Crackdown on major crimes
BEIJING has mounted a large-scale campaign to crack down on 'hard-core crimes' in the wake of an unprecedented outbreak of disorder in the cities.
The Office to Severely Crack Down on Criminal Cases, which was recently set up in the Ministry of Public Security, indicated yesterday it had started a new crusade called 'Crack major cases, catch fugitives and smash the gangs'.
The ministry revealed yesterday that in the first half of this year, crimes increased by 5.9 per cent over the same period last year.
However, 'serious and particularly serious' crimes, surged by 20.1 per cent.
These included drug-trafficking, the manufacture and sale of firearms, and mass murders such as the Qiandao Lake incident of late March.
Up to August 10 this year, the police cracked 2,659 criminal cases, of which 37 per cent were 'major cases'.
The communist administration has launched a campaign against serious offences almost every year.
It is the first time, however, that the ministry has set up a special office to co-ordinate the efforts.
In previous campaigns, police, procuratorates and judicial organs were instructed to 'expedite' arrests, incrimination and sentencing.
Perhaps in view of foreign criticism of this practice, the semi-official China News Service last night quoted senior police officers as saying that 'we must seriously observe the law during the crackdown and avoid extracting forced confessions'.
Public security officials yesterday did not disclose the cause of the upsurge in crime.
They pointed out, however, that worsening law and order would affect economic development, including the influx of foreign investment.
Western diplomats said, however, the upsurge in crime had to do with factors including the growth of triad activities, the mushrooming of underground populations that consist of migrant labourers from the countryside, and police corruption.
To ensure safety for the celebrations on National Day on October 1, police in Beijing have since the summer been flushing out the capital's 'illegal' residents, estimated to number more than 300,000.
Meanwhile, all national papers yesterday carried the party's Central Committee's Guidelines on the Implementation of Patriotism.
The unprecedented, large-scale campaign to propagate orthodox ideological values is seen as an effort to preserve social stability.
In a throwback of Mao Zedong's days, the guidelines pointed out that patriotic education should 'permeate education from kindergarten to college'.
'The Chinese flag must be raised and the national anthem sung more often,' the guidelines said, adding that children in the third grade should know 'the characters of the anthem by heart'.
'All local governments must consider patriotic education as an extremely important issue,' they said.
Chinese sources said Politburo members including Wei Jianxing and Ding Guan'gen were in charge of the campaign to fight crime and to promote patriotism.