Football hooligans risk being detained for up to 10 days for disrupting a match under tough new rules introduced this month.
The Public Order Administration Punishment Law, which came into effect on March 1, specifies that anyone who disrupts public order at a sporting event may be detained for up to 10 days, fined 500 yuan and banned from league fixtures for a year.
Hu Haiyuan, a section head in the Beijing Public Security Bureau's administration department, said the law 'applies to everyone in stadiums, including foreigners', and non-Chinese nationals could be deported if they seriously infringed the law.
Two football fans have been prosecuted under the law - one in Chongqing who ran onto the pitch during a match, and another in Shanghai who lit firecrackers among spectators.
They were banned from attending Super League games for a year.
In Beijing, about 1,200 police officers were assigned last Sunday to maintain order for a game between teams from Beijing and Shanghai. Police stationed security equipment at the entrances to the Workers' Stadium and each officer was given a camera to photograph suspected hooligans among the 18,000-strong crowd.
Mr Hu said Sunday's game was orderly with no arrests made. 'Some very serious incidents occurred in the past in Beijing during the games between China and other countries.
'If similar cases occur again, we will take tough action and punish all the troublemakers according to the law,' he said.
Wang Wen, head of the Beijing Sports Fans Association, who has attended almost every league football game in the city for the past decade, said police officers seemed more active than usual on Sunday.
'I did find that the police showed more sense of responsibility this time than before, because they frequently warned people who shouted curses at the players,' Mr Wang said.
'It's unavoidable that this new law will impact on the game's atmosphere, but it is still a good thing to protect the rights of spectators to watch the game in peace.'