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Police reminded of limit to duties

Updated: 2011-03-04 08:05

By Yan Jie (China Daily)

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Officers to not take part in land requisitions, building demolitions

BEIJING - Police officers are being told they may not take part in building demolitions and land requisitions because such actions fall outside their duties, the Ministry of Public Security has said.

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The order, cited in a report posted on the ministry's website on Thursday, also warned that officers or other staff will face harsh punishments if they abuse their power in land disputes.

The order came after authorities in Southwest China's Guizhou province and Central China's Hunan province emphasized in January that police forces should have no part in requisitions of rural lands and demolitions of urban buildings.

Land disputes have emerged as rural China's most volatile social problem and have led to growing social unrest, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has said.

Last May, the State Council, China's Cabinet, said in a notice that leading officials should be held responsible for serious consequences that arise from the use of police in forced evictions and demolitions.

"This order will help foster a good and healthy image for the police," said Wang Hong-jun, director of the public order research office at Chinese People's Public Security University.

"In past years, some local police had conflicts with residents over things unrelated to police duties, which had bad consequences for society," Wang said.

"To solve these problems, the first and most important step is to regulate police duties."

He added that the punishments meted out to those who violate the regulations will now likely be stricter than they were in the past.

The ban is one way the ministry hopes to reach its goal of cracking down on police corruption this year.

Police reminded of limit to duties

The ministry said it is also seeking to eradicate abuses that have led to the deaths of suspects being held in custody and the damage of properties that are under police investigation.

It also said police departments throughout China must adhere to a "zero tolerance" policy when responding to police officers' breaches of discipline.

A long-term program should be adopted to further prevent suspects from suffering abnormal deaths or to make the cause of such deaths clear.

In recent years, the deaths of inmates or suspects in custody have brought scathing criticism on police departments, especially since the fatalities were later found to be the results of violence or dereliction of duty by the police.

Local police departments are also being asked to prevent officers from having stakes in nightclubs or bars and from getting personal gain by imposing fines on such places.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Supervision said on its official website that He Yong, deputy secretary of the Party's central discipline inspection commission, asked local authorities to examine their own anti-corruption work.

He said they were to concentrate on preventing misconduct in construction projects, overseas trips paid for by public money, the use of secret off-balance-sheet funds and the use of official vehicles.


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