The Politics of Law and Stability in China
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The Politics of Law and Stability in China

Edited by Susan Trevaskes, Elisa Nesossi, Flora Sapio and Sarah Biddulph

The Politics of Law and Stability in China examines the nexus between social stability and the law in contemporary China. It explores the impact of Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) rationales for social stability on legal reforms, criminal justice operations and handling of disputes and social unrest inside and outside China’s justice agencies.
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Chapter 10: The impact of the 2009 People’s Armed Police Law on the People’s Armed Police force

Murray Scot Tanner


For the past two decades a major objective of China’s state legislative work has been drafting a body of legislation to define the organizational structure of China’s armed forces and law enforcement services, and to provide a legal basis for their activities. Key civilian legislation has included the portions of the Criminal Law defining crimes against national security, and the People’s Police Law (1995), which codified the structure and legal activities of China’s civilian police forces. On the military side, the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the NPC Standing Committee have passed 18 laws and decisions on the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and military affairs (Chen and Zhang 2012). Legislating the organization, leadership and missions of China’s People’s Armed Police (PAP) force is among the most important and institutionally challenging tasks for the Chinese legal system as it attempts to legalize and regularize control over its security forces. The PAP perform a uniquely important and broad set of roles in China’s social control, internal security, and civil affairs systems. For the Chinese Communist Party-state, the PAP’s defining mission is to provide, when needed, a disciplined and decisively powerful armed force that can repress almost any level of social protest or rioting when the regular public security forces require back-up, and thereby allow the regular PLA to limit its involvement in social control.

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