The Causes of Abusing of Power and Violence Enforcement of City Urban Management Officers

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From Law Enforcer to Violator of Human Right

-----The causes of abusing of power and violence enforcement of City Urban Management officers

City Urban Management Enforcement Bureau is a local government agency in mainland China that is in charge of maintaining the order of daily business activities of markets and streets in cities. This Bureau was established to deal with the increasing problems when China is in the process of rapid urbanization in these years. However, it’s notorious for abusing power and violent enforcement. Reported by Feng(2008), “on January 7, a man was beaten to death by a group of city administrators for filming their violent enforcement of an expired contract in Wanba Village in central China's Tianmen City, Hubei Province”(¶ 1). This kind of conflict occasionally happens everywhere in mainland china in these years for more and more rural people come to cities to find more jobs and opportunities. The City Urban Management Enforcement Bureau which is set up to handle cases with vendors and the environment of cities now becomes a violator of human right. As mentioned in “Killing sparks protests in China”(2008) “This para-police force, equipped with steel helmets and stab-proof vests, is often used by local officials as trouble-shooters”(¶ 13). How can law enforcement professionals become lawbreakers? The investigation combining with the living experience in mainland China shows that the three common causes for this problem are are poor communication, profit driven and lack of regulations. These have led to the bad behavior of those officers.

The first cause of violence enforcement is the poor communication because of low education level. The officers are responsible for cracking done on no-license vendors and tackle with some low-level criminals so that they mainly deal with the low-income group of people who are mainly formed by the rural migrant workers or villagers in a city. Those people usually don’t have a very high education level. According to the 2009 migrant workers monitoring survey report (2009), "over 75% migrant workers only have junior high school education or below"(n.p.). While the communication skills and education level of the officers are also low. From the report of Ramzy (2009), “officers were often drawn from the ranks of laid-off workers from state-owned enterprises and given little training in law enforcement”(¶ 10). So the only way they can complete their mission is to treat the vendors violently to warn them not to break the rules again. Both sides in this conflict have difficulties to understand each other and when either of them is irritable and impulsive, violent confrontations may happen.

The second cause of abusing of power and violence enforcement is the officers can earn profit from punish those poor guys, which drive them beat defenseless people on the street and take all they have without any mercy or sympathy. Li (2006) observed that “those peddlers who are a little slow often suffer, as the law enforcers snatch away their merchandise, tools and handcarts. The peddlers are made to pay fines, which the law enforcers have the right to levy for a series of misdemeanors” (¶ 8). For the people who are too poor to afford the fines, the officer some time ruin the handcarts and tools of the vendors and divide misdemeanors with their colleagues. It is more or less similar to the triad threatening for protection fees on the street. This profit drives the officer in chasing the vendors and use violence to force them to surrender without any respect to human right.

The senior level of the government is also responsible for such violate events because they indulge their staff and do not come up with any strict regulations to restrict their behaviors. Though those two causes mentioned above truly have effect on the behavior of the Urban Management Officers, the third one is...
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