Qilong Yuan (Charles) provides an overview of policing in China.
“To some, China is still a mysterious country,” said Yulu Ye (Crystal). “Over the last 30 years, policing in China has undergone a reform to be more open, tolerant and responsible.”
Since 2009, Sam Houston State University has participated in an exchange program with police cadets from Zhejiang Police College. Each year, a cohort of 16 students spend their junior year at SHSU, and SHSU criminal justice professors travel to China to teach at ZPC. The program is designed to provide basic information about the American criminal justice system and teach English to prepare students for their experience at our American university. During their stay in the United States, Alvin and League City Police Departments provide a five-day internship for police cadets from China.
Qi Ye (Michelle) is one of 16 police cadets from Zhejiang Police College. Zhejiang Police College, located two hours from Shanghai in Hangzhou, is the only higher institute for police education and training in Zhejiang Province, China. It recruits about 2,000 high school students a year.
To promote cooperation and communications, eight cadets dressed in uniform presented “An Introduction to the Chinese Police System” to criminal justice students. The program covered information about Zhejiang Police College, Chinese police organizations, surveillance, an integrated police command system, crime prevention, civil mediation practices and investigating techniques.
In China, there are five levels in the police structure, and the system is centralized and integrated. At the top is the Ministry of Public Security, followed by provincial police, municipal and county police, and neighborhood police stations. Police officers are assigned to public security, traffic, foreign affairs, detectives, anti-drug units and community police.
Chiyun Zhang (Sally) shows samples of the 2.7 million camera used for surveillance in her country.Since the 1980s, China has used an extensive surveillance system to prevent crime, investigate crime, maintain social order and assist in the deployment of police. The practice, which was adopted from a model used in the United Kingdom, was first introduced in airports in Shanghai and Beijing and expanded to major cities, where cameras are found on major roads and arteries and are monitored 24 hours a day. Today, there are 2.7 million cameras throughout the country, said Chiyun Zhang (Sally).
Yuanyi Zhao (Kira), whose mother works in the Dinghai District in Zhousha City, demonstrated how video surveillance is used to identify crime, develop criminal cases and prevent crime. The system is used in her hometown helping police to arrest 100 to 150 suspects annually.
“It really reduces crimes,” said Zhao. “A lot of suspects have been arrested because of surveillance. It also serves as a deterrent.”
Ye (Crystal) explains the integrated police command system in China.Ye discussed a new integrated police command system, which combines dispatch, civilian surveillance and information analysis in one center. The system allows police to collect crime data, videos and crime reports to analyze them to identify crime trends.
“It allows us to look at crime proactively,” said Ye, who saw the system in action as an intern in the LuQiao Police Department. “We can detect crime trends and see what happens when a crime occurs.”
In LuQiao, the system is credited with reducing criminal cases by 5.4 percent, and increasing arrests by 38 percent. Robberies decrease 11.3 percent and burglaries decrease 9.6 percent.
While the crime rate has increased dramatically in China since 1978 – from 50 per 100,000 people in 1978 to 350 per 100,000 people in 2009 -- the Chinese are very effective in solving cases, with a 47 percent clearance rate (in comparison, the U.S. clearance rate is 44 percent), said Rusong Xu (Daniel). The majority of the crimes are theft and robbery and are attributed to a new generation of rural workers, ages 16 to 30, who come to the cities for factory jobs.
“The majority of crime is property crime such as burglary,” said Xu. “The largest crime in property crime is theft.”
Rusong Xu (Daniel) discusses crime prevention efforts in ChinaXu said to combat the trends, police need to solve crimes quickly, increasing the intensity of patrol in problem areas and police work in neighborhoods. China has a Community Policing Policy which provides for cooperation between police and residents. Police need to understand the dynamic conditions in neighborhoods, gather ideas from residents and develop plans for action.
In China, these include using civilian employees, like elderly residents, to investigate crimes and serve residents. It also includes “Great Visits” to get to know people in the community and public opinion-oriented police, where police collect data from residents, making a list of resident priorities, and act on their concerns.
Using a case study involving the armed robbery and kidnapping of a Wen Zhou businessman’s wife, Qi Ye (Michelle) discussed the many investigative techniques used by Chinese Police. The surveillance system is used to investigate crimes and develop leads. Technology allows them to track cell phones and use voice recognition software to help identify suspects. Technicians help with DNA and fingerprint identification, and profiling experts help to identify likely suspects through reward systems. They also can track other cases with similar characteristics.
Through the integrated cooperation between different levels in the police department, they can track and arrest suspects throughout the country.
To reduce civil disputes in the court, Yan Tang (Grace) discussed the country’s a civil mediation program, where residents use a community mediator to settle neighborhood conflicts. In her small hometown of Fengqiao, 1,000 cases a year are sent to civil mediation, with a success rate of 97 percent. China is a non-litigious society, and this process allows disputes to be handled quickly, and residents to save face in the community. Mediators are impartial community leaders who are elected. They investigate and analyze the case before each session. Many of the mediators are retired police officers.