Several Chinese law enforcement officials were nearly beaten to death in the city of Cangnan after a brutal backlash by local residents. Riots broke out when five officers – known as ‘Chengguan’ – violently assaulted a man who refused to stop taking photos of them.
The man reportedly stopped to photograph the officers while they were having a dispute with a street vendor on Saturday. The ‘Chengguan
’ are parallel police units tasked with enforcing urban regulations
, though their main duties appear to be dealing with illegal street vendors. The officers instructed the man to delete the photos. According to several sources
, Chengguan police began beating him after he refused, in a spectacle that drew a large crowd of onlookers. Photos posted online show a hammer that witnesses claim was used by the Chengguan during the assault.
This photomontage shows how events unfolded. Each photo was uploaded onto Chinese social networking site Weibo.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IMAGES ARE GRAPHIC.
The alleged victim of Chengguan brutality lies on the ground. His mobile phone can be seen propped against his left leg.
The hammer that witnesses claim was used by Chengguan against the man shown in the photo above.
A large crowd quickly gathers after news of the assault spread via instant messaging services. Angry bystanders surround a yellow van that Chengguan police had tried to use to flee the scene.
People attack the yellow van in which Chengguan officers are taking refuge, smashing windows and ripping off the doors.
Witnesses say onlookers slashed the van's tyres to prevent it from escaping.
Chengguan police are left bruised and bloodied under a heap of stones and rubble inside the vehicle. They are later rescued by riot police and taken to hospital. Two are reportedly in serious condition.
Outraged and spurred on by rumors that the man had been beaten to death, the crowd cornered the Chengguan to stop them from leaving. Pictures show the officers taking refuge in a nearby van, before residents slash the tyres, smash the windows
and attack them with stones. According to the official version
of events cited by the state-run China Daily, two officers were left seriously injured. However, several eyewitnesses claim the men were killed.
Grisly photos circulating online show several Chengguan lying bruised and bloodied inside the van amid a heap of stones and rubble. According to Shanghai-based Dongfang Daily
, three police vehicles were sent to rescue the officers. More clashes broke out when riot police arrived and fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd. According to an Observer contacted by FRANCE 24, enraged residents also attacked an ambulance dispatched to rescue the Chengguan officers.