Discretionary Power and Law Enforcement in China and Beyond

Scholars engaged in in-depth discussions and shared insigh ul views on law enforcement in China.

A representa ve of Police College introduced the visitors to the Interac ve Scenario-based Training Centre, which is set to simulate a real street setting.

Organised by Global China Studies of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS), the “International Workshops on Discretionary Power and Law Enforcement in China and beyond” were held at City University of Hong Kong on 18 and 21 September. Scholars from Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the United States, mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong joined the workshops and had inspiring discussions on the theme.

The first workshop on 18 September focused on the study of discretionary power. Two scholars, Dr Nabo CHEN (Sun Yat-sen University) and Dr Jianhua XU (University of Macau), presented their latest research on the street-level bureaucracy and Chengguan (Urban Management) in China. They discussed the impact of informal institutions on the relations between the street-level bureaucracy and street vendors in China. Ms Noel TAI, a representative from Hong Kong Police College, introduced the police discretion schemes in Hong Kong. The workshop ended with a presentation and discussion of the conceptualisation of street-level discretion by Dr Peter HUPE (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium).

In the afternoon, participants paid a visit to the School of Foundation Training of Hong Kong Police College located in Aberdeen. During the visit, representatives of the Police College gave a general introduction to their training programme. Then the participants were given a campus tour. The representatives of Police College introduced various facilities including a moot court, a mock report room, the e-command centre and the indoor training centre. The Police College also showed the visitors some latest technologies for police training, including the application of virtual reality in their training programme. Visitors were much impressed by the well-developed and comprehensive training programme offered by the Police College.

The second workshop focused on the topic of law enforcement in China. Scholars discussed issues concerning Chengguan, sentencing disparities, organised crime, and wrongful convictions. Professor Xiaowei ZANG, Dean of CLASS, explained the different law enforcement styles in China. Dr Lena ZHONG of the Department of Applied Social Sciences, together with Professor Roderic BROADHURST (Australian National University), examined more than 400 court cases to study organised crime in China. Drawing on a dataset of 7,304 court judgements in 2014-15 obtained from the official website of the Supreme People's Court, Professor GONG Ting of the Department of Public Policy, Dr WANG Shiru (Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Dr LI Hui (Fudan University) studied the sentencing disparities in corruption cases. Mr DAI Mengliang (CityU) and Dr Lena Zhong presented a study of 117 cases of wrongful conviction in China. Discussants gave very helpful comments on each paper. The presenters and discussants engaged in in-depth discussion and shared insightful views on these issues.