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Outdated practice of public humiliations against rule of law

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-27 07:09

THE PUBLIC SECURITY bureau in Zoucheng in East China's Shandong province made a song and dance about its "achievements" on Thursday by parading some suspected criminals in handcuffs and shackles and prison uniforms in the center of the city and making them identify the things they had stolen. Beijing News comments:

Although the police said the activity made people happier and acted as a warning for other wrongdoers, it was highly improper. It is a humiliating public exposure of criminal suspects, which the judicial and public security authorities have long banned.

However, Zoucheng is not alone in staging such kind of public humiliations. Some places in other provinces, such as in Central China's Henan and Hunan provinces, also use such public parades, since they have not invited any censure from the authorities.

The old-style punishment of public humiliation in fact belies a lack of respect for the rights of the criminal suspects on the part of the public security departments in these places.

Those suspected of committing a crime should be presumed innocent until it is proved they have committed a crime, according to the authorities' latest judicial interpretation of the Criminal Procedure Law.

The Criminal Procedure Law has a special clause on respecting and protecting the rights of suspects. It is against the law for a suspect to be punished before a court finds them guilty, even if found guilty they should be punished in such a way.

None of the higher judicial authorities has yet stood up to stop the practice and held the organizers of such prohibited acts accountable according to the law, which in effect encourages the practice.

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