China’s Minister for Public Security Zhou Yongkang has asked the police not to take any action that “offended public morality, caused public outrage or violated human rights” saying this had a direct impact on the authority of the Communist Party and the Government.
Minister Zhou issued the order during “a national teleconference on strengthening the management of community-based police units, which he described as the cornerstone of public security work” on July 31, 2003, Xinhua reported on August 1, 2003.
“The work of community-based police officers was directly related to the public interest and had a direct impact on the authority of the CPC and the government,” Zhou is quoted by Xinhua as saying.
Zhou, who is also member of both the Politburo and the Secretariat of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, was the former Party Secretary of Sichuan Province. During his tenure in Sichuan, Zhou is reported to have been the behind the clampdown on the activities of Tibetans in Karze area, including that of Buddhist teachers Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok and Tenzin Delek Rinpoche.
Amnesty International has in the past expressed concern at the reported violation of Tibetan human rights at the hand of Chinese Police. In 1999, Amnesty reported (ASA 17/053/99) that two Tibetans accused of participating in a pro-Tibet demonstration were “taken to a police station at the far western corner of the Barkhor. Reports say that the police beat the monks with batons and fists while detaining them. They were then taken to Gutsa detention centre and, since their trial, are reported to be detained in Drapchi prison.”
In March 2003, Amnesty reported (ASA 17/017/2003) the case of two Tibetan businessmen detained in February of that year. The report said, “They are being held incommunicado at an unknown location and are at risk of torture or ill-treatment. It is not known whether any charges have been brought against them.”
Minister Zhou has now ordered China’s police “to end the practice of arrest quotas, in a move to safeguard the rights of the public,” Xinhua reported.
While serving as Sichuan Party Secretary, Minister Zhou had criticized the Tibetan people’s demand for the teaching of Tibetan language in the schools. Addressing a meeting of grassroots representatives during the National People’s Congress session in Beijing on March 13, 2000, Zhou is reported to have said, “It is such a heavy burden to promote minority education. You have to teach Han language and Tibetan language. There are also Yi minority people in the province, too,” he said. “The whole world is learning English. Why bother so much.”