This image was posted on Chinese website Youku.com and shows Chinese police marching through Anshun, in southwest China's Guizhou province on July 26. Hundreds of people rioted in southwest China after security forces reportedly beat a disabled street vendor to death, according to government authorities and state media.The crowd gathered in Guizhou province's Anshun city Tuesday afternoon after the hawker died, the local government said, in an incident that bore a close similarity with riots last month in China's southern industrial heartland.A police spokesman said the one-legged man had argued with the "chengguan", the official Xinhua news agency said Wednesday, referring to a municipal security force charged with regulating street hawking and similar activities.
Comments posted by netizens said the "chengguan" -- two men and one woman -- beat the disabled vendor to death. The Xinhua report said an investigation was under way to find out how he died.
Hong Kong-based Cable TV broadcast images of the unrest, showing overturned cars, people throwing stones at shield-wielding police, and injured, bleeding protesters.
It said police used water cannons to disperse the crowd, and that shooting sounds were heard, believed to be the firing of tear gas.
The "chengguan" are widely disliked in China, where they have a reputation for using brute force against civilians -- in particular illegal street vendors.
Rumours that "chengguan" had beaten a street hawker to death and manhandled his pregnant wife in the southern province of Guangdong sparked violent rioting last month.
Television images at the time showed hundreds of police officers and armoured vehicles deployed on the streets, with people hurling bricks at local officials, vandalising ATMs and police posts.
These incidents are the latest in a recent bout of unrest in China sparked by perceived social injustices.
Earlier in June, hundreds of people battled police and destroyed cars in Guangdong after a factory worker was wounded in a knife attack over a wage row.
And in late May, thousands of ethnic Mongols protested in northern China for several days after the killing of a herder laid bare simmering tensions in the region.