Former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson joined Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblog service, yesterday, and is already making waves among Chinese netizens.
“Who is Chengguan? A tough man? I’ve never heard it.” Tyson replied.
For those who have been reading this blog or following China news in general, the term chengguan should sound very familiar. They are a special urban security force outside of the police system who are responsible for non-criminal concerns such as noise, street control, parking, sanitation, etc.
Chinese netizens call them China’s own unique “weapon of mass destruction”. Whenever they are in the news, it’s more often than not about them bullying street vendors. This year alone, we’ve seen chengguan officers in Guanzhou beating a mom in front of her 2-year-old kid, a chengguan officer in Yan’an jumping and stomping on the head of a cyclist for no reason, and another chengguan officer in Hunan province beating an elderly watermelon vendor to death by knocking his head with a steelyard weight.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that chengguan officers are the most-hated group in China. The Chinese people hate corrupt officials no less, but that hatred is less concrete than the hatred of chengguan officers, whose cruelty and power abuse are an everyday encounter.
Tyson’s Weibo post, intentionally or not, gave Chinese netizens the perfect opportunity to ridicule the chengguan group. StevenCNN, CNN journalist in China, joked: “You should be afraid… very very afraid…” And he is not along. Among the several thousands of netizens who have left comments to Tyson’s post, most thought that the champion boxer was too young and naive to challenge the invincible chengguan.
Alan小邹: “You dare to come to china while you don’t know chengguan? You are so brave but will die someday suddenly when you walk in the street.”
J吸血小强: “You are so weak when you meet chengguan. Believe me !!!”
折果: “You will be killed by chengguan within a second.”
郁澄1: “The unban management staff are always invincible! Nobody can beat them. You should be careful!”
严浩RB: “Holyfield is a chick compared to chengguan.”
Vincent-新: “Chengguan is the best fighter in China…No one can beat them…Trust us…!”
Jason_XuMY: “Chengguan is just like superman.”
ELIASCHEN: “Chengguan is invincible. You will never beat them.”
天津秦磊: “Mike, do not fight with chengguan, or he will kill you!”