replace the PLA even on a partial scale, we don’t have to spend so much on national defense and raise alarm from suspicious neighbors.

Still doubtful of our chengguan's combat capability? Send some of them to Moammar Gadhafi, and I assure you they could help him retake rebel headquarters in Benghazi in just days.