Province natives filed a lawsuit against the Shenzhen Public Security
Bureau on April 15 because one of its police stations posted a
banner suggesting that many people from Henan are involved in
The banner offered a reward to anyone who could help police
break up a "Henan racketeering gang," even though the police had no
particular evidence against people from the province.
This is the first discrimination case of its kind in the
country, according to Gao Xiaoming, a judge with the People's Court
at Zhengzhou High and New Technology Development Zone in Henan.
Ren Chengyu and Li Dongzhao, two legal professionals, allege in
their lawsuit that Shenzhen's Longgang District Police Substation
violated the constitutional principle of equity by posting the
banner. They are seeking an apology broadcast on the national
The complaint states that Longgang District police violated the
rights, damaged the reputations and affected the mental health of
the plaintiffs by hanging a banner attacking Henanese people last
They claim that on March 30, a large red banner was hung in a
street saying, "Resolutely strike at the Henan racketeering gang."
It offered a 500-yuan (US$60) reward for anyone who informed on, or
helped bring a case against, the gang.
The act immediately drew an outcry for its apparent
discrimination against Henan people.
Police in Longgang explained that the purpose of the banner was
to remind local residents to take care of their property and to
deter criminals. They say their accusations against Henan-born
criminals were largely based on the fact that there is a large
proportion of Henan people living in that area.
The police admitted that they have no evidence to show that
criminals are mostly from a Henanese gang, according to reports in
the Southern Metropolis News.
Police removed the banner one day after putting it up because of
the complaints they received. They also apologized to Henanese
residents of their jurisdiction.
But one 50-year-old resident said that as a Henan native living
legally in Shenzhen, he felt extremely angry and insulted after
learning the banner had been put up.
"This is not an isolated case," he said. "For many years I have
experienced humiliation during my trips outside Henan. I think
Henan people deserve equal fairness and justice with citizens in
Du Yanzhi, a lawyer with the Shenzhen Jingtian Law Firm, said
the method of attacking criminals based on where they come from
constitutes regional discrimination.
Li Minghui, a 25-year-old Henanese worker in Longgang District,
said the banner has left an even worse impression of Henan natives
working in Shenzhen, particularly when many local companies are
already prejudiced against people from the province.
"Regional discrimination against Henan people has been
widespread in China in recent years, stereotyping Henan people with
an extremely negative image," said Zhou Xiaozheng, a professor at
Renmin University in Beijing.
He attributed the phenomenon to negative media coverage of
situations such as the high incidence of HIV/AIDS resulting from
illegal blood collection schemes in the 1990s, and some sensational
crimes that occurred in the province.
(China Daily April 19, 2005)