Punishment for goading leads to questioncustom made rubber bandssThe World Of Creativity Enclosed In Ladies Present Baskets
Legal experts have called for police to be more open with information and for legislators to update China"s administrative law after two onlookers were punished for applauding a teenager"s suicide in Gansu province, sparking discussion over the use of administrative detention.
The woman, 19, identified only as Li, jumped to her death from the eighth floor of a department store in Qingyang on June 20. Footage of her suicide shows that some onlookers were clapping and cheering as Li fell.
Some passers-by also heckled her, shouting, "How come you haven"t jumped yet?"
The high-profile incident sparked much online soul-searching among Chinese shocked by the onlookers" behavior.
On Monday, the city"s public security bureau said they had placed two of the onlookers in administrative detention－an extrajudicial penalty issued by police and used mostly for minor offenses－for applauding as well as "interfering in the police rescue".
But as of Wednesday night, police had not disclosed what the legal basis of the detention was, why these two were given the punishment and how long the detention was.
Ruan Chuansheng, a law professor at the Shanghai Administration Institute, supported the move to hold the agitators to account "because their behavior showed they were indifferent to the lives of others". However, he called for greater transparency in how the police handle such cases.
"With the limited information from the police now, it is hard to convince the public that the detentions were justified, let alone avoid a repetition of such behavior by others," he said.
Ruan said the onlookers were likely detained because their behavior was identified as disturbing public order under a law known as the Penalties for Administration of Public Security, but such information has not been disclosed. "It"s rare to see someone given detention just for applauding. In the past, people have usually only been asked to pay compensation or apologize if their behavior was deemed to have resulted in damage," he said.
A Beijing police officer who asked to remain anonymous said on Wednesday that public security departments in smaller cities like Qingyang and rural areas may lack guidelines on how to handle information disclosures in cases that receive substantial public attention, such as Li"s suicide.
Police officers at the grassroots level will collect evidence to determine whether someone should be taken into custody on suspicion of an offense, but they have no clear rules on what information about the results of their investigations should be disclosed to the public. Under the law, people who disturb public order face administrative detention of up to 15 days.
Besides the information disclosure, Ding Jinkun, a lawyer from Shanghai DeBund Law Offices, said it is time for legislators to clarify what kind of situations should be identified as public disorder under the law.
Ruan said which behaviors should lead to compensation and which behaviors should bring about administrative detention must be urgently made clear in the law.
"Specifying the circumstances will prevent police from abusing law enforcement power and also help the public abide by the law," he said. "It"s not practical to cover all situations in the law, but a clearer legal basis and specifics can deter behavior deemed unacceptable by society."
Another aspect of Li"s suicide that has received much public attention is that, two years earlier, she allegedly was molested by her high school teacher.
Li"s father said the incident caused her to become deeply depressed, ultimately leading to her death. The teacher was given 10 days of administrative detention in May of last year after Li"s father made a complaint to police.
Prosecutors later turned down an appeal from Li"s family to charge the teacher with sexual assault. On Tuesday, the city"s educational bureau said it had revoked his credentials and banned him from working in the education system.