A Chinese court on Friday convicted four chengguan for the death of a 56-year-old watermelon vender that led to protests and public upheaval in July, with prison terms ranging between 3.5 and 11 years.
The four chengguan have officially been convicted of “Intentional Injury” for killing 56-year-old Deng Zhengjia in a fight over whether or not the latter could sell fruit in a given place. The Yongxing county government announced that Deng had died suddenly of a cause unknown at the time, but this goes against witness accounts that claimed he was beaten to death.
The recent conviction, however, has not quelled the frustrations of protestors. Many believe that the judgment has been “unfairly lenient” in favor of the defendants, such as one netizen who voiced the following comment on Weibo: “Where is this ‘life for a life’, where is this ‘fair and just law’…please tell us, the people are listening.”
This event is the latest in the Chinese public’s growing distrust and dissatisfaction with the chengguan. Last October, a villager from Xiamen poured sulfuric acid on 19 chengguan, while only a couple weeks prior “hundreds of thousands of people signaled their opposition” to the execution of Shenyang street vendor Xia Junfeng.
These are but a few instances making up the staggeringly long list of chengguan brutality cases. Anyone interested in a light read can scroll through the 76-page report on chengguan abuses published by the Human Rights Watch last September.
By Alex Stevens