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Beaten vendor in intensive care
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Peng Lin, an Anhui Province native who came to Shanghai three months ago, is in the intensive care unit of Shanghai's Huashan Hospital after allegedly being severely beaten by the city's urban management staff this month.

Many residents saw the 28-year-old beaten and dragged onto a minibus on July 11 after a dispute between him and urban management staff, chengguan in Chinese, whose primary job is to clear the streets of illegal vendors.

Peng was allegedly beaten harder on the bus for about six or seven minutes while being taken to a police station for questioning, said Peng's brother-in-law, Chen Chuanyi.

"When he was still able to talk in the station, he told me people on the bus beat and kicked him on his way to the police station," said Chen.

Peng and his wife Chen Chuanying were selling watermelons on a pedestrian street in Jiwang Town, Minhang District, about 5pm on July 11.

"Then came three buses carrying 20 to 30 people," Chen Chuanying said. Without making their identities clear, these people carried the watermelons onto their vehicles, witnesses said.

The couple then tried to grab back the 20 watermelons.

The dispute escalated when Peng's fruit knife fell to the ground. Peng and his wife were pressed against the wall, according to a witness surnamed Lin.

Peng was constrained after more than 10 minutes and taken to the bus.

"They dragged him (10 meters) from the crossroad to the bus there, with several people holding his head and several others holding his heels," said a resident surnamed Mao.

Peng bit a leg of an urban management officer while struggling, said a woman who asked not to be named.

Peng was unable to talk shortly after arriving at Jiwang police station and was rushed to Changning District Central Hospital by his relatives about 9pm.

Peng was transferred to Huashan Hospital two days later in a critical condition.

Peng, now stable, suffered bruising to the brain and a spinal injury, said the doctor in charge. His right arm and leg are paralysed, while his left side has lost 50 percent of its strength.

"As it's nervous system damage, how he will recover is hard to tell," said the doctor, who asked not to be named.

Jiwang Town residents said conflict between chengguan and street vendors are frequent, and chengguan sometimes beat vendors.

"Basically there are two or three such beating each week," said resident Mao. "Whoever tries to dissuade them will also be beaten."

(Shanghai Daily July 24, 2009)

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