Minitrue: Don’t Hype Video of Toddler Battling Chengguan

The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

“Child Grasps Steel Pipe to Resist ” video, pictures, and news reports must all be removed from main news sections. News that unfavorably portrays the community must be released with caution. (April 15, 2016) [Chinese]

A cellphone video clip of an angry toddler wielding a steel pipe at chengguan urban management officials in an effort to protect his grandmother went viral on Weibo this week. The video continues to attract shares and comments on the social media platform.

An English-language article from People’s Daily—which shared the video on Twitter—covers the incident:

A video went viral on Chinese social media from Thursday shows a toddler picking up a steel pipe trying to defend his grandma from a group of Chengguan, the urban management force installed in Chinese cities whose job ranges from clamping down on illegal street vendors to enforcing rules on city sanitation, landscaping and parking.

The toddler was captured shouting “don’t touch my grandma! Go away, don’t touch my grandma!” repeatedly while he held a steel pipe measured some twice his height, trying to push the Chengguan away. Onlookers’ laughter was heard throughout the whole video. [Source]

Chengguan local law enforcement officers have long been the target of public scorn for their tendency to use excessive force. In December 2013, four officers were sentenced in connection with the notorious case of street vendor Deng Zhengjia, who was allegedly beaten to death with his own measuring weight. Chengguan brutality has also incited from the public, for example when Ji Zhongxing set off an explosion at the Beijing Capital International Airport; Ji had for years sought compensation for a beating that left him paralyzed, and his disgruntled act of violence attracted widespread support online.

Chengguan themselves have on several occasions been the target of violent counterattacks. 18 of the officials were hospitalized in Fujian in 2013 after being attacked by a street vendor with sulfuric acid. Also in 2013, Xia Junfeng was executed for killing two chengguan while they interrogated him years earlier. Public distrust of chengguan was highlighted in Xia’s becoming a martyr of sorts, inspiring protest songs in his memory. Rumors of a fatal beating by chengguan in Zhejiang in 2014 sparked riots in which five of them were badly injured.

真Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth since 2011.