After a conflict between two assistant policemen and a driver who illegally parked on Wednesday afternoon in Luzhou, Sichuan Province, during which the driver felt unwell and suddenly died, thousands of angry people gathered at the scene and seven police cars were overturned and set alight. Twenty people were taken away by police with no casualties.
The fast speed in which this incident occurred reflects how easily discontent at the grass-roots level of Chinese society can be ignited. The question of whether or not the police acted appropriately should be investigated by the proper authorities.
However, setting alight police cars is unquestionably an illegal act which must be punished according to the law. Even if there were mistakes in the manner police enforced the law, there is no justification for setting police cars alight.
Chinese society should fight against crime and condemn these kinds of violence.
Smashing cars and assaulting people have been acts perpetrated by some people during patriotic demonstrations protesting against Japan's "nationalization" of the Diaoyu Islands. Public opinion condemned these actions at that time. Their rational reaction was encouraging.
Although officers are increasingly conscious of "enforcing the law for the people," it is impossible for every local law enforcement team to be flawless. Law enforcement agencies must not be soft on correcting or combating disciplinary offenses. They should welcome help and supervision from the broader masses.
If there was misconduct by the two assistant policemen, society should report them and stop them. However, they should do that within the limits sanctioned by the law. Public opinion should resolutely condemn radical acts of violence and isolate those who take illegal actions.
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