Balancing Beijing’s Public Security Measures


Beijing’s Public Security is the city’s law enforcement and security apparatus, responsible for maintaining law and order, ensuring public safety, and enforcing various laws and regulations in Beijing, the capital city of China.

An academic with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Xu Jin, has urged Beijing to be cautious about going too far on security and be more flexible in its approach. He suggested that Beijing should consider the needs of different stakeholders, especially vulnerable groups, while pursuing security goals.

Xu did not criticize any specific Chinese policy but suggested lessons could be learned from other countries, such as the US-Mexico border wall and France’s anti-terrorism law, which he said resulted in an “over-expansion” of executive power. He also cited examples of the US-Mexico border wall and France’s anti-terrorism law.

Policymakers face a dilemma in balancing public security, as excessive measures can lead to wasted resources, public panic, and inappropriate policies. The dilemma is mainly reflected in the inappropriate use of security measures and the inability to consider the security interests of citizens, society, and the government simultaneously.

This was discussed at a panel on international security held at a two-day forum organized by the China Association for Friendship, attended by over 100 officials and academics from 20 countries and international organizations. Wang Xiaohong, China’s police chief, was among the speakers.

China’s top state security body has defied decades-old practices of operating mostly in the shadows to call on the public to join the fight against spying. President Xi Jinping has highlighted China’s complex security concerns amid rising geopolitical tensions. However, efforts to normalise security measures have been delayed, leading to a “normalisation of insecurity.”

The government often resists relinquishing power and resources, potentially utilizing surveillance and big data to control social stability, potentially causing harm to vulnerable groups and violating citizens’ rights.

The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) is the primary law enforcement agency in Beijing, overseeing various divisions and departments such as criminal investigation, traffic police, and public order. The PSB plays a crucial role in crime prevention, investigation, and maintaining social stability.

Traffic police regulate traffic flow, enforce traffic laws, and ensure road safety. Community policing is an important aspect of Beijing’s public security strategy, involving police officers engaging with the local community to build trust and address local concerns.

Beijing is known for its extensive network of surveillance cameras and advanced monitoring systems, including facial recognition technology and AI-powered systems. The public security apparatus also deals with cybersecurity issues, monitoring online activities and taking action against cybercrime and hacking. Beijing’s border control includes immigration and customs enforcement.

The public security apparatus ensures the security of major events, such as the Olympics and political meetings. Public security in Beijing operates under a centralized and highly regulated system, closely aligned with the policies and priorities of the Chinese Communist Party.

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