SCIO briefing on the work of procuratorial, judicial and public security authorities in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak

The State Council Information Office held a press conference Wednesday morning in Beijing to introduce the efforts being made by the procuratorial, judicial and public security authorities to support the resumption of work and production in accordance with the law during the COVID-19 outbreak. February 27, 2020


I have noted that some undue act occurred during the law enforcement in some areas recently, which sparked controversy. For instance, in Henan province, some law enforcement officials involved in epidemic control and prevention tied people up for their refusal to wear face masks. And in Chongqing, some people were paraded along the streets because they gathered to play mahjong. How should public security staff be prevented from taking excessive and brutal measures in law enforcement? Thank you.

Du Hangwei:

Thank you for your question. The issue you mention does indeed exist. The public security authorities have been focusing on and dedicated to refining the law enforcement methods by following stringent rules, standardized processes, unchallenged justice and appropriate actions. With the all-round effort among our officers, we will continue to improve our competence and credibility while fulfilling our duties. In the face of the sudden outbreak of the epidemic, some regions, especially the hardest-hit areas, adopted austere measures to stop transmission of the virus. While these methods have been effective, they have produced certain negative effects. Resistance has occurred in some communities where people have become anxious, frightened and distressed after being locked indoors. They denied our explanations and refused to cooperate. At the same time, some officials from local public security bureaus and related officials have adopted rude and brutal approaches, which should be stopped and regulated among our police. To prevent such cases from happening, the Ministry of Public Security issued a circular in a timely manner, requiring the police members to enforce the law in a standard and civil manner. Zhao Kezhi, the state councilor and minister of public security, has paid great attention to the issues and issued instructions on multiple occasions to redress the bold and barbarian practices, in order to prevent them from happening again.

Next, the Ministry of Public Security will guide local public security organs to keep in mind that we should put people first and enforce the law softly. According to the document, we should merge law enforcement methods, pay attention to humane care and resolve conflict. In the epidemic's prevention and resumption of production work, we should maintain a balance. On one hand, we must handle affairs strictly according to the law. On the other hand, concerning the current situation, especially for dilemmas faced by enterprises, we must endeavor to meet employees' demands for resuming work, and have clear boundaries when we handle cases and enforce the law. This is to prevent over-extending the range of law enforcement and its over-simplification. We also should properly apply closing down, detaining, or freezing measures to prevent illegal activity and violent acts which may affect the resumption of work and businesses' daily operations.

However, for criminal acts which severely harm the epidemic prevention work and resumption of production, public security organs should insist on strictly cracking down on them according to the law. For cases that have minor effects and belong to a gray area, we should mainly carry out educational measures in order to maintain a well-organized environment to resume work and production. While conducting public security patrols and responding to police reports, we should ease the sense of panic amongst the public, and use civil language to peacefully enforce the law. Thank you.

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