A stand-off between residents of a Sichuan city and chengguan, notorious street-level law enforcement officers, over the beating of an egg vendor marks the latest national controversy over the ubiquitous state agents. In recent weeks, the state’s “Comprehensive Administrative Law Enforcement” agents have repeatedly gone viral for perceived abuses of power. Rural enforcers (nongguan), were recorded allegedly destroying homes and confiscating livestock. In Beijing, cultural enforcers (wenguan), fined a comedy studio $2 million after a stand-up comedian was accused of smearing the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with a joke likening his dogs to PLA soldiers. Now, chengguan urban enforcers are in hot water after one of their officers in the city of Neijiang, Sichuan, beat a merchant selling eggs. Videos of the stand-off between angry residents and chengguan went viral on Weibo, until platform censors stepped in and tamped down the topic’s popularity. CDT Chinese editors have compiled a number of videos from the incident:
Eventually, the local police chief arrived on the scene and begged the crowd, “Please trust in the Public Security Bureau!” The crowd only consented to disperse after police had arrested the offending chengguan. CDT has translated a compilation of comments left on Weibo criticizing the chengguan and the other powers that be:
一笑倾城之浪漫主义者：As soon as the people awaken, they get scared—it’s inevitable.
煤玔内酷：I recall this phrase: “They should fear the people, and not vice versa.”
邻家樱桃子：And they still have the nerve to censor the video. Trying to shut us up, aren’t they?
韭菜的快乐你不懂 [The username means “You don’t understand the joy of chives“]：Any organization or individual that takes a stand against the people is doomed to failure.
仙虚逆境：So many have forgotten how they came to power. It was the poor and huddled masses that delivered them to the top. Why do they bully the common folk? This isn’t the first time that chengguan have been caught beating people.
曾经我们心照不宣：“[The individual responsible] was a temp worker/has already resigned/was not a full-time employee.” Fill in the blank here. [The comment is a parody of the common excuses that law enforcement and government officials use to deflect criticism after controversies.] [Chinese]