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Violent enforcers

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-07-22 07:53
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Senior law enforcement officials in Wuhan may have acted quickly to punish the police officers responsible for severely beating up a middle-aged woman in front of the provincial Party headquarters Tuesday.

Yet, the action does not go far enough. The concerned authorities must take sterner measures to root out thuggish behavior by the police in such matters and come clean on the issue as soon as possible.

In scenes seemingly straight out of a gangster flick, six plainclothesmen surrounded, punched and kicked 58-year-old Chen Yulian while she was checking by phone to enter the compound.

The local public security bureau has soothed public indignation somewhat by announcing that three of the policemen have either been suspended or castigated for violation of discipline. Police chiefs also visited Chen in hospital. Public suspicion is, however, growing that the action may have been accelerated only because Chen is the wife of a high official.

That begs a question - what if an ordinary petitioner had been subjected to the same assault?

As Chen's sister put it so pithily: "If it had been a peasant, or some other ordinary citizen, will they be this attentive?"

The authorities have been quick to point out that the incident occurred due to a complete "misunderstanding" on the part of the policemen. This time the local police chose the wrong target, but it just as well could have been any other common petitioner on any other given day, and one with insufficient clout to get the perpetrators punished.

(China Daily 07/22/2010 page8)