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China’s notorious urban enforcement officials ‘moved to tears’ after show of support from street vendors

Photographs of streets vendors wearing T-shirts and holding posters with slogans supporting China’s notorious urban enforcement officials have attracted huge attention online, according to media reports.

The officials, known as chengguan, enforce minor by-laws such as regulations governing street trading and have a reputation for violence and heavy-handed treatment of suspected offenders.

The pictures show street vendors in Fengjie county in Chongqing with slogans on their T-shirts including “My chengguan brothers, you’ve been working hard” and “chengguan officials are my brothers”.

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Some enforcement officials were moved to tears at the sight of the slogans, according to the Chongqing Morning Post.

The man who organised the show of support, whose full name was not given, told reporters that he wanted to apologise to a friend who had worked as a chengguan in the county for 19 years but was often mocked and shunned.

His friend told him he felt wronged and was sometimes attacked by hawkers when going to buy food at a wet market.

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The man and his other friends spent 1,000 yuan (HK$$1,100) making the posters and T-shirts and asked vendors to wear them.

About 40,000 people have left comments on the story on the news website 163.com.

Some said Chongqing’s chengguan were more flexible and kind than their counterparts in other cities.

Others doubted whether the vendors wearing the T-shirts were sincere in their comments.