Human Rights Watch Criticizes Chinese Para-Police for Abuses

Posted May 23rd, 2012 at 3:05 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A leading human rights group says the Chinese law enforcement agency in charge of urban management is fueling public resentment and stoking social tensions with its heavy-handed behavior.

Human Rights Watch released a report Wednesday entitled “Beat Him, Take Everything Away” detailing abuses by China's “chengguan” para-police agency.

It documents reports of illegal detention, theft, and sometimes fatal beatings by the chengguan, which enforce everything from city traffic laws to sanitation rules.

The group says the chengguan's rising influence has not been contained by Beijing, resulting in a reputation for excessive force, thuggish behavior, and impunity.

Public resentment of chengguan has already triggered several violent protests in cities across China. The New York-based group warns that further confrontations may continue if the agency's power is left unchecked.

The chengguan have no legal authority to detain suspects and no regulatory framework exists that defines the scope of their duties or to monitor their code of conduct.

Many Chinese citizens report being beaten, detained, and sometimes evicted from their homes by chengguan officers. Others reported having their vehicles or other property confiscated until a seemingly arbitrary fine was paid.

Human Rights Watch is calling on the Chinese government to investigate reports of abuse and develop laws outlining chengguan operations.