"Everyone said he had been beaten to death by the Chengguan. That enraged the local residents"
I saw on WeChat the photo of a bloodied man lying on the ground [Editor’s note: WeChat is an instant messaging service for mobile phones]. Everyone said he had been beaten to death by the Chengguan. That enraged the local residents. But with nothing except a photo, it was impossible to figure out if it was true. So I went to the scene to see for myself. It was around 10am.I left around 3pm because I sensed that the situation could get out of control, and also because my eyes were hurting from the tear gas. The official media said that the crowd had been dispersed between 4pm or 5pm by around 100 police reinforcements, but I have difficulty believing it. Videos posted online show that the tear gas had no effect on the crowd. It was only after the arrival of around 50 police vans that the situation calmed down, and the Chengguan were evacuated.The people’s anger can be explained for several reasons. First of all, there’s the behavior of these thugs when they work. At the market, for example, they don’t hesitate to use force and violence to confiscate the merchandise of local peasants who come to town to sell their products but don’t have the means to rent a spot for a market stall. The Chengguan are generally temporary workers recruited from other provinces. The fact that strangers come here to impose their own laws on us doesn’t go down very well. In Wenzhou [a town situated north of Cangnan, in Zhejiang province], there’s lots of discontent after years of forced evictions. The Chengguan are often implicated in these evictions, so this incident was also an opportunity for people to get revenge.