Normally a bill of law undergoes three rounds of reading before it can be put to vote. The Law on legislation does not formulate this rule in absolute terms, thus some exceptions – as this one – are allowed:
Article 27 A bill which has been put on the agenda of the Standing Committee session shall in general be deliberated three times in the current session of the Standing Committee before being voted on.
The Urumqi riots and the upcoming sixtieth anniversary of the PRC provide sufficient ground to speed up the legislative process, give an adequate legal basis to the People’s Armed Police and its powers.
This far the existence and powers of the PAP are based on a generic legal provision in the People’s Police Law:
Article 51. The People’s Armed Police carries out the security protection tasks given to it by the state
The 660.000-strong force will soon receive the powers to:
– handle terrorist attacks, public security incidents, riots, mass unrest, and large scale crimes.
– carry out armed patrols
– question and search criminal suspects
– restrain and hand over to the police or to state security organs those found in the course of committing a crime, wanted fugitives and those who carry forbidden goods.
Opinions over who enjoys the power to mobilise and deploy the PAP seem to be divided. The first draft gave county level governments and public security organs the power to use the PAP in case of need (art. 7). To avoid that the People’s Armed Police be turned into a sort of private army commanded by local governments, the legislative committee and the PAP general headquarters have tried to centralize control over it.
According to the revised draft, the PAP should be deployed in accordance with the law, following a strict approval procedure. Procedural norms on its deployment should be made jointly by the State Council and the Central Military Commission. It is not yet clear how the centralization of power will take place in practice.
- Draft People’s Armed Police Law (first draft)
- Draft People’s Armed Police Law – First reading: summary of discussion
- 中共中央批转公安部党组关于人民武装警察管理体制问题的请示报告的通知 19 June 1982
- Christopher Bodeen, “China strengthens internal security force“