The Auxiliary Police Force in China

Lena Y. Zhong

City University of Hong Kong

On January 11, 2016 at the 22nd meeting of the Chinese Communist Party Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms led by President Xi Jinping, the Opinions on Managing the Regulation of the Auxiliary Police Force under the Public Security Organs (the Opinions) was passed. The endorsement of this document at such a high level meeting reflects the urgency of regulating the auxiliary police force in China.

In China the Public Security Police have always worked closely with a force of auxiliary police, although the latter has been variously named, most notably the joint prevention teams. Over the years efforts have been made to manage the auxiliary police elements, and sometimes even to abolish the force when public outrage is aroused with cases of auxiliary police members abusing their power.

This paper will first provide an overview of the various auxiliary police elements in the past several decades, especially in the wake of the economic reform. Then it describes the possible dilemmas the public security police have faced in handling the auxiliary police forces over the years. Thirdly, it explains the major principles as reflected in the Opinions as endorsed in early 2016. Fourthly, it introduces the Auxiliary Police Force under the Hong Kong Police Force in Hong Kong. Lastly the paper concludes by opining what the Public Security Police will need to consider when implementing the Opinions to regulate the Auxiliary Police Force in the era of economic reform.


Dr. Lena Zhong is associate professor of criminology at City University of Hong Kong. Her research interest includes policing, crime prevention, and organized crime.