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Police Power Must Be Monitored
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Public Security Minister Zhou Yongkang yesterday called for the creation of a system to regulate and monitor the exercise of power in a bid to prevent graft within the police force.

The call was in response to the bitter lessons learned from the case of former Shanghai Party chief Chen Liangyu.

"Chen's case once again proved that unrestricted power results in corruption," Zhou said in a statement published on the ministry's website.

He said it was particularly important to supervise the power of the police, since their work is closely related to the freedom and safety of the general public.

"There should be proper supervision whenever power is exercised," he said.

The establishment of a sound supervision system with more rules and regulations governing the exercise of power, personnel and property could be a priority, the minister said.

Releasing information about police work, especially on issues involving matters of public interest, is also considered important.

"More transparency would guarantee the public's right to know and facilitate supervision," Zhou said.

In the statement, the minister voiced support for the decision by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to expel Chen from the Party and all government posts, saying that it reflected the CPC's resolution to fight corruption.

He said all police officers must have a deep understanding of the protracted, complex and hard nature of the anti-graft battle.

Criticisms of the police occasionally appear in media reports and have caused public concern. Corruption, forced confessions and lack of transparency are the most criticized behavior.

For example, in the recent case of slave labor in central and northern China, local police came under fire for dereliction of duty and collaborating with kiln owners.

In another development, the ministry also announced yesterday that since 1998, 413 suspects had been repatriated or brought back from more than 20 countries and regions.

(China Daily August 1, 2007)

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