The Ministry of Public Security (Abbreviation: MPS; Simplified Chinese: 公安部; pinyin: gōng ān bù), headed by the Minister of Public Security, is the principal police authority on the mainland of the People's Republic of China and the agency that is responsible for most of the day-to-day law enforcement in mainland China.
The MPS is the main domestic security agency in the People's Republic of China, thus making it the equivalent to the National Police Agency in Japan or national police in other countries. It controls and administers the People's Armed Police. In general, the MPS does not undertake paramilitary functions, which are within the province of the People's Armed Police, nor does it generally conduct domestic intelligence which is the responsibility of the Ministry of State Security. Hong Kong and Macau have their own security bureaus/agencies and police forces. As of 2007, the Minister of Public Security is Meng Jianzhu.
Local municipal police under the MPS used to be usually unarmed in contrast to the agents of the PAP; however since 2006 decision has been taken to issue sidearms to all frontline MPS personnel; the chosen firearm is a 9mm double-action revolver manufactured by the China North Industries Corporation.
There have been many public complaints that the Public Security Bureaus (Abbreviation: PSB; Simplified Chinese: 公安局; pinyin: gōng ān jú), the local extensions of the national MPS, are undermanned and unable to deal with what the public perceives to be the problem of rising crime. Other issues that the PSB has had to deal with in recent years have included insufficient salary, poor training, low morale among the officers, and complaints about abuses of power.
The MPS is organized into functional departments assigned to cover areas such as intelligence, police operations, prisons, and political, economic, and communications security. Subordinate to the MPS are the provincial-level public security departments; PS Bureaus and subbureaus at the county level (the bureaus are located in the prefectures and large cities, the subbureaus in counties and municipal districts); and public security stations at the township level. While public security considerations weighed heavily at all levels of administration, the police appeared to wield progressively greater influence at the lower levels of government.
The organization of local public security stations could be inferred from the tasks with which the police were charged. Generally, each station had sections assigned to cover population control, pretrial investigations, welfare, traffic control, and other activities. Each also had a detention center.
The public security station generally had considerably broader responsibilities than a police station in the West, involving itself in every aspect of the district people's lives. In a rural area a station typically has a chief, a deputy chief, a small administrative staff, and a small police force. In an urban area it usually has a greater number of administrative staff members and seven to eighteen patrolmen. Its criminal law activities included investigation, apprehension, interrogation, and temporary detention. The station's household section maintained a registry of all persons living in the area. Births, deaths, marriages, and divorces were recorded and confirmed through random household checks. The station regulated all hotels and required visitors who remained beyond a certain number of days to register. All theaters, cinemas, radio equipment, and printing presses also were registered with the local public security station, permitting it to regulate gatherings and censor information effectively. It also regulated the possession, transportation, and use of all explosives, guns, ammunition, and poisons.
Another important police function was controlling change of residence. Without such controls, large numbers of rural residents undoubtedly would move to the overcrowded cities in search of better living standards, work, or education. In April 1984 the State Council issued the Tentative Regulations Governing People's Republic of China Resident Identity, this became the identification card of the People's Republic of China. The regulations, was implemented over a period of years, required all residents over sixteen years of age, except active-duty members of the People's Liberation Army and the People's Armed Police and inmates serving prison sentences, to be issued resident identity cards by the MPS. The identification card indicates the name, sex, nationality, ethnicity, date of birth, and address of the bearer. Cards for persons sixteen to twenty-five years of age were valid for ten years; those for persons between twenty-five and forty-five were valid for twenty years; and persons over forty-five were issued permanent cards. As of early 1987, only 70 million people had been issued identity cards, well below the national goal. Also, even those with resident identity cards preferred to use other forms of identification.
The criminal laws in force after January 1, 1980, restricted police powers regarding arrests, investigations, and searches. A public security official or a citizen could apprehend a suspect under emergency conditions, but a court or procuratorate was required to approve the arrest. The accused had to be questioned within twenty-four hours and his or her family or work unit notified of the detention "except in circumstances where notification would hinder the investigation or there was no way to notify them." Any premeditated arrest required a warrant from a court or procuratorate. The time that an accused could be held pending investigation was limited to three to seven days, and incarceration without due process was made illegal.
Two officials were needed to conduct a criminal investigation. They were required to show identification and, apparently, to inform the accused of the crime allegedly committed before he or she was questioned. The suspect could refuse to answer only those questions irrelevant to the case. Torture was rendered illegal.
The 1980 laws also provided that in conjunction with an arrest the police could conduct an emergency search; otherwise, a warrant was required. They had the right to search the person, property, and residence of an accused and the person of any injured party. They could intercept mail belonging to the accused and order an autopsy whenever cause of death was unclear.
In July 1980 the government approved new regulations governing police use of weapons and force. Police personnel could use their batons only in self-defense or when necessary to subdue or prevent the escape of violent criminals or rioters. Lethal weapons, such as pistols, could be used if necessary to stop violent riots, to lessen the overall loss of life, or to subdue surrounded but still resisting criminals. The regulations even governed use of sirens, police lights, and whistles.
|Norinco||9mm Revolver||Began in 2006, issued to frontline officers.|