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Beijing to standardize conducts of city inspectors
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Beijing will enforce a regulation called Measures of Beijing Municipality for Relatively Centralizing the Administrative Punishment Power in Municipal Administration to curb rough law enforcement behavior demonstrated by urban management officers, the Beijing News reported today.

The Beijing Municipal Office of Legislative Affairs and the Beijing Municipal Urban Management Bureau yesterday held a joint press conference to interpret the Measures.

The Measures will go into effect on January 1, 2008.

Wang Jinshan, Vice Director of the Beijing Municipal Office of Legal Affairs said that although the Measures allot more punishment power to the urban management officers, half of the regulation is meant to standardize their law enforcement behavior.

The Measures clearly stipulates for the first time that if the law enforcement officers have direct interests or have some unpleasant animosity with another party, possibly affecting the fair treatment of a case, the law enforcement officers shall voluntarily withdraw from the case.

"Previously the withdrawal system only applied to the judiciary, it has not yet been extended to the administrative law enforcement area," Wang said.

Article 10 of the Measures rules that if the relevant party asks for a public hearing and also meets the requirements for a public hearing, the urban management authorities shall organize a public hearing according to the law.

In accordance with the Administrative Penalties Law and the public hearing procedures, if a fine of over 1,000 yuan (US$135) is imposed on an individual or a fine of more than 30,000 yuan on an institution, the party in question shall be notified that it has the right to a public hearing, explained Zhang Ni, Deputy Chief of the Law Department of the Beijing Municipal Office of Legislative Affairs.

Zhang further explained that according to Article 22 of the Measures, if the relevant party refuses to accept the ruling on the administrative penalty made by the law enforcement officers, it can apply for reconsideration to the government at the same level or the administrative organs at the next higher level or directly initiate administrative litigation procedures in a court within the jurisdiction.

When confronted with the question: "If street vendors run away when the city inspectors are performing their duties, what shall they do?" Han Li, Assistant Director of the Beijing Municipal Urban Management Bureau said that they do not encourage chasing after fleeing street vendors, "because this act might easily endanger the safety of other people in the streets."

The Measures clearly points out that punishment must be meted out based on facts and the party may make a statement and plead against the penalty.

Wang Jinshan also pointed out that the law enforcement officer could not impose a heavier fine if the party pleads against the penalty.

"Article 9 of the Measures stipulates that the articles confiscated by the law enforcement officers must be registered and carefully taken care of," Wang explained.

"Many people believe that their fines will be held by the city inspectors. But in fact this is not true," Wang noted. All imposed fines must be turned over to the Treasury. In order to avoid any misunderstandings, the Measures reiterate that fines imposed must be turned in through banks excepting small sums that can be collected on the spot.

( by Zhang Ming'ai, December 5, 2007)

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