Chinese police are no longer allowed to shackle drunks or put children, elderly, pregnant women or breast-feeding mothers involved in non-criminal cases into custody.
The Ministry of Public Security recently published the revised Regulations on the Procedure of Handling Administrative Cases by Police Departments.
Under the Regulations, police can use belts in stead of handcuffs to control drunks who might cause a public disturbance. Drunks should not be shackled when being questioned after they are sober.
People between the ages of 14 and 18 who are charged with violating public security regulations for the first time, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding a baby younger than a year, and elderly people 70 and older can not be detained for minor offences.
Children 14 and 16 should be exempted from administrative punishment, but their guardians will be ordered to better supervise them. Punishment for those between 14 to 18 could be reduced.
According to the revised Regulations, once the suspects are issued a summons, police should timely inform their family of the charges via short messages (SMS), fax or phone calls.
The revised regulations went into force on August 24.
(Xinhua News Agency September 6, 2006)