A public security bureau (PSB) (Chinese: 公安局; pinyin: gōng'ānjú) of a city or county, or public security department (PSD) (Chinese: 公安厅; pinyin: Gōng'āntīng) of a province or autonomous region, in the People's Republic of China refers to a government office essentially acting as a police station or a local or provincial police; the smallest police stations are called police posts (Chinese: 派出所; pinyin: pàichūsuǒ). The PSB/PSD system is similar in concept to the Japanese kōban system, and is present in each province and municipality. Typically, a PSB/PSD handles policing, public security, and social order. Other duties include residence registration ("hukou") and internal and external migration matters, such as the registration of temporary residents (including both foreign and domestic visitors).

The system of public security bureaus is administered by the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), which co-ordinates the work of provincial public security departments that are also answerable to the local governments and provincial party secretaries. PSB's located in each province are jointly supervised by the central government as well as provincial governments, an arrangement that is intended to prevent corruption and unchecked influence by provincial general secretaries. Provincial public security bureaus in turn administer county or district level public security sub-bureaus and branch bureaus, which perform a role similar to larger police stations.[1] The lowest level outposts are police posts, which perform duties similar to of small local police stations.

The network of public security bureaus and the Ministry of Public Security should not be confused with the separate but parallel network of state security bureaus/state security departments, administered at the national level by the Ministry of State Security (MSS), which is responsible for external and internal intelligence, and performing a "secret police" or security police role responsible for preemptive response to 'mass incidents' (Chinese terminology for protests or social disturbances) and internal security. The two systems are administratively separate, although at local levels they co-operate to a large extent and often share resources and internal security bureaus are structured as units or departments within public security bureaus (PSBs) to allow for closer and more effective integrated operations and cooperation as needed.

Most major Chinese cities will have a PSB assigned to deal with local security needs. Each province, municipality and autonomous region (excluding the special administrative regions of Macau and Hong Kong, which have their own police forces, the Hong Kong Police Force and the Public Security Police Force of Macau) has a provincial-level public security department or municipal PSB to deal with provincial security issues.

In 2016, the Xinjiang PSD signed a partnership agreement with Huawei.[2] In 2019, the same PSD and its subordinate municipal PSBs were sanctioned by the U.S. Department of State for their role in human rights abuses against the Uyghurs.[3] In 2020, the United States Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau under the Global Magnitsky Act.[4]

In October 2022, various news outlets reported that the MPS had opened clandestine police stations overseas.[5][6][7][8]

See also


  1. ^ Wang, Xiaohai (23 April 2015). Empowerment on Chinese Police Force's Role in Social Service. Springer. p. 171. ISBN 978-3-662-45614-9. Archived from the original on 12 November 2023. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  2. ^ "Mapping more of China's tech giants: AI and surveillance". Australian Strategic Policy Institute. 28 November 2019. Archived from the original on 21 January 2020. Retrieved 20 January 2020.
  3. ^ Shepardson, David (7 October 2019). "U.S. puts Hikvision, Chinese security bureaus on economic blacklist". Reuters. Archived from the original on 7 October 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  4. ^ "Treasury Sanctions Chinese Entity and Officials Pursuant to Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act". U.S. Department of the Treasury. 23 February 2024. Archived from the original on 9 July 2020. Retrieved 25 February 2024.
  5. ^ Lee, Michael (29 September 2022). "China has opened overseas police stations in US and Canada to monitor Chinese citizens: report". Fox News. Archived from the original on 4 October 2022. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
  6. ^ Delaney, Matt (2 October 2022). "China establishes police station in New York City". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on 4 October 2022. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
  7. ^ Morgan, Ryan (28 September 2022). "Report: Chinese police set up covert station in NYC, 31 others around the world". American Military News. Archived from the original on 4 October 2022. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
  8. ^ "Report: China's unofficial 'police stations' operating under the radar in London, other parts of the world". news.yahoo.com. 15 September 2022. Archived from the original on 4 October 2022. Retrieved 4 October 2022.