China moves against ‘soft violence’

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/9 22:13:40

Nationwide anti-gang campaign enters critical phase

The Tuesday press conference Photo: Xinhua

Stalking, throwing feces on others or restricting the personal freedom of others have been categorized as "soft violence," a new category of criminal behavior according to an announcement from China's law enforcement authorities on Tuesday, as the nation's campaign against organized crimes enters its critical phase. 

The move comes as many mafia-style gangs in China have deliberately turned to "soft violence" instead of downright violent criminal behavior amid the nationwide campaign against organized crime, Chinese officials said Tuesday at a press conference attended by officials from the Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and the Ministry of Justice.

"Soft violence" has long troubled law enforcement personnel at the basic level as no regulation clarifies what this behavior is or tells them how to deal with it, Du Hangwei, vice minister of the MPS told the press, noting that "public security bureaus should implement the new regulations carefully."

Revealing personal information, damaging property, home invasions, setting off firecrackers, playing funeral music or placing wreaths to threaten others, are considered "soft violence," the announcement states.  

Groups of people that try to threaten others by organized behaviors, including wearing the same clothing or showing off tattoos or special slogans will be treated as mafia-style gangs.   

The clarification of "soft violence" indicates that the campaign will be more specific and the suggestions on Tuesday offer legal and policy support to further deepen the campaign, Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said, noting that the specific legal standards will be enacted soon in accordance with laws.

Officials at the Tuesday press conference also gave three other instructions relating to the crackdown on gangs, including how to define the criminal liability of gangs and illegal loan sharks and how to deal with the property involved organized crimes.

The campaign against organized crime started in January 2018 and is expected to last three years. It has entered a critical year in 2019, the Xinhua News Agency reported. 

The Global Times found that local governments across China have placed banners against mafia-style gangs on main streets and crossroads. Publicity about the campaigns is being spread online.  

Zhi warned that even though the campaign has made some progress, uprooting the "protective umbrellas" of organized crime will continue to be the fundamental mission of the campaign. Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the Communist Party of China Chongqing Municipal Committee, said the campaign relates to various fields of society, including companies, village gangs and even college campuses. 

This year will see more "protective umbrellas" uprooted. The three-year campaign is consistent with building a moderately prosperous society but the campaign will not stop in 2020, Su told the Global Times on Tuesday.


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