How to beat people up, by the book
- Tania Branigan in Beijing
- April 24, 2009
A TRAINING textbook telling urban law enforcers how to use violence has drawn outrage in China, after extracts were published on the web.
The advice includes avoiding witnesses and not worrying whether they will harm the person they are trying to subdue. The most controversial section reads: "In dealing with the subject, take care to leave no blood on the face, no wounds on the body, and no people in the vicinity."
Members of the enforcement bureau, known as chengguan, deal with low-level crime and disorder. However, their reputation for brutality has made them widely reviled and they have been involved in several deaths.
Last year four enforcers beat a man to death after he used a mobile phone to film a confrontation between villagers and officials. In another case, three officers were jailed for stabbing a noodle seller to death in a row over his stall.
Critics blame poor training and low pay for the lack of good recruits. But extracts from The Practice Of City Administrator Law Enforcement - issued by the Beijing City Administration Bureau, according to a Chinese paper - give explicit advice on using violence.
The extracts were posted by Zhao Yang, an enforcer from Nanjing, who said: "Even as a chengguan myself, I felt very shocked when I read the book."
However, he added, "The book also has useful instructions on how to control [difficult] situations and how to avoid further conflicts and even control your temper.
"My goal was to let chengguan all over China learn about it. We can debate which parts of it are worth learning and which parts are not very appropriate."
Mr Zhao described it as the first official textbook for enforcers. A source at the administration bureau told the Southern Metropolis Daily that many enforcers had not yet seen it.
Guardian News & Media