Yesterday I was cycling to The Camel to watch the America VS Ghana football game. While biking through Ju lu road, I saw a Cheng Guan vehicle parked beside the street. Some Cheng Guan were driving some homeless people away from their camping spot.
These homeless people were kind of different from the normal ones. They had bikes with three super big bags on the rear axle of each bike. It seemed like they were doing some kind of garbage recycling for a living.
After evicting them from their spot, the Cheng Guan got into their vehicle and left. I followed, waited until they found another place and settled in, then I went forward to have an interview with one of them. (more…)
Only 10 days to go until the EXPO in Shanghai opens and the whole city is being told to “clean up” for visitors.
An old lady slowly passing through the empty newly decorated street.
“I’m happy to see that the old building I live in has been repainted although it could be much nicer if they also had repaired the inside, but I really don’t like that they are forbidding me to dry my clothes on the balcony for six months.” Xu is a resident of a “brand new” building and can’t hang his clothes outside the window under the sunshine because the building he lives in is within the 1 km no hanging area specified in a newly released law.
“I work every day until late in the evening and used to go to the street food vendor during my short break. He would have all kinds of food, noodles, rice, etc and it would be really cheap. But now that he is gone, I have to go to the restaurant which serves the same food but 2 times expensive.” Liu is a construction worker whose workplace is near the EXPO area. The food place he used to go to is now a parking lot of Chengguan*.
“I saw these 3 men with huge suitcases passed right below the barriers to the passenger restricted area, sat on the bench and even chatted for about a minute, and then got into different trains.” Marco is one of the many foreigners who came to Shanghai to work for one of the EXPO pavilions. “ These days with the Expo stuff I am seeing uncountable security guards, policemen, army men, etc, there are bag scanners in the subway often with 5 guys who aren’t much older than 18. They seem to be some kind of students / volunteer watchers, but very often they are not even watching rather just laughing or chatting on QQ on their phones – you can hear that “Pipipipipipi” sound…”
After I saw Marco’s post on the internet I wanted to know if the situation is real or not, so I passed the security check with my big backpack, ignoring the old woman besides me, shouting at me to get my bag checked. After 2 seconds, I was already on the other side of the barriers . Looking back, nobody was chasing me, the old women and the young boy were both sitting still behind the x-Ray machine.
“At first, I applied of being a volunteer of the EXPO, and I passed several exams and interviews. But later, they send many of us, mostly just college students like me to be a security guard or whatever.” Bryan wrote this on his personal Blog and question, “How can we be a security guard? I know nothing about it. When the danger comes, we don’t even know how to protect ourselves! If you don’t need that much of volunteers, Why you ask them to do that and sacrifice their times to do those worthless works.”
Yesterday evening, the weather was kind freaky. First it’s warm and sunny, but when I got out of the subway it’s raining heavily, although I was without worry as I knew the street vendor would be excited to see me again. Outside the station I saw the saviour of “stupid” people like me who did not have an umbrella with them surrounded by four Chengguan who were busy throwing the umbrellas into a big trash truck- Busted! EXPO seems to be a bad time for me and so it was for him.
I just can’t wait to see those visitors who come from all over China and the rest of the world become like dogs in the rain when there are no more street vendors selling umbrellas on the “clean” streets.
In general the Chengguan serve as an official agency employed by cities across China “to tackle low-level crime.” However, the agency is widely disliked by the Chinese due to their alleged abuses of power.
Chengguan have been involved in several high-profile cases that highlighted public discontent towards a perceived abuse of power by Chengguan. One high profile case involved Cui Yingjie, who killed a Chengguan in 2006 after a confrontation in Beijing. Public support for Cui Yingjie before and during the trial may have affected the leniency shown Cui, who received a commuted death sentence.
Following an incident in Tianmen City (天门市), Hubei province in January 2008 in which the manager of a construction company, Wei Wenhua, was beaten to death for filming the actions of the Chengguan in a local dispute over rubbish dumping, nationwide calls were made to abolish the unit. Thousands of messages were posted over the Internet and protests took place in Hubei province. According to sources, some Chengguan officials have connections to organized crime.
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