Residents of southwest China’s Chongqing city are outraged over the recent police violence against an 80-year-old street vender, and the media cover up that followed.
On June 12, 2009, a street vender in his eighties was beaten by a security guard of the Chongqing Department Store, in front of the Liberation Monument, in Chongqing city.
Passersby gathered in protest for the store to punish the security guard. Five hours later, a group of police officers forcibly removed the old man.
According to one witness, the old man had no children and relied on street vending to earn his living. Many passersby who witnessed the violence were outraged, some of them called the local news papers and the local police. However, no one came.
Five hours later, a group of police officers showed up and forced their way into the crowd. Without explaining their action, they dragged the old man away. According to witnesses, “the police acted like ruffians. As they were taking the man away, a few young men tried to stop them, but were beaten by the police.”
This further agitated the crowd. Nearly a thousand people followed and gathered at the local police station.
Later that night, the local council held a press conference and denied any violence. They accused the old man of damaging the city’s image, and violating road regulations by blocking traffic.
Many bloggers from Chongqing claimed they knew the old man had been a street vender in that area for many years, “I often went to the Chongqing Department Store to buy cakes, and I saw him every time. He is so old and just stands at a corner. He doesn’t even shout to sell his products. How could he damage the city’s image?” said one of the bloggers.
A resident in Chongqing described the man as being miserable during winter time, “It was so cold and he only wore thin clothes. His rubber shoes were covered in mud. He held a 3-ft long bamboo pole. He staggered in the cold wind.”