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Chinese Netizens’ Comments on China’s First Chengguan Law Enforcement Textbook

The City Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement (CUALE) Bureau (城市管理行政执法局), also known as Chengguan (城管), is a local government agency that has been established in every city in the People’s Republic of China.

The agency is usually a part of a municipal area’s City Urban Management Bureau (市城市管理局). The agency is in charge of the enforcement of urban management. This includes local bylaws and city appearance bylaws as well as regulations regarding the environment, sanitation, work safety, pollution control, and health. In large cities, the Chengguan can be involved in the enforcement of planning, greening, industry and commerce, environmental protection, municipal affairs, and water management.

Chinese people also call the staff of Chengguan as Chengguan. But to them, that is an unpopular name. In recent years, there have been frequent incidents of death and injury caused by Chengguan’s violent enforcement, although the official media typically avoid the topic.

“Chengguan Law Enforcement and Operations Practice” (ISBN: 7801404920) was published by the Publishing House of the National Administrative Institute in 2006. According to Nanfang Weekends, “the book was developed by the Chengguan Training Instruction project team jointly formed by the Beijing CUALE Bureau and the Training Center of the Beijing Municipal Administration Commission. It was the first professional book on Chengguan law enforcement and operations. It covers the principles of Chengguan operations, four challenges for Chengguan enforcement, and the target onto whom the Chengguan enforces law, and etc.” [1]

Recently, some netizens posted excerpts from the Chengguan manual on the Internet. Some excerpts from the manual were also reprinted in Nanfang Weekends, a weekend-only newspaper under the Guangdong Province’s state run Nanfang Media Group enterprise, which is noted for maintaining a more liberal style than other state-run media. [1]

“Thirdly, don’t let go of the target easily. The need is to arrest the target and take him to the law enforcement car, the police station, or the Chengguan station. You need to ask where he is from, how long he has been here, why he dares to use violence against the law, whether he knows what kind of punishment he will receive as a result of today’s severe incident.

Fourthly, don’t try to take violent actions to control the target in front of the public. If you can’t avoid the public, use a milder approach to resolve the issue.

Fifthly, perform violent actions against the target on parts of his body. Make sure there is no blood on the target’s face, nor should there be any injury marks on his body. When there is nobody around, complete a chain of super-fast actions against the target in one shot, leaving no trace to be seen. Once in execution, you must do it quickly and cleanly, without any hesitation. Use all the forces at once.”

The report on Nanfang Weekends’ website received many readers’ comments to express their dismay. The following are some excerpts:

“- zcs0209
Public = Enemy???

– tcj1989
Hitler is back to life?

– limengze
(It is) definitely created by the Japanese, so logical and so clear. It’s an advanced version from what they did when they invaded China during the Second World War. The chengguan are much superior to those Japanese invaders.

– wai12320375
(The instruction book mentioned that chengguan should) ‘get to a selfless stage, becoming a firm enforcer of the regulations of the city urban administrative and law enforcement.’ See, being a chengguan is not easy at all. You have to reach the stage of selflessness.

– iamjimmylu
Sincerely recommend our government to make sure each citizen get a copy. Let them practice it daily to improve their health; also to take care the situation when run into bad guys.

– jbtob
How dare you! Obviously this is targeting and against the public. Chengguan, who told you to do this? Confess! Leniency to those who confess their crimes and severity to those who refuse to do so! [Editor’s comments: Chinese police always say ‘Leniency to those who confess their crimes and severity to those who refuse to do so!’ during interrogation]

– caokui
(Chengguan are) soldiers from the Special Forces…

– yinzenweibao
(It) might come from the Gestapo’s professional theory book. The National Administrative Institute is so amazing.

– lihuali
It’s outrageous! Outrageous! A book published by the National Administrative Institute does not tell people how to enforce the law in a civilized manner and respect citizen’s basic human rights, but to teach how to ‘kill people without blood’ and ‘commit crime without leaving a trace.’ What they lost here is not just the basic consciousness of a human being. They are bold and reckless, treating the law as nothing!

– seizetheday
If we had this book published 50 years ago and let each Chinese get a copy, who would need to spend eight years to fight the Japanese during the Second World War?

– lovetop778
How admiring! How talented! How capable our press and publication review process!

– jasonwell
No more mask (on the government’s face)?

– jarodlee
Wow, what a book! Have to give it a thumb up. Where can I buy it? Want to get one home to teach my son…

– tiangangwu
‘Quick and clean.’ ‘Without any trace.’ That’s how to handle the enemy.

– waimaidaole
God, do they still have human nature? We are not the enemy but regular people. How come they spend so much time and effort to come up with ways to deal with us? Please tell me where’s the dignity for a Chinese citizen? Will there be a massacre following this?

– fanqie
The government said that they will enforce the law openly and justly, that they will take people foremost, and that they will serve for the people wholeheartedly. All those sayings were just lip service. Their administrative strategy is to treat people as if they are treating enemies.

– emperorboy
Open. Just. Beat people when they need to beat them. Fine them when they need to fine them. Chengguan also need to make a living…

– fofo
Wow! What a ‘when there is nobody around.’ Being nice when there is people watching and switch to violence when not seen? ‘Quick and clean.’ ‘Leaving no trace out.’ Goose bumps…

– hbhujunbo
The fierce officials come to my town, yelling in the north and south, crashing in the east and west. People are scared and shutting up, even the dogs and cocks can’t have quiet lives. The ancient writer said an ‘oppressive government is more fearsome than a tiger.’ Now under the Communist Party’s great effort on constructing a harmonious society, we have something to compete with it. That’s the ‘chengguan is more fearsome than a tiger.’ Right?”

[1] “The First Textbook on Chengguan law enforcement: ‘Chengguan Law Enforcement and Operation Practice’,” Nanfang Weekends, April 21, 2009,