Chinese officials lose posts after violent death of street vendor

July 21, 2013 at 11:14 AM   |   Comments

CHANGSHA, China, July 21 (UPI) -- Two Chinese urban management officials were removed from their jobs after allegedly fatally striking a watermelon vendor with a scale weight, authorities said.

Deng Zhengija, a 56-year-old farmer from Liantang Village, died after a clash Wednesday in Changsha with Hu Lin, the director and Communist Party chief of the urban management administration in Linwu county of Hunan province, and Zou Hongwei, the administration's deputy, China's state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Saturday.

The attack happened after Deng and his wife attempted to sell watermelons at a riverside spot where urban management officers had prohibited such sales, Deng's niece said.

The New York Times reported Hu and Zou allegedly hit Deng with a weight from the farmer's set of scales.

Six urban management officials were detained for questioning, Xinhua said.

The Times said the incident has drawn national attention to China's urban management officials, known as chengguan, who are more powerful than private security guards but lack the authority to carry weapons or make arrests.

The chengguan are known as enforcers of the Chinese government's authoritarian policies, the Times said.

Deng's wife was injured and went to the hospital, Xinhua reported.

The farmer's family has received 897,000 yuan ($146,208) in compensation from the local government, officials said. Deng's body was buried Thursday after an autopsy was performed in the presence of his relatives, Xinhua reported.

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