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Watch Chengguan Goon Squad Beat Up The Chinese Military

Not even the People’s Liberation Army is immune from the violence of the chengguan.

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Who are the toughest, most badass, and intimidating public security/ law enforcement personnel in China? The police? Nope. The military? No way. It’s the Chengguan, the gang of meatheads charged with enforcing civic zoning codes and a handful of other petty urban management bylaws. This is the goon squad that is known for stuff like murdering watermelon vendors, beating old women until they bleed, throwing blind beggars into rivers, beating women over head in front of their wailing 8 year olds, killing one-legged beggars, stomping people’s heads, among other things to keep the streets of China orderly.

The chengguan have received such a reputation for beating and bullying people that their very title has become synonymous with violence, sparking phrases like “Don’t be too chengguan.”

While beating down beggars and street vendors is one thing, attacking their country’s supposedly better trained and equipped police and military — AND WINNING — is quite another. Yes, not even China’s other security forces are immune from the brutality of the Chengguan.

Chengguan beating up the People’s Liberation Army:

On September 4th in Qingdao the Chengguan cited a contingent of the People’s Liberation Army for building a watchtower that was deemed to be in violation of the city’s building codes. A scuffle between the soldiers and the chengguan ensued, with the later obtaining total victory. A demolition squad was called in and the watchtower was demolished.

Chengguan beating up the police:

Chengguan stomping on a bicycle shop owner’s head:

Though every once in a while the people of China strike back. Check out this video of a mob of high school students descending upon some chengguan who were reputedly abusing an old man:


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Filed under: China, Politics, Public Security, Travel Guide

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 91 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3722 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: New York City

2 comments… add one

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  • Bob L September 15, 2013, 8:32 pm

    Isn’t this how the Brownshirts got started?

    Where do they get their authority?

    I am not normally a fan of mob rule, it tends to give more power to those you least want to see have power, but it does my heart good to see a Chinese group of youngsters exercising their god given American rights …… or something like that……. 8^)

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    • VagabondJourney September 16, 2013, 1:29 am

      It is my impression that they are generally a part of the City Urban Management Bureau, and are their own department, separate from the police.

      Yes, they are very similar to Browshirts.

      I will have an article coming soon about they they really make money.

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