THOSE WHO ARE LEFT OUT Neha Sahay Itâ€™s suddenly become scary living in what used to be one of the safest countries. Disgruntled citizens denied justice â€” and there are thousands of them â€” are turning violent. And itâ€™s the average person on the street whoâ€™s falling victim to their rage. The man who set fire to a crowded bus in picturesque, touristy Xiamen in June, was one of the many left out of the countryâ€™s headlong rush towards urban prosperity. He was 59, unemployed, poor, and ignored by every official body he had approached. His act of vengeance against an uncaring society resulted in the death of 47 passengers, eight of them teenaged students. In comparison, the Beijing airport bomber was a gentleman. Left paralysed after a thuggish attack eight years ago by chengguan (â€œurban securityâ€™â€™ guards), he had wanted to tell his story in the most dramatic way possible. Prevented from distributing leaflets to passengers at the airport, he yelled out that he had a bomb and exploded it on himself. Imagine his agony afterwards â€” he survived, but his hand had to be amputated. The chengguan must be the most hated symbol of authority today. Beefy, menacing and loutish, they live up to the stereotype of the bullying cop. But they arenâ€™t policemen; indeed, policemen have been attacked by chengguan â€” as recently as last week â€” when theyâ€™ve tried to intervene in the violent confrontations with street vendors that have become the norm for the chengguan. They came into existence in 1996, but a law to regulate their conduct was enacted only last year. It has made no difference. A fortnight back, they hit a watermelon seller so hard on the head that he died; his wife, also hit, is in coma. Old, young, man or woman, the chengguan are equally brutal with all, throwing their victims to the ground, kicking, stomping on their faces and stomachs, grabbing their money... all this in full view of passers-by. The latter sometimes try to stop them, resulting in further violence. One executive filming a confrontation on his mobile was killed by the chengguan in 2009. Terrible story Yet, local governments continue to defend them. So do the official media, which argue that chengguan abuse happens only in small towns, not in metros, and that assaults leading to death are individual crimes, not the fault of the system. Both arguments are wrong. This diarist, recently in Shanghai, saw the terror that enveloped street vendors every night, not in some deserted alley, but on the main shopping street, when word went round that the chengguan were coming, and heard the latterâ€™s uncouth abusive tones. And, as a Human Rights Watch report shows, lack of accountability is built into the system. Vendors do not complain of assaults; those who do, are told by courts to produce evidence. One vendor who stabbed a chengguan in a scuffle got a lenient sentence because he had video footage to show who started the assault. But in another case, where the vendor stabbed two chengguan to death, the eye-witnesses who could have testified on his behalf were simply not called. Now on death row, the young vendor has become a hero for the public. So has the Beijing airport bomber, not only because of his terrible story, but also because even while using a bomb, he took care to harm only himself. Thereâ€™s been little on him in the official press. But a journalist from a private financial media group has, in a moving essay, reflected on the many Chinese she has met during her work whose lives have been destroyed by powerful people. Theyâ€™ve asked her to help them get redressal. But out of a reluctance to get involved, and a weary pessimism, she has done nothing. Were any of them to become bombers, wouldnâ€™t she have to shoulder part of the blame, she wonders. Those who are left out *********************************** While China is projected as a glittering Giant surging ahead to conquer the world, yet the state of those who are left out is miserable. Adding insult to injury is the highhandedness of the administration and total negligence of the poor!