Ah, the chengguan. China’s glorified urban mall-cops in charge of city sanitation and mundane rule-of-law, but who sometimes decide to, you know, murder street vendors. Well, the fun may be over for China’s roving hordes of urban enforcement officers, at least in Jiangsu province.
The Jiangsu provincial legislature has proposed a new administrative department in charge of chengguan-y affairs, as well as specific chengguan-related laws, in an effort “to ease the tense relationship between chengguan and the public after recent incidents.”
There’s very little wrong with hiring a few government workers to manage noise and parking problems in China’s cities, but quite a bit wrong when those workers start killing street vendors, as Wany Yi, who drafted the proposed law, told the Global Times:
“A specific law can restrict chengguan enforcement behavior and define their duties which will help to increase public awareness of their role,” Wang said, adding that an administrative department at State level can better manage chengguan.
If state media is reporting it (and, let’s be real, if we’re getting any decent description of ‘in progress’ legislation) than this proposal is very likely to go through.
In the current system, chengguang are managed by local housing and development authorities, with no greater provincial or national oversight. Whether or not these new regulations can fix the chengguan’s abuse of power issues remains to be seen, but it is an encouraging sign that the issue has been recognized.