Critics decry plan for police to help demolish illegal buildings

Updated: 2011-07-21 08:33

By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)

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GUANGZHOU - This city's legislative affairs office has come under fire after it published a draft regulation requiring local police officers to help urban-management officers, or chengguan, demolish illegal buildings.

According to a draft of an illegal-buildings regulation, police officers are required to help chengguan enter and demolish illegal buildings. The police are also asked to protect the chengguan against any violence they might provoke through the performance of their duties.

Critics decry plan for police to help demolish illegal buildings

The office posted the draft regulation, which was formulated by the city's chengguan authority, on its website on July 13 after it had solicited public opinions on the matter from July 13 to August 12.

Once made public, the regulation began drawing criticism from local residents and netizens, who said that requiring the police to assist the chengguan would run contrary to the country's laws and regulations.

An official from the legislative affairs office, who asked to be granted anonymity, said chengguan officers do need the police to protect them from violence while they are investigating or demolishing illegal buildings.

Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, has been the site of several violent acts directed against chengguan in recent months. The legislative affairs official declined to give details about the cases.

A senior police officer from the Guangzhou public security bureau, who requested anonymity, said the draft regulation runs counter to a Ministry of Public Security notice that forbids police officers from taking part in the demolition of illegal buildings.

"This (helping chengguan deal with illegal buildings) isn't the police's business," the officer told China Daily on Wednesday. "The owners of illegal buildings are not criminals.

"Having the police take part will only make the clashes between residents and the chengguan worse."

Li Wangwen, a local lawyer, said the police should not be asked to help ease the tensions that arise between residents and city authorities during disputes over the legality of buildings.

"Police officers should be sent to the scene only when there is violence that, in breach of laws or regulations, will or already has disrupted social security," Li said.

The Guangzhou legislative affairs office has solicited opinions on the draft amendment from the public security authority and will ensure that any changes made to the regulation are in accordance with actual conditions, an unidentified official with the office told New Express Daily on Tuesday. He suggested that the final version of the regulation will not require the police to help chengguan demolish illegal buildings.