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Chinese Government Manual: How to Beat Up Street Vendors

by Christine DeSadeleer Apr 27, 2009
Detailed instructions to “LEAVE NO blood on the face, no wounds on the body, and no witnesses in the vicinity” do not bode well for a new era of human rights in China.

According to an article in the Irish Times, a Chinese government manual has been circulating on “how to beat up troublemakers without leaving marks.”

Apparently, it’s not hard to obtain a copy of the manual; they are available in any bookshop or online.

Aimed at “urban management enforcement squads,” otherwise known as bruttish chengguan, the manual describes exactly how to go about beating up mostly unlicensed street sellers.

Tips include:

Urban management officials should seize the opportunity when there are not many onlookers around. Do not hesitate. Finish the job quickly, without giving your opponents time to prepare. The whole job should be completed within 10 seconds.

It also adds:

Several officials should always act together. Make sure to leave no blood on the opponent’s face, no wounds on the body, and no witnesses in the vicinity. Be calm and focused. Be a firm public official.

Coincidentally, China’s state council just introduced the nation’s first program on human rights called the National Human Rights Action Plan (2009–2010). The plan outlines measures to be implemented over the next two years around work, basic living conditions, social security, health, environmental, cultural and women’s rights, among others.

But activists say that recent arrests, including that of Tan Zuoren, an environmental activist from Sichuan that Amnesty International believes is at serious risk for torture, do not bode well for this enforcement of these rights.

It is believed that Zuoren’s detention was linked to “his intent to issue a list of the names of children who died in the May 2008 Sichuan earthquake along with a report blaming corruption in state officials for the collapse of a number of schools.”

How does this explicit government manual affect China’s stance on human rights? Share your thoughts below.

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