Implementing the mass line in criminal investigation in China

Yongtao Li

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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The mass line (ML) has become the fundamental political ideology, organisational approach, and work method of the Communist Party of China, and is embraced in almost every aspect of the Party's work. Police work, one of the Party's most important core tasks, is therefore required to adhere to the ML as well. Under the guidance of the ML, Chinese police value greatly the role of the masses and their participation both in social order maintenance and in criminal investigation. Although the focuses of these two general tasks differ in some ways, the ultimate purposes are the same: relying on the masses to control crime and protect the interests of the masses. Studies about the ML policing theories and practices most focus on the social order maintenance role of implementing the ML in police work, with studies on implementing the ML in the criminal investigation being far from adequate. Furthermore, the majority of available studies on the ML in criminal investigation all focus on how to rely on the masses to collect crime clues to solve a criminal case. To a great extent, implementing the ML in criminal investigation is narrowly interpreted in terms of interactions between the police and the masses outside the police force in solving criminal cases. This is certainly one important aspect, but not the only one.I aimed to make a study of how to more effectively and comprehensively implement the ML in criminal investigation. To fulfil such a goal, it was necessary to obtain a thorough understanding of the ML. Therefore this thesis includes a systematic analysis of Mao's works on the ML. According to Mao's description of the principle of 'from the masses, to the masses', the ML was the Marxist theory of knowledge and the method of leadership. Therefore, the analyses of Mao's works on the ML included his writings on the Marxist theory of knowledge and on the method of leadership. My analyses concluded that the ML in essence was a set of methods and the core aim was to objectively concentrate the ideas and efforts of the masses to maximally avoid subjectivism in the process of forming judgements, decisions, policies, or theories for effectively solving problems.From the conclusion above, implementing the ML in criminal investigation should embody more than simply relying on the masses for providing crime clues. In order to obtain a more thorough study of the implementation of the ML in criminal investigation, Mao's writings on police work, Luo Ruiqing's speeches about implementing the ML in police work (Luo was Mao's first police minister), and interviews with Chinese frontline police officers were analysed. The triangulated sources of data have, to the maximum degree, ensured the depth of the research and the avoidance of potential bias from one source of data. Based on the findings from analysing Mao's writings, Luo's speeches, and the interviews with police officers, the issues examined included the principles of implementing the ML in criminal investigation, the concept of the masses in the context of criminal investigation, the difficulties encountered, the ML leadership styles, and recommendations for better implementing the ML in criminal investigation. My study concluded the core aim of implementing the ML in criminal investigation should be to guide criminal investigators to objectively collect clues and evidence from all sources then analyse them creatively but logically to form more objective deductions, judgments, and conclusions on a criminal case being investigated. In this process, if criminal investigators have managed to objectively collect information from the masses through legitimate methods, and regularly check on the reliability and relevance of this information until all legitimate measures have been employed to explain any doubts encountered before coming to any conclusions, they can be assessed as having properly and thoroughly implemented the ML in criminal investigation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Corbo Crehan, Anna, Principal Supervisor
  • Bartkowiak-Théron, Isabelle, Co-Supervisor, External person
Award date01 Mar 2014
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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