China’s Ministry of Public Security has called on members of the country’s police force to do their job properly, according to a notice issued on Sunday.
“Public security police officers are absolutely not allowed to not act courageously when the masses are in danger,” the ministry said.
The notice also says police officers are barred from “stirring up trouble” when drunk and from visiting night clubs. Officers violating the new rules will be first detained and face disciplinary punishment, according to the notice. Superiors would be held responsible for disciplinary violations in their unit, it added.
The ministry is reacting to a series of cases in which police officers did not intervene in brawls which have led to deaths, earning them sharp criticism online.
On Saturday, a villager in Huidong county, Guangdong, was crushed to death by a car driven by fellow villagers in a land dispute as two police officers looked on. Local police said the two could not have intervened because they were new in the job and had not yet received their weapons, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported on Monday.
Last month, a 17-year-old girl in Bengbu, Anhui province, died after being stabbed more than 10 times during a robbery. Surveillance camera footage showed two police men standing only metres away and not getting involved.
While some applauded the new guidelines, most weibo users heaped scorn on them. “That’s just telling the ordinary people that these three things are happening everywhere,” wrote one person. “Why do you need three disciplinary rules for behaviour that is normal for ordinary citizens?” quipped another.