China defends anti-graft ministry's controversial detention measure

China yesterday defended a controversial detention measure set to become law when a new anti-corruption "super-ministry" is formally set up next month, calling it a unique step necessary to combat graft.

President Xi Jinping has vowed to intensify efforts to root out corruption among Chinese officials and called for strong mechanisms that will effectively form a "cage" to prevent officials from breaking rules.

China's rubber-stamp Parliament, the National People's Congress, is expected to pass the new law and amend the state Constitution at an annual meeting next month, finalising the establishment of a National Supervision Commission with the power to investigate all state employees.


The powerful new body has been criticised by some legal scholars for failing to protect the rights of suspects during investigations, in part because it will use a controversial"liuzhi", or detention, system that operates outside existing criminal procedure law.

"Major crimes related to official duties are not the same as normal crimes and the investigations cannot be done in the same way," said Mr Zhang Shuofu, who heads the Beijing Supervision Commission, one of three bureaus set up last year ahead of the agency's nationwide roll-out.

"That is why the Central Committee of the party has adopted the detention measure," he told reporters during a rare visit to the bureau.

China's top-down methods of supervision are "totally different" from the system of checks and balances in countries where supervision agencies are subordinate to the courts and prosecutors, Mr Zhang added. - REUTERS