China / Society

Brakes applied on traffic controls

By Xu Wei and An Baijie (China Daily) Updated: 2012-12-08 01:15

The Ministry of Public Security has ordered the country's police to reduce the frequency of road closures and to minimize the time required for traffic controls for officials' trips.

Coming in response to the central authority's latest call to fight formalities and bureaucracy, including excessive security measures that disrupt traffic, the ministry said in a circular made public on Friday that the moves aim to "avoid inconveniencing the public wherever possible" and guarantee their normal traffic rights.

Police officers are encouraged to step up inspection and research to solve problems of major public concern, according to a statement from the ministry's traffic management bureau.

Police should also try to curb formalities and bureaucracy at various levels, the statement said.

The ministry also asked its traffic management staff to address inconvenient, opaque and nonstandard practices in law enforcement to ensure justice and equality.

The ministry made the arrangement in response to new requirements announced after a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee earlier this week.

The Political Bureau said senior leaders should work and listen to the public and officials at the grassroots, and people's practical problems must be tackled.

The meeting also listed eight key points for senior leaders to follow, including that "there should be fewer traffic controls when leaders travel by cars to avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the public".

The meeting stressed that "senior leaders should follow the rules first before asking others to do so".

Liu Shanying, a political science researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he expects similar measures to be carried out by the authorities to better connect with the public and reduce pomp.

"It could take some time for the local authorities to devise their own policies in coordination with the central leadership," he said.

"The new measure to lessen traffic control is well-targeted because it was never popular with the general public. It will also help ease the sense of privilege of officials," he said.

Jiang Ming'an, a law professor at Peking University, has encountered several traffic jams caused by road closures on his way to work. "It seems as if the road was blocked by a cement wall," he said. "All of the drivers had to wait no matter how hurried they were."

Jiang said there are even more occasions for road closures in many places other than Beijing since supervision of local officials is not as strict.

Dou Keying, a Beijing cab driver, welcomed the new measure.

"Road closures are common on the Second Ring Road, Chang'an Avenue and the capital airport expressway, and one road closure can last for an average half an hour to one hour. That's why I usually prefer other roads," he said.

Contact the writers at

Xinhua contributed to this story.

Hot Topics