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Officials in villages, townships scrutinized

Thousands punished amid nationwide campaign to combat organized crime

Discipline inspection and supervision organs nationwide investigated 3,179 officials at the township level and cadres at the village level for their involvement in protecting people involved in organized crime from January to November last year, the country's top anti-graft watchdogs said.

Among them, 187 people had been transferred to judicial organs for further investigation, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission said on Thursday.

The authority urged local discipline inspection and supervision organs to establish and improve a regular mechanism for fighting criminal networks and the corrupt officials who shelter them.

The results have sent a strong signal to the whole of society that the crackdown on organized crime is constant.

Chen Yixin, head of the national office against organized crime

The commissions have made punishing officials involved in organized crime an important part of last year's work, and strengthened supervision over Party members and officials at township and village levels.

Previously, a three-year national campaign targeting organized crime, launched by the central government in 2018, had busted 3,644 mafia-style organizations and 11,675 other criminal gangs around the country. Among them, 1,289 mafia-style organizations and 4,095 criminal gangs were from rural areas.

Regular efforts have been made to crack down on organized crime, and relevant departments across the country have made concerted efforts to overcome difficulties, yielding fruitful results, Chen Yixin, head of the national office against organized crime, said recently.

"The results have sent a strong signal to the whole of society that the crackdown on organized crime is constant, has given a strong impetus to the continuous improvement of social security and has improved the people's sense of gain, happiness and security," Chen said.

According to the office, authorities nationwide investigated 9,931 cases involving corruption and protection of organized crime suspects. Among the cases, more than 9,500 people received disciplinary and administrative punishment, and 1,037 people were transferred to juridical organs for investigation.

A total of 93,000 people accused of bullying or being involved in organized crime were disqualified from running for office in village and community committee elections.

On Dec 24, the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress, China's top legislature, approved an anti-organized crime law, which will take effect on May 1.

It makes specific stipulations on prevention and governance of such crimes, case handling, the identification and handling of involved property, the handling of public servants who are involved in organized crimes and international cooperation.

Wang Aili, head of the NPC Standing Committee's Legislative Affairs Commission Criminal Law Division, said the law is an important measure to summarize the practical experience of the three-year campaign and offers a sound, specific legal base for the fight against organized crime.

"The law places equal emphasis on prevention and treatment as well as punishment for people involved in organized crime, and it takes systematic, comprehensive and source measures to eradicate the breeding ground for such enterprises. It also strikes a proper balance between punishing criminals, protecting human rights and standardizing law enforcement," he said.

In addition, the law makes the investigation of public servants involved in organized crime a priority and asks for severe punishment for those who take part.