The Glare of Domination


Chinese media reported in October 2012 on a new tactic used by urban management officers, or chengguan, in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. According to the new policy, chengguan now surround and stare down small-time peddlers or others (usually migrants) carrying out trade without proper permits — the idea being that this is a more humane method than the violence for which chengguan have become widely known. The news from Wuhan drew many responses on Chinese social media, with some arguing that this new tactic was a mark of progress and others saying that the stares of the chengguan were just another form of violence sanctioned by power. In the above cartoon, posted to online news portals and social media, four chengguan loom as two frightened looking peddlers hurry off with the vegetables they have presumably been selling on the street..

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