Concern that China's latest campaign against gang-related crimes may lead to local governments competing to outperform each other is unnecessary because the central leadership has emphasized the importance of strictly handling such cases in accordance with the law, a spokesman said on Friday.
A nationwide campaign to deal with the new trends in gang-related crimes constituted a major decision by the central leadership, Wang Guoqing, the spokesman of the first session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said at a news conference.
"Fighting such crimes is crucial to China's social stability and long-term peace as well as a boost to political security at the grassroots level," he said.
There have been positive results since the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council jointly released a document on Jan 24 deploying a new round of the campaign against gangs and other crime organizations, Wang said. Many gangs were busted across the country shortly after the campaign was introduced, authorities said.
"There is no room for flaws in any case. Local governments are urged to be realistic when handling such cases and not to see the campaign as an opportunity to show off their political achievements," Wang said.
The large-scale campaign will win over people's hearts and be a victory for the rule of law, he said.
The latest campaign will prioritize targeting officials who serve as "protective umbrellas" and gangsters at the grassroots level. The emphasis on laws, facts, evidence and procedures while carrying out the campaign, as ordered by the central leadership, is expected to help reduce the chance of prosecuting the wrong cases.
Wang also cited the need for reform of China's structures in industry, energy consumption and transportation to curb air pollution as the country shifts to high-quality growth.
"Development with high emissions and pollution affects not only long-term economic development, but also people's health. That is not the development we want," he said.
There have been achievements in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in air pollution control and people have seen more blue skies in the capital in the past year, which Wang said have come at a "heavy price", but also thanks to favorable meteorological conditions for the dispersal of pollutants.
"When the meteorological conditions were not favorable several days ago, we all felt the air quality turn bad again," he said, referring to heavy smog in Beijing on Wednesday, when the capital issued a yellow alert, the third highest of a four-tier alert system.
The root reason for air pollution lies in inefficient development and less environmentally friendly lifestyles, and "these problems have not been solved completely", he said.