Opinion / Opinion Line

Lawyers prove a welcome addition to chengguan

(China Daily) Updated: 2016-08-08 07:45

Lawyers prove a welcome addition to chengguan
Zhou Shifeng was sentenced to seven years in prison on Thursday after being found guilty of subverting State power.[Photo/Xinhua]

The government in Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong province has decided to introduce more lawyers to work with its urban management officers. About 80 percent of its urban management divisions are expected to have a lawyer by the end of this year. Beijing News commented on Sunday:

That Shenzhen's urban management authorities plan to assign lawyers to help with law enforcement is a result of the successful promotion of the cooperative mechanism since 2014. The law enforcement by the city's urban patrol officers, or chengguan, has been met with fewer complaints and become more civilized during the past two years, thanks to the legal assistance offered by the lawyers, who explain to residents how they have violated the law and the due punishments they should receive for doing so and the legal consequences if they do not.

Of course, they cannot exercise the right of law enforcement, but the service they provide to Shenzhen's urban management authorities, has played a positive role in local governance. Their participation is strictly confined to legal advice and evidence collection, thus does not overstep the boundaries of their profession.

In fact, the hiring of lawyers to assist with urban management is in line with the ongoing administrative reform, which advocates legal consultants being involved in governance.

The move by Shenzhen's urban management bureau is to be welcomed, and the practice, if successfully implemented in all districts of the city, should be promoted nationwide accordingly.

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