Guangzhou chengguan and police rumble with Chaozhounese street vendorsPosted: 02/27/2012 7:46 am
It’s almost lianghui time, so authorities have stepped up efforts to make sure nothing goes wrong until the two sessions wrap up in mid-March.
In Guangzhou, that has included a crackdown on street vendors. On the evening of February 23, chengguan started chasing away vendors, the majority of which just happened to be Chaozhou laoxiang, situated along Jingtai pedestrian street in Baiyun district. According to eyewitnesses spoken to by the Oriental Daily newspaper, chengguan were physically violent and verbally abusive as they tried to clear the area.
One vendor who took too long to vacate was surrounded by a group of chengguan and beaten. During this, the vendor heard one of his assailants say that this chengguan action was specifically targeting Chaozhounese. Hearing this, the small crowd grew angry and called over other Chaozhounese working the street.
If you know anything about people from Chaozhou, you’ll know that the last thing you should ever do is back one of them into a corner. Angered at hearing that people had come targeting their community, Chaozhounese from the area swarmed the pedestrian street, escalating the conflict between the street vendors and those in uniform. As the crowd continued to grow, the chengguan tried to leave.
Chaozhounese started pushing, cops showed up and started clubbing, and more than 1,000 people gathered, preventing an ambulance carrying injured chengguan from going to a hospital until an apology was issued.
Nearly 200 riot police were then dispatched and the standoff continued until 1am the following morning until police finally convinced people to return home. According to different sources on Weibo, the situation in the area remains tense and heavily patrolled.
One resident interviewed by Oriental Daily claims to have had his arms and legs pinned behind him before he was kicked by a group of chengguan who were plainly out of control. City authorities insist that no violence occurred on their part. The same article suggests that local media have been told to keep the incident quiet for fear of further angering Guangzhou’s Chaozhou community.
We haven’t seen any local media reports on the street fight, but many photos can still be found on Weibo.