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China Chooses Top Police Official as New Head Prosecutor - 2003-03-16

China has chosen a top police official with a tough reputation to be its new head prosecutor. China also re-appointed its highest-ranking judge, who has promised continued crackdowns on terrorists, separatists and "evil cults."

The largely ceremonial National People's Congress has approved the promotion of China's top police official to head the prosecutor's office.

An official announced to China's legislature that the job goes to Jia Chunwang, the minister of public security. He also is the political head of the People's Armed Police, a paramilitary force run by the Defense Ministry that guards embassies and quells riots.

Mr. Jia ran the police during the crackdown on the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement. The movement's supporters say hundreds of members have died in police custody. The government denies it has mistreated any followers of the movement, which Beijing considers an"evil cult."

The National People's Congress also re-appointed Xiao Yang to head the Supreme Court. Last week he pledged to "strictly punish crimes jeopardizing state security or endangering the lives and property of the people."

He said the government will continue a crackdown on corruption that has netted more than 80,000 arrests in the past five-years. Corruption is a hot political issue in China, where the perceived inability of the government to root out bribery and other misdeeds is corroding public faith in the ruling Communist Party.

These judicial selections came as the National People's Congress approved China's most sweeping leadership transition in a decade. Hu Jintao has been named president, replacing Jiang Zemin, and Wen Jiabao has replaced Prime Minister Zhu Rongji.