Street Vendor Beaten to Death, Riot Rocks Chinese City

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On Tuesday afternoon, riots rocked the streets of Anshun City in China's southern province of Guizhou. People were protesting the death of a disabled street vendor. He had allegedly been beaten to death by local urban law enforcement officers called the chengguan.

On July 26th, the city of Anshun in China's Guizhou Province broke out into riots, as thousands of residents took to the streets. The rampage began in response to accusations that the chengguan, a branch of civilian law enforcers, beat a disabled fruit vendor to death.

The chengguan maintain urban order and enforce laws against petty crimes like begging. It's unclear what the fruit vendor did that led the chengguan to start beating him.

One eyewitness to the riots spoke to NTD on condition of anonymity.

[Eyewitness]:
"When we went there, he was already dead, there was a group of people surrounding him, over 10 thousand people. The group was definitely furious. One would normally give priority to disabled people. We first saw he was old, then saw he was disabled. As soon as people saw it they were furious."

The crowds erupted. Protestors mobbed a chengguan vehicle, flipping it on its side. Witnesses say authorities used teargas and water cannons to suppress the protests.

[Eyewitness]:
"Later, riot police came. They fired teargas. It shook people's homes and glass fell down injuring many people. Some were hospitalized. Fire trucks also came and fired water at the crowd, using the water to disperse the crowd."

Police are reportedly questioning six chengguan members in connection with the killing.

The chengguan are notorious for using excessive force, especially against market vendors and hawkers. In late 2010 a chengguan officer caused public outcry after he beat up an elderly street vendor. Similar incidents have occurred across the country.

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