World Digest

World Digest: New Chinese Law Targets Local Officials' Misuse of Security Force

BRAZIL A woman bathes her children outside her shack in the Capao Redondo shantytown in Sao Paulo. Earlier this week, police used tear gas and stun grenades to evict at least 800 families from the slum, built on privately owned land.
BRAZIL A woman bathes her children outside her shack in the Capao Redondo shantytown in Sao Paulo. Earlier this week, police used tear gas and stun grenades to evict at least 800 families from the slum, built on privately owned land. (By Andre Penner -- Associated Press)
Friday, August 28, 2009

CHINA

Law Targets Misuse Of Security Force

Chinese lawmakers on Thursday curbed the power of local officials to call out the country's more than 600,000-strong People's Armed Police to quell disturbances.

The new law governing the deployment of the force, approved in Beijing by the National People's Congress, comes as the number of protests and riots by farmers, workers and ethnic minorities is on the rise. Police should refuse orders that they consider unlawful, the law states.

China's government has made maintaining social stability a key policy aim even as it cracks down on the corruption and abuse of power that is a cause of much of the unrest. Local officials under orders from Beijing to maintain the peace are likely to put pressure on the police to act, said Murray Scot Tanner, a China analyst at CNA, an Alexandria-based research group.

"This clause represents a striking critique of some officials' misuse of security forces," Tanner said. "But these local leaders remain powerful. It may prove difficult for Armed Police commanders and higher-level officials to . . . resist this kind of pressure."

-- Bloomberg News

BURMA

Clashes Cited Between Security Forces, Militia

Fighting reportedly broke out Thursday between an ethnic militia and government security forces in northeastern Burma, breaching a cease-fire that has been in place for two decades.

Several minorities living in the border areas of Burma, also known as Myanmar, have continued their long struggles for autonomy despite cease-fire agreements with the military regime that seized power in 1988.

Fighters for the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army -- representing the Kokang minority -- on Thursday attacked a police post along the border with China near the town of Laogai, according to the U.S. Campaign for Burma. The Washington-based group said that several police officers were killed and that the rebels temporarily occupied the post.

The Kachin News Group, an online news agency that covers the Kachin minority in northern Burma, also reported the attack, as well as several other clashes.

Reports of the fighting could not be independently confirmed.

The junta plans an election next year, the first since abortive polls in 1990.

-- Associated Press


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