China will start a national campaign to combat criminal gangs and organized crime and to wipe out their “protection umbrellas”, an effort that will be integrated with the fight against corruption involving low-ranking officials, a notice from the nation’s top leaders said on Jan 24.
To implement the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress and written instruction from General Secretary Xi Jinping, the campaign is designed to ensure people’s contented life, social stability and long-term peace, said the notice, which was jointly released by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, China’s Cabinet.
Clues pointing to “protection umbrellas” should be examined with priority, and anyone involved will be investigated and punished no matter who they are, the notice said.
Crackdowns on “protection umbrellas” and gang-related crimes should be investigated at the same time, especially as they relate to poverty alleviation, it said.
The campaign should be promoted in a systematic and legal way, and the crackdown on gang-related crimes should be coordinated with anti-corruption efforts to “hit flies”, the notice said. A fly is a term to signify a low-ranking official found violating Party discipline or clean governance rules.
The campaign should integrate with inspections at the grassroots level, which can effectively crack down on gang-related crimes and deter gang organizers, it said. What’s more important, a long-term process should be forged to continue enhancing the people’s sense of gains, happiness and safety, it said.
The campaign will focus on gang-related and organized crimes in key areas, professions and fields that have gained a dislike from the public, the notice said. Legal and public security authorities also should coordinate better, it said.
Gang organizers, key members and “protection umbrellas” should be punished severely in accordance with the law.
“Connection networks” and “protection umbrellas” must be eliminated, while more efforts should be made to strengthen buildups in grassroots political structures and legal systems, State Councilor Guo Shengkun, head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, said in a teleconference on Jan 23.
He Bing, a law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said the integration of the crackdown on gang-related and organized crimes with anti-corruption efforts is necessary.
Corruption must be removed from grassroots governments, otherwise the crackdown will not achieve its goal, He said. “Political power must be used and then gangs will be truly eradiated,” He said.