Archive for March 8th, 2012

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sheng Lang: No Secret Detention in China, hence no such Provisions

The latest draft of China’s Criminal Procedure Law introduced Thursday at the National People’s Congress removed a clause that would allow police to secretly “disappear” criminal suspects deemed a threat to national security without notifying their families.

Legislative vice chairman Wang Zhaoguo defended China’s current criminal procedure as “reasonable,” but said the revised law was necessary to further protect the rights of criminal suspects.

Breaking News, VoA, March 8, 2012

According to the current code of criminal procedure, concerning detention of criminal suspects and arrest measures, relatives will be informed within 24 hours, unless there is no way to notify them, or if information could impede the investigations. The criminal procedure amendment draft stipulates strict limitations for not notifying family people. After long and careful deliberations about the pros and cons, the Standing Committee believes that there is a need to reinforce limitations on exceptions where relatives would receive no information.

根据我国现行刑事诉讼法的规定,对犯罪嫌疑人采取拘留、逮捕措施,除了无法通知或者有碍侦查的以外,应该在24小时内通知家属。刑事诉讼法修正案草案对不 通知家属的规定作了严格的限制。在审议过程中,综合考虑惩治犯罪和保障人权的需要,反复权衡研究以后,人大常委会认为有必要进一步限制不通知家属的例外情 形。

[…] When it comes to the forceful measures of detention under urgent circumstances, there are only two kinds of situations, which are suspicion of crimes that harm national security and terrorist activity, or if informing the relatives could impede the investigations. Apart from these two kinds of situations, relatives must be informed within 24 hours. Such provisions fully reflect the importance the standing committee attaches to the protection of the broad masses’ and people’s rights. Of course, I’ve been aware of some sayings today on the internet after the end of the session, saying that there could be secret detention in cases of harming national security, but these kinds of sayings were inaccurate. Because there is no secret detention in our country, the law also doesn’t have such provisions. The exceptional situations I have just mentioned mean that with the exception of terrorist crimes suspicion and harming national security, or if investigations could be impeded, in all other cases, notifications must be made.

[…..] 对拘留这种紧急情况下采取的强制措施,只限于两种情况,就是涉嫌危害国家安全犯罪、恐怖活动犯罪,如果通知家属可能有碍侦查的情况。除了这种例外情况,其他的情况都需要在24小时以内通知家属。这样的规定充分的反映了人大常委会对广大人民群众或者广大人民权利的保障的重视。当然我也注意到,今天在大会结束以后,网上出现了一些说法,说对危害国家安全的可以秘密拘捕,这种说法是不准确的。因为在我们国家没有秘密拘捕,法律也没有这样的规定。我刚才所说的这种例外情况,就是所说的拘留后除了涉嫌恐怖犯罪、危害国家安全的犯罪通知有碍侦查的,其他的都需要通知。

Even if there is suspicion of these two crimes, relatives must be immediately notified if there is no risk of investigations being impeded, or if the situation of such a risk ceases to exist. The amendment which is underway stipulates these regulations. […]


NPC Standing Committee Legal System Work Committee deputy chairman Lang Sheng (郎胜), quoted by People’s Daily Online (人民网), from a press conference on March 8, 2012



Everything has a Bottom Line, AlJazeera, March 8, 2012



» Where is Gao Zhisheng, Under the Jacaranda, February 15, 2012


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Southern Metropolis: Executive Researcher Chen Xiwen Criticizes Rural Land Trading Approach

Trading in Building Land

Trading building land in for a house – or a flat (宅基地换房) – comes across as consolidation of farming, and a step towards the official goal of urbanizing China. In 2009, China Youth described the procedure as follows, using a pilot project near Tianjin as an example:

According to Tianjin development and reform commission’s prescribed terminology, trading in building land happens within a national framework which upholds the contract responsibility system without changes, without reducing arable land, by respecting the principle of voluntariness among the farmers, by farmers trading in their place in the village, in order to obtain a place to live in a small town in accordance with the exchange standards regulations. Then their former [village] homesteads, in a comprehensive, concerted approach, are recovered as arable land.

The project near Tianjin led to disagreements between farmers and the authorities, according to China Youth – they quoted a farmer who had expected to get the same square meter amount in town, as he used to have in his rural place. The standard regulations, however, only seemed to take the actual rooms of his old place into consideration, but not the courtyard’s square meters.

The Bigger Picture

But troubles like the one described above are part of everyday life in rural China, and attention for peasants – who have traditionally been second-class citizens anyway – may dimiish further, as the share of Chinese population who live in the countryside keeps declining.

So far, China’s hukou system basically remains in place. All the same, the central government wants urbanization, and rural migration into small towns (which in themselves would still count as rather rural) is to some extent encouraged. However, this doesn’t apply when it comes to rural migration into the big cities.

Reformers were disappointed when Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, who has made fairness and reducing income disparities a hallmark of his administration, called for relaxing the hukou requirements only in small and medium cities in his work report this month [i. e. March 2011]

Reuters reported last year, during the previous Two Sessions – the “Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference” (CPPCC) and the “National People’s Congress” (NPC).

That said, migration from (rural) villages to (rural) towns can lead to urbanization, too, even if only at a rather slow pace. A rural town has the legal or political potential to become urban by economic and social development, i. e. by a growing degree of industrialization, and with the primary sector’s role decreasing. As described in a paper by Anthony G. O. Yeh (Department of Urban Planning and Design, The University of Hong Kong) and Jiang Xu (Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong), in a draft paper presented at a ‘IIED‐UNFPA Research on Population and Urbanization Issues’ meeting in London, September 9 & 10, 2009, a rural place’s status can change into urban, if it develops in accordance with criteria defined by the State Council*).

When it comes to Trading in Building Land for a Place in Town, differences between farmers and the authorities concerning the terms of a deal aren’t the only problem. Probably with lots of macro-economic issues on his mind, CPPCC delegate and central executive office on rural policy director Chen Xiwen (陈锡文) – on the current CPPCC session – called for deepening land reform, in order to narrow a gap between urban and rural areas which had been created by hastened expropriations (征地冲动). According to Southern Metropolis Online (南方都市报网站), he also

unequivocally opposed the Trading in Land for a Place in Town approach, believing that such measures harmed the farmers’ right of property.

Protection of arable land should not relax, he warned. While urbanization may be cautiously encouraged (see the Reuters quote further above), “food security”, i. e. self-sufficiency when it comes to grain supplies, for example, is on Chen’s mind.

Lekker op de trekker

The countryside, not that young anymore

If older farmers (and the countryside is reportedly aging fast) prefer farming close to their homes, and if they tend to abandon more distant arable land, as a research paper published by Guangming Daily (光明日报) in December last year suggested, moving to towns – even rural ones – does nothing to get them closer to the abandoned land again, and even more extensive use of arable land than up to now would be the consequence.

But obviously, not all factions within China’s bureaucracy are as focused on agriculture as is Chen’s office.



*) see footnote 1) underneath that post.



» Chen Xiwen bio, China Vitae
» More Martyrs, more Permanent Residents, Dec 31, 2009
» China’s Next Revolution, Economist, March 8, 2007


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