Beijing devolves law enforcement powers to township governments, scholars say it’s like devolving power to trample on human rights and rule of law

Recently, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council jointly issued a document proposing to modernize the grassroots governance system and governance capacity in the next 10 years, and to delegate administrative law enforcement powers to street offices and township governments for administrative law enforcement. Some scholars worry that this will trigger local government-public conflicts.

Beijing is intensifying its control over social behavior. The State Council of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China recently issued the “Opinions on Strengthening the Modernization of Grassroots Governance System and Governance Capacity”, which states that it will strive to establish a grassroots governance mechanism with sound regular management and dynamic interface with emergency management in about five years, and to basically modernize the grassroots governance system and governance capacity in another 10 years.

Opinions” proposed to “enhance the township (street) administrative implementation capacity. Give the township comprehensive management, coordination and emergency response power, strengthen its participation and recommendations on major decisions, major planning, major projects involving the region.” The government has also given the townships (streets) administrative enforcement powers in accordance with the law, integrating existing law enforcement forces and resources, etc.

Shanxi Taiyuan scholar Zhang Kunlun said in an interview with this station on Wednesday (14) that the relevant laws have been introduced since January this year, which shows that the government is strengthening the mode of social management.

“Decentralization means letting people below give full play to their initiative and go for the consolidation of the Communist regime, that is, you can let go of the power. The decentralization now is, to put it bluntly, the decentralization of the power to violate human rights and trample on the rule of law.”

Scholars: Poor law enforcement at the grassroots level will lead to unrest

This directive document, issued in the form of “Opinions”, is divided into six major parts. The authorities have given the street offices powers of administrative enforcement, deliberation and consultation, emergency management, peace building (social control), and organizational mobilization. These include the prevention of political double-faced people, the handling of people involved in black and evil and clan-related problems, and the management and education of “organizers, practitioners and participants of illegal religions and cults.

Yang Haiying, a professor at Shizuoka University in Japan, said in an interview with the station that the Chinese government has decentralized administration to the grassroots level, giving street offices the power to make decisions that were previously reserved for district and county governments, which is also a double-edged sword.

“Administrative enforcement power is assigned to townships (and street offices), but township authorities do not have the ability and talent to enforce the law, because enforcement also requires knowledge of the law. This means that the top wants to push the responsibility to the first line. If done well, he may maintain a period of time, not done well, may cause major unrest.”

The document mentions that strengthen the township (street) local responsibility and corresponding authority, and build a social mobilization response system with the participation of multiple parties. Sound grassroots emergency management organization system, refine the township (street) emergency plan, do a good job of risk analysis, early warning, response and other work. Establish a unified command of the emergency management team. Some netizens mocked this: “After the Chaoyang masses can just kill the land, rich, anti, bad, right”.

The future town government can make punishment decisions for people who petition

Yang Haiying said that in the future, the town government can make punishment decisions for petitions or grassroots people expressing dissatisfaction.

“Interception of petitioners, as well as for the minority people in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, can implement this policy to the front line, control religious awareness and so on, but I think they can not do. Because in the history of China, there has never been a law enforcement authority put below the county level. It was only in the Qing Dynasty that there were magistrates in the county. It was only the county magistrate who had that power.”

Accompanying the Administrative Punishment Law 15 implementation

The administrative regulations that accompany the above measures will also be officially implemented this week. The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress passed the newly revised Administrative Punishment Law in January this year, which will be implemented on July 15. The law adds Article 24, stipulating that: provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government may, in accordance with the actual local situation, decide to transfer the administrative penalty power of the county-level people’s government departments that are urgently needed for grassroots management to the township people’s governments and street offices that can effectively undertake them, and organize regular assessments.

The official introduction is that this provision is conducive to the extension of administrative punishment implementation power to township governments and street offices to improve the effectiveness of law enforcement. However, public opinion is that the government has delegated administrative enforcement powers to the grassroots, which is more likely to cause conflicts between the government and the people, and the consequences of the resulting problems around the future are serious.