Zhou Yongkang (C, front), a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, visits local villagers in Mandiu Village of Jinghong City, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Oct. 27, 2012. Zhou made an inspection tour in Yunnan from Oct. 27 to 29. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
KUNMING, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- A senior Chinese official has called for improvements to people's livelihoods, ethnic unity and frontier security in southwest China's Yunnan Province, a region bordering Myanmar.
Zhou Yongkang, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said during an inspection tour of Yunnan between Oct. 27 and 29 that public security bureaus should strengthen border inspection and crack down hard on drug smuggling and terrorism.
Zhou's visit came just over a month after a Myanmar drug runner and five of his gang members stood trial for the murders of 13 sailors on the Mekong River in the Golden Triangle Region on Oct. 5, 2011. Naw Kham, the principal suspect, pleaded guilty to murder in a local court in Yunnan. The verdict has yet to be announced.
While visiting the public security bureau in Yunnan's Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, which investigated the murder case, Zhou extended his gratitude to the bureau's contributions to seizing the suspects.
Zhou, also secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Political and Legal Affairs, praised the Kunming City Intermediate People's Court, located in the provincial capital, for its innovations in hearing the murder case.
"It is a severe transnational criminal case, which attracted great attention from the Party, government and people," Zhou said, adding that the case was cracked with the assistance of relevant nations and China's law enforcement authorities at all levels.
Some law enforcement staff even gave their lives investigating the case, said Zhou, who extended his condolences to judicial staff.
The senior official expressed the hope that judicial authorities can do solid work in sentencing Naw Kham and his associates, using facts as the basis and the law as the criterion, so that "the case will stand the test of law, history and people."
With a length of almost 5,000 km, the Mekong is one of the most important waterways in Southeast Asia, linking China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It plays a crucial economic role among the Greater Mekong Sub-region countries.
Cargo ferry services, though briefly suspended following the murders, resumed on the river in December last year.
China has conducted joint patrols on the Mekong River with Laos, Myanmar and Thailand since the murders took place, said Zhou, adding that the patrols ensure shipping safety and showcase China's innovative efforts in promoting international police cooperation.
Zhou was pleased to see that the security of the southeast Asian watercourse has markedly improved, people feel more secure and cargo and passenger ferries have resumed normal operations.
He urged improving the four countries' cooperation mechanism to conduct law enforcement patrols in order to effectively crack down on various criminal activities and promote trade cooperation and personnel exchanges among countries along the Mekong.
In a Dai ethnic village, Zhou encouraged villagers to develop rural tourism in order to increase local peoples' incomes and promote Dai ethnic culture.
The official also urged the Yunnan Baiyao Group, one of the country's major pharmaceutical producers, to safeguard drug safety and to be strict with quality.
Moreover, he called for ecological protection over the Dian Lake in Yunnan.