Crime in China

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Crime is present in various forms in China. Common forms of crime include drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, human trafficking, corruption, black marketeering, and circulation of fake currencies.


The People's Republic of China was established in 1949 and from 1949 to 1956, the transformation of common ownership of the means of production was completed.[1] During this time, the new government destroyed the influence of the criminal gangs [2] and cleared away narcotics[1] and gambling.[3] Crime rate significantly declined in the country because of these reforms.[3] During the period of 1949 to 1956, larceny, arson, rape, murder and robbery were major nonpolitical offenses.[3] The majority of the economic crimes were committed by the capitalists who refused to pay taxes, stole public property and engaged in bribery.[3]

Some economic offenses were committed by government officials which included improperly taking public property and accepting bribes.[3] Between 1957 and 1965, no incidents of crime occurred in some rural ares and the level of public security was generally good.[3] Crime rates increased later. The year 1981 represented a peak in crime never seen before in the country.,[4] this occurred shortly after economic reform in the late 1970s of which allowed some elements of a market economy.[4] Below is a comparison reported cases of crime from 1977 to 1988 (excluding economic crimes):[5]

Year 1977[5] 1978[5] 1979[5] 1980[5] 1981[5] 1982[5] 1983[5] 1984[5] 1985[5] 1986[5] 1987[5] 1988[5]
Total number of cases 548,415 535,698 636,222 757,104 890,281 748,476 610,478 514,369 542,005 547,115 570,439 827,706
Incidents of criminal case per 10,000 people 5.8 5.6 6.6 7.7 8.9 7.4 6.0 5.0 5.2 5.2 5.4 7.5

Crime by youth increased rapidly in the 1980s. Crime by youths consisted 60.2% of total crime in 1983, 63.3% in 1984, 71.4% in 1985, 72.4% in 1986, and 74.3% in 1987.[5] The number of fleeing criminals increased over the years.[6] Economic crimes have increased in recent years.[6] From 1982 to 1988, the total number of economic crimes were 218,000.[6]

In 1989, a total of 76,758 cases of economic offenses were registered which included bribery, smuggling and tax evasion.[6] The changes in economic policy had influence in the characteristics of criminality.[7] Since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, crime has increased and diversified.[7]

Current situation[edit]

Although the PRC has a single-party rule led by the Communist Party of China, the power of the criminals is also strong enough[8] and corruption is prevalent among government employees.[8] The criminal organizations have acquired more weapons and vehicles which are often of better quality than that of the police force.[8]

In 1995, more than 100,000 illegal small arms were captured nationwide.[8] From January to July 1996, approximately 300,000 illegal small arms were seized from fourteen provinces of the country.[8]

Various types of violent crime has become common in PRC. Restaurants and hotels in the country extort high prices from guests, and those who show resistance are beaten or detained.[8] Threatening of opponents in business operations is common.[8]

Corruption is common among government employees.[9][10] Between 1978 and 2003, an estimated $50 billion was smuggled out of the country by corrupt officials.[11] A legal verdict can be changed from guilt to innocence, death sentence can turn into not-guilty verdict and length of prison terms can be reduced by bribing officials.[8] The armed forces employs naval vessels and airplanes for various smuggling activities.[8] The police stations often open covert gambling houses, or they can provide protection for them.[8] In 2009, 106,000 public officials in China were convicted of corruption.[12]

China is a supply, transit and destination country for women, men, and children trafficked for various purposes.[13] The majority of trafficking in PRC is internal and this domestic trafficking is the most significant human trafficking problem in the country.[13] Approximately 10,000-20,000 victims are trafficked each year.[13][not in citation given] There is also international trafficking of Chinese citizens.[13] Women are lured through false promises of legitimate employment into commercial sexual exploitation in Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan.[13] Chinese men are smuggled to countries throughout the world for exploitative labor.[13] Women and children are trafficked into PRC from Mongolia, Burma, North Korea, Russia, and Vietnam for forced labor and sexual slavery.[13]

PRC is a major transshipment point for heroin produced in the Golden Triangle.[13] Growing domestic drug abuse is a significant problem in PRC.[13] Available estimates place the domestic spending on illegal drugs to be $17 billion.[14]

Murder statistics[edit]

In 2011, the murder rate in China was 1.0 per 100,000 people, when there were 13,410 murders recorded in that year. The murder rate in 2010 was 1.1.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hans-Günther Heiland, Louise I. Shelley, Hisao Katō (1992). Crime and Control in Comparative Perspectives. Walter de Gruyter. p. 241. ISBN 3-11-012614-1. 
  2. ^ Wang, Peng (2013). "The increasing threat of Chinese organised crime: national, regional and international perspectives". The RUSI Journal 158 (4): 6–18. doi:10.1080/03071847.2013.826492. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hans-Günther Heiland, Louise I. Shelley, Hisao Katō (1992). Crime and Control in Comparative Perspectives. Walter de Gruyter. p. 242. ISBN 3-11-012614-1. 
  4. ^ a b Borge Bakken (2007). Crime, Punishment, and Policing in China. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 64. ISBN 0-7425-3574-6. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Hans-Günther Heiland, Louise I. Shelley, Hisao Katō (1992). Crime and Control in Comparative Perspectives. Walter de Gruyter. p. 245. ISBN 3-11-012614-1. 
  6. ^ a b c d Hans-Günther Heiland, Louise I. Shelley, Hisao Katō (1992). Crime and Control in Comparative Perspectives. Walter de Gruyter. p. 246. ISBN 3-11-012614-1. 
  7. ^ a b Hans-Günther Heiland, Louise I. Shelley, Hisao Katō (1992). Crime and Control in Comparative Perspectives. Walter de Gruyter. p. 249. ISBN 3-11-012614-1. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Susan Debra Blum, Lionel M. Jensen (2002). China Off Center: Mapping the Margins of the Middle Kingdom. University of Hawaii Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-8248-2577-2. 
  9. ^ Wang, Peng (2013). "The rise of the Red Mafia in China: a case study of organised crime and corruption in Chongqing". Trends in Organized Crime 16 (1): 49–73. doi:10.1007/s12117-012-9179-8. 
  10. ^ Wedeman, Andrew (2013). "The challenge of commercial bribery and organized crime in China". Journal of Contemporary China 22 (79): 18–34. doi:10.1080/10670564.2012.716942. 
  11. ^ "4,000 corrupt officials fled with US$50b". China Daily. 18 August 2004. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  12. ^ "Corruption up among China government officials". BBC News. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i "CIA World Factbook - China". CIA World Factbook. 
  14. ^ "International Crime Threat Assessment". Federation of American Scientists. December 2000. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  15. ^ "Global Study on Homicide". United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2013. p. 127. Retrieved 15 July 2014.