"the Public Security Office at the commune"
Chinese Soldier on Tiananmen Square
Creative Commons AttributionChinese Soldier on Tiananmen Square - Credit: Luo Shaoyang

China's Public Safety Bureau was created after the Communist takeover in 1949. The PSB superseded the CDSA, China's police force under the Nationalist government. In the immediate aftermath of the Communist Revolution, the PSB concerned itself mainly with domestic police affairs, while the Red Guards faciliated the Cultural Revolution and the wider political agenda of the time. However, after Mao Zedong ordered the disbandment of the Red Guards, the PSB began taking a more active role in Chinese political affairs.

Since the 1970s, the PSB has suppressed protest in China (notably in Tiananmen Square) and limited the influx of outside culture through censorship. It is also alleged to have conducted a wide range of human rights violations.  Critics both inside and outside China describe rampant corruption and inefficiencies within the Public Safety Bureau. Today, the PSB officially fulfils a policing role but, in reality, their actions reflect a political agenda.