Modernization of China’s Police and Learning from Hong Kong
This chapter argues that despite the different policing environment between mainland China and Hong Kong, the policy transfer in policing has occurred from Hong Kong to the mainland. Agents of this policy transfer are mainland police officers and researchers who study the Hong Kong experience and who apply the Hong Kong experience to the mainland setting. As a matter of fact, the mainland police have been learning from the Hong Kong experience mainly in the area of operation. In an attempt to enhance the manpower of the mainland police, private security companies have been legalized while residents’ anti-crime groups have been partially incorporated into the regular police force. The auxiliary police force has become an experiment in some mainland cities, whereas the practice of police handbooks is viewed as a model for the mainland police to emulate. Statistical research and data remain to be improved in the mainland police. A gradual process of Hongkongization of mainland policing has been taking place in China. On the other hand, the mainland police are simultaneously undergoing rapid reforms independent of the influence from Hong Kong. Because of the unique politico-legal environment in China, the mainland police have been implementing various reform measures, such as the persistence in the mass line concept, the adoption of the visitation scheme, the heightened sensitivity toward mass action in politically sensitive places, the heavy emphasis on community policing, the improvement in the quality and quantity of officers and the recognition of the need to reform the recruitment, performance appraisal and training of the police force continuously. The adaptive capacity of the mainland police has become a hallmark of how they have been responding to a challenging, complex, transformative and turbulent policing environment in China.