Opinion / Editorials

Law applies to chengguan

(China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-12 09:12


and magazines were demolished overnight in Chaoyang district of Beijing a week ago suggests the lack of the sense about the rule of law on the part of the district's chengguan, government-operated urban patrol officers in charge of neighborhood order in cities and towns.

All the newsstands have business licenses issued by the local administration for industry and commerce. Had the chengguan officers had the least respect for the law, they should have known that they were violating it by demolishing the licensed newspaper stalls.

If the kiosks had indeed become eyesores, even though some of the 72 demolished stalls have stood where they were for more than 10 years, a legal procedure is needed for their removal and relocation. The chengguan department needs to get the administrators for industry and commerce to revoke the stalls' business licenses with a justified reason.

As none of the newsstand owners interviewed said that they were shown any government document and paper work to convince them that the chengguan officers were legally justified in demolishing their means of making a living, it seems that such officers were acting as bandits who could grab things from other people without a reason.

The demolition of the kiosks has actually robbed many people of their means of earning a living. How can depriving people of their livelihoods contribute to the maintenance of social stability?

Now the Chaoyang district government claims that the action was not to demolish the newsstands but to move them to other localities or renovate them. But the fact is that 72 such stalls were illegally demolished without the consent of those who license them and without the consent of the Beijing Newspaper Retail Company which owns them. The Chaoyang government needs to justify its actions not only to the newspaper sellers but to all residents about why its chengguan officers can behave in such a lawless way.

Chengguan officers as law enforcers are supposed to know how to behave and to fulfill their duties in accordance with the law. What they do with street peddlers or small stall owners is a benchmark of a city's urban management. What the Chaoyang chengguan did to the newsstands has tarnished the image not only of Chaoyang district but the whole of Beijing.

(China Daily 08/12/2014 page8)

Most Viewed Today's Top News