Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau
Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau
Simplified Chinese城市管理行政执法局
Traditional Chinese城市管理行政執法局
Literal meaningUrban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau
Alternative Chinese name
Literal meaningUrban Administration / city management

The Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau, commonly shortened to Chengguan (Chinese: 城管; pinyin: Chéngguǎn), is a local government agency that has been established in every city in Mainland China.[1]

The agency is usually part of a city or municipality's Urban Management Bureau (Chinese: 城市管理局; pinyin: Chéngshì Guǎnlǐ Jú).[2] The agency is in charge with enforcement of urban management of the city. This includes local bylaws, city appearance bylaws, environment, sanitation, work safety, pollution control, health, and can involve enforcement in planning, greening, industry and commerce, environment protection, municipal affairs and water in large cities.[2]

The agents of the bureau are civil servants that do not have the power of the police.

The bureau is sometimes translated in English as Urban Administrative Enforcement Bureau or Urban Management Enforcement Bureau.


The Urban Administrative and Law Enforcement Bureau was established in 2001/2002 for all major cities in mainland China to improve municipal governance as cities become more crowded and urban issues became more complex.[citation needed]

The bureaus' officials are responsible for cracking down on unlicensed street vendors. According to the BBC, "Ever since the agency came into existence 10 years ago, there have been repeated criticism of them using excessive force. This para-police force, equipped with steel helmets and stab-proof vests, is often used by local officials as trouble shooters".[3]

In general the Chengguan serve as an official agency employed by cities across China "to tackle low-level crime." However, the agency is widely disliked by the Chinese due to their abuses of power.[3]


Chengguan vehicle in Beijing

Chengguan have been involved in several high-profile cases that highlighted public discontent towards a perceived abuse of power by Chengguan. One high-profile case involved Cui Yingjie, who killed a Chengguan in 2006 after a confrontation in Beijing. Public support for Cui Yingjie before and during the trial may have affected the leniency shown to Cui, who received a commuted death sentence.[citation needed]

Following an incident in Tianmen City, Hubei province in January 2008 in which the manager of a construction company, Wei Wenhua,[4] was beaten to death for filming the actions of the Chengguan in a local dispute over rubbish dumping, nationwide calls were made to abolish the unit. Thousands of messages were posted over the Internet and protests took place in Hubei province. According to sources,[which?] some Chengguan officials have connections to organized crime.

A 2012 report by Human Rights Watch documents Chengguan abuses, "including assaults on suspected administrative law violators, some of which lead to serious injury or death, illegal detention, and unlawful forceful confiscation of property."[5]

There were multiple cases in 2011 and 2012 throughout China where police officers were attacked by groups of chengguan agents when responding to incidents of chengguan's use of violence and abuse.[6]

In 2012, the Chengguan agency in Wuhan announced formation of an internal 'militia' or paramilitary-type division.

In 2013, a watermelon seller, Deng Zhengjia, was reported to have been beaten to death with his own scales by Chengguan. His body was protected by people on the street to prevent authorities from seizing it and to "preserve evidence." Violence ensued. Prominent microbloggers have called for the end to what has been termed a "thuggish" organization.[7]

In 2014, a man filming the Chengguan abusing a female street vendor was brutally beaten with a hammer until he was vomiting blood. He was pronounced dead on the way to the hospital. The five Chengguan officers were severely beaten, and four confirmed dead later,[8] with pictures posted on Sina Weibo.[9][10]

In popular culture

As a result of its notorious reputation, the Chengguan has become a popular target of jokes and internet memes by the Chinese public.

Time magazine reports that beatings by Chengguan officers have become such commonplace news that, "The word 'Chengguan' has even taken on an alternate meaning in Chinese. "Don't be too Chengguan" is an appeal not to bully or terrorize. In other words, "Chengguan" has literally become synonymous with "violence".[11]"The Chengguan is coming!", a phrase often shouted out by illegal street vendors to warn others to run away in case of a Chengguan inspection, has become a famous Chinese Internet punch line.

There are also satirical jokes of the Chengguan actually being China's secret strategic reserves, the "fifth branch of the PLA", because of their capability to cause "mass destruction". Punch lines such as "Give me 300 Chengguan, I will conquer..." and "China has pledged not to be the first to use Chengguan at any time or under any circumstances in order to keep world peace and stability" have gone viral among Chinese netizens in recent years.[12]

Administrative structure

The bureau is usually structured along two offices and six departments.[2][13][14]

Office/department Chinese Functions
Administrative Office 办公室
Formulates annual work plan and meeting documentation, examines and approves various files and documents issued by the Bureau
Controls the financial and assets management
Security and administrative affairs
Human Resources
Comprehensive Management Department 综合管理处
Zōnghé Guǎnlǐ Chù
Liaising with county, city, district level departments
City Appearance Management Department 市容管理处
Shìróng Guǎnlǐ Chù
Supervises city appearance, street building, street scene appearance, street signs, booths, stalls, motor vehicle carparks
Manages environment roadways
Enforcement Management Department 执法管理处
Zhífǎ Guǎnlǐ Chù
Municipal enforcement
Issues fines and penalties
Enforces local regulations and bylaws, settles municipal disputes
Legal Department 法制处
Fǎzhì Chù
Takes charge in drawing rules and regulation to urban management
Assists city planners with legal framework and planning
Hears and reviews litigation of administrative case
Information Department 信息处
Xìnxī Chù
Public communications about urban policies
Informs community in regards to urban projects, regulations, policies and strategic vision
Outdoor Advertisement Management Department 户外广告管理处
Hùwài Guǎnggào Guǎnlǐ Chù
Sets policy, regulation and standards for outdoor advertisement, neon light, electronic screen wall and lamp box
Supervision Office 监察室
Jiānchá Shì
Supervises bureau officials, regulates conduct of public servants
Investigates, verifies and resolves, appeal, prosecution and impeachment of officials

See also


  1. ^ http://english.rugao.gov.cn/news/Show.asp?ArticleID=1822[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Summary of Urban Management". Urban Management Bureau of Suzhou Municipality. Archived from the original on 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2008-11-13.
  3. ^ a b "China arrests over beating death". BBC News. 2008-01-09. Retrieved 2010-01-02.
  4. ^ http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/shdaily_sing.asp?id=380290&type=National&page=0[dead link]
  5. ^ "Beat Him, Take Everything Away": Abuses by China's Chengguan Para-Police (Report). Human Rights Watch. May 23, 2012. Archived from the original on 2013-05-18.
  6. ^ 河南遂平城管围攻警察 称警察干预城管执法 [Chengguan agents in Suiping, Henan province attacked police officers, claiming the police interfered with chengguan's law enforcement activity]. Xinhua News (in Chinese). November 4, 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-11-08.
  7. ^ Makinen, Julie (July 19, 2013). "Slaying of watermelon seller triggers fresh anger in China". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ Luo, Chris (2014-04-20). "Chengguan officials seriously injured after assault by large crowd". South China Morning Post. Retrieved April 21, 2014.
  9. ^ "China: "Violent Government Thugs" Beaten To Death By Angry Crowds After They Killed A Man Documenting Their Brutality". The Liberty Crier. April 20, 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-04-23. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  10. ^ "China: "Violent Government Thugs" Beaten To Death By Angry Crowds After They Killed A Man Documenting Their Brutality". Revolution News. 2014-04-19. Archived from the original on 2014-04-23. Retrieved 2014-04-22.
  11. ^ Ramzy, Austin; Yang, Lin (May 21, 2009). "Above the Law? China's Bully Law-Enforcement Officers". TIME. pp. 24–25. Archived from the original on May 25, 2009.
  12. ^ "城管部队就是牛叉啊". Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  13. ^ "Main Functions". Beijing Municipal Bureau of City Administration and Law Enforcement. Archived from the original on 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  14. ^ "Zhongshan Urban Management and Law Enforcement Bureau". The Official Website of Zhongshan, China. 2008-10-15. Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2008-11-17.