Urban management officer suspended for whipping street vendor

Society & Culture

An urban management officer (城管 chéngguǎn) in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, has been suspended after a video was posted online showing him brutally whipping a street fruit vendor in public, the Beijing News reports (in Chinese).

In the footage (in Chinese), the officer can be seen chasing an elderly male vendor on the street with a whip-like weapon, and striking him repeatedly. A colleague of the officer’s attempted to stop the beating but failed. Eventually, a passerby forcibly pulled the officer away from the victim.

The incident occured on June 19 and the clip began to generate attention as soon as it was shared on the internet. Around 5 p.m. on the same day, the local propaganda department issued a statement, announcing that the officer — whose identity has not been revealed — had been detained for 10 days and paid a fine of 500 yuan for his abusive behavior. The officer is currently suspended from his job while an internal investigation is conducted. The vendor is resting at home, recovering from his injuries.

The announcement also said that the local law enforcement department had sent out the message to all urban management officers in the region that uncivilized acts like this are unacceptable and will be severely punished.

The chengguan assist police in enforcing non-criminal urban administrative regulations. They are notorious for their often violent approach in dealing with small-business owners, street vendors, and other vulnerable people. On Weibo, many internet users are calling for (in Chinese) harsher punishment for the violent officer. “This is a crime, not just police brutality,” one Weibo user wrote.