A new claim that China is one of the safest countries in the world, based on the number of homicides, has brought the Ministry of Public Security under criticism and ridicule by Chinese who are calling the findings into question. The People's Daily yesterday cited new figures from the ministry as indicating that the number of cases related to murders, assault or robbery have been declining in recent years, and that the annual murder rate was eight people per million, while the closure rate of all murder investigations had reached 94.5 per cent. The report added that the rate was lower than in countries considered to have the best social order, including Japan and Switzerland, though specific figures were not given for comparison. Tens of thousands of microbloggers from across the country were quick yesterday to rebuke the findings, with many people calling them unbelievable. "Is this meant to be a euphemism for China having the best rule of law in the world?" said one microblog user posting under the name Xiaofang. "Why don't you [the ministry] simply say that China is a paradise," another internet user said on a Sina microblog. Some comments ventured into the sarcastic. "Oh my gosh! How have I failed to realise that social order [on the mainland] has been so perfect that there's not even room for improvement," another microblogger said. Others questioned the basis of the findings, stipulating that Chinese police officers rarely take a case until a suspect is already identified, and some people accused authorities of often presuming that murder victims have committed suicide. "I wonder how any murder investigations can be opened when cases such as the one involving Qian Yunhui are considered traffic accidents," wrote a microblogger named Qilulaohu. Qian, a low-ranking official in Wenzhou , Zhejiang province, was known for repeatedly petitioning authorities in opposition to the illegal requisition of farmland. He died under mysterious circumstances in 2010.