The government of the Xiongan New Area, North China's Hebei Province, said it will crack down on gangsters and that "every county has to deal with at least one gangster incident every month."
The area government made the statement at a conference on its gangster crackdown, and announced it on its WeChat on Wednesday. At the conference, it said they had busted a gang involved in a major case in September, which had threatened the social order for a long time.
It said that its priority had been "villains" in the village and gangsters and that, "After the crackdown, people set off fireworks and made dumplings to celebrate the victory."
At the same time, area public security officials went a step further, saying they would probe at least one gangster-related incident every month.
The Xiongan New Area, which was established in April, seems to have improved a lot after the crackdown, according to the publicity bureau of Rongcheng, which is under Xiongan administration. Xiongan official said that the number of criminal cases had fallen by 37.9 percent, with 1,654 suspects being detained and 2,289 cases handled.
The Xiongan move has not been without its doubters, with many people questioning whether it was reasonable to try to put a quota in the action, on online discussions.
One of the sceptics, Zhu Lijia, a professor of public management at the Chinese Academy of Governance, noted that, while the determination in cracking down on gangsters is certainly good, officials cannot really predict how much there will be in the future, so it is ridiculous to set a quota, in a talk with the Global Times on Thursday.
In 2012, the Public Security Ministry said in a document that unreasonable evaluations or quotas should not be the way to evaluate police work.
In a similar move, Houjie township in the city of Dongguan, South China's Guangdong Province, back in 2011 swore it would crack down on gangster activities and asked every police station to report at least one tipoff on such activities to make their work more effective, People's Daily reported.
Zhu pointed out that this type of behavior also puts pressure on police officers because "some of them may worry about the quota so they pay less attention to other cases, or even worse, may fabricate criminal charges or lodge false accusation."
One example of this was Li, a former police station head in the city of Qiqihar, Heilongjiang Province, who was sentenced to a year in prison with one year of probation in 2016, for getting people to pretend to be drug users so that he could fill his quota, Beijing's Legal Mirror reported in February.
This type of development not only violates people's rights, it also damages government credibility, Zhu concluded.