A dispute between street vendors and chengguan turned violent last night in Xi’an, leaving one dead and injuring six others.
According to NetEase, the incident took place at around 10 p.m. last night in Xi’an’s Yanta district. The violence erupted after chengguan intervened to stop a vendor from doing business on the roadside.
Witnesses said that both parties collided with each other in the skirmish, with a street vendor said to have driven a car into one of the chengguan. Several are said to be receiving treatment for their injuries at a nearby hospital. One of the street vendors involved has been arrested by police who are investigating the incident.
Local police took to Weibo in the early hours of the morning to give details about the clash, saying that the confrontation took place after chengguan intervened to stop a vendor from doing business in the street. An investigation has already been launched.
Netizens commenting on the story were generally critical of the overzealous way in which the chengguan had gone about their duties, but others believed that blame lay with the street vendors.
“Similar incidents will likely continue to appear if no one cares to control police brutality,” one said.
“The street vendor should be sentenced to prison because no matter whose life is taken, a vendor’s or a chengguan’s, it’s still a murder,” said another.
“All street vendors ever do is occupy streets and roads, selling unhygienic food! The more clients they gather, the more spaces they occupy illegally,”
China’s favorite civil enforcement officers are never the type to shy away from their mission to restore order to the nation’s sidewalks. One of their most recent exploits involved bringing Western fast food restaurants to heel, detaining a Ronald McDonald statue which had been illegally occupying the streets of Guangzhou.
By Katie Ngai
[Images via NetEase // Weibo]