Our question has been answered: Yes, chengguan are stealing from the homeless
“Are Beijing’s chengguan stealing from the homeless?” we asked in the headline of a Tuesday post.
Yeah, they are. Confirmation via Xinhua:
The theft of vagrants’ belongings in downtown Beijing has prompted an outcry for the protection of homeless people’s rights.
A group of more than 50 uniformed, but unidentified, individuals took the possessions of homeless people who were staying on a street near the Yongdingmen long-distance bus station Saturday afternoon, witnesses confirmed Wednesday.
“They forcibly took away quilts, winter clothing and packs of instant noodles that were donated by volunteers,” said a bus driver who witnessed the incident but declined to give his name.
The driver said the thieves were brought to the scene in vehicles bearing insignia indicating that they were “chengguan,” a Chinese word for municipal government agents who aid police in maintaining urban order.
Reports of the use of excessive force by chengguan officers are common to the point where the very word “chengguan” has become synonymous with violence in the minds of some Chinese.
China Focus: Homeless harassment provokes calls for equal rights (Xinhua via People’s Daily)