Are we even surprised? A survey conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has revealed that chengguan, China’s nasty urban management thugs, are the country’s most unpopular public officials.
Chengguan have often been the subject of public outrage and dissent due to multiple reports of their appalling and power-hungry behaviour. On Monday, a dog was beaten to death in front of its owner by a chengguan for as it allegedly did not have the proper registration papers. A Human Rights Watch report has also criticised the unlawful behaviour of chengguan due to their constant unauthorized use of violence.
In some cases the public have taken matters into their own hands and meted out punishment against the chengguan on their own. In April this year, a rioting crowd severely bashed five chengguan in response to their brutal killing of a civilian.
A commentary in the state-run Global Times actively spoke up for chengguan, insisting that such officials are but ordinary but poorly-trained people who happen to have taken up the job of public enforcement. The commentary followed:
[…] there is little understanding and sympathy for chengguan from the public. Public opinion, especially voices on the Internet, regard chengguan as a punching bag to show their frustrations and discontent against the government.
Any specific cases of simple and crude law enforcement by chengguan will be over-amplified and fuel public anger.
Other authorities also pay inadequate attention to the establishment of chengguan, among whom there are a lot of temporary employees. They are unqualified and inexperienced at handling complicated situations…They take the heaviest burden of urban management, but they are treated with prejudice and bias.