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Crime in China

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Crime is present in various forms in China.


The People's Republic of China was established in 1949 and from 1949 to 1956, underwent the process of transferring the means of production to common ownership.[1] During this time, the new government worked to decrease the influence of criminal gangs[2] and reduce the prevalence of narcotics[1] and gambling.[3] Efforts to crack down on criminal activity by the government led to a decrease in crime.[3]

Between 1949 and 1956, larceny, arson, rape, murder and robbery were major nonpolitical offenses.[3] The majority of economic crimes were committed by business people who engaged in tax evasion, theft of public property, and bribery.[3]

Government officials also engaged in illegal economic activity, which included improperly taking public property and accepting bribes.[3] Between 1957 and 1965, rural areas experienced little reported crime.[3] Crime rates increased later. The year 1981 represented a peak in reported crime.[4] This may have been correlated to the economic reform in the late 1970s which allowed some elements of a market economy and gave rise to an increase in economic activity.[4] Below is a comparison of 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 second Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, crime has increased and diversified.[7]

Crime by type


In 2011, the reported murder rate in China was 1.0 per 100,000 people, with 13,410 murders. The murder rate in 2010 was 1.1.[8] The reported murder rates have been criticized for under-reporting unsolved murders due to police salaries being based on the rate of solved cases.[9]


The PRC is a one-party state ruled by the Communist Party of China.[10] Corruption exists in China,[11][12] and the resulting costs to the economy are significant. Between 1978 and 2003, an estimated $50 billion was smuggled out of the country by corrupt officials.[13]

Human trafficking

There are instances of human trafficking reported in China for various purposes.[14] The majority of trafficking in PRC is internal and this domestic trafficking is the most significant human trafficking problem in the country.[14]

Domestic and transnational criminal organizations carry out sex trafficking in China.[15][16] Women are lured through false promises of legitimate employment into commercial sexual exploitation in Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan.[14] Chinese men are smuggled to countries throughout the world for exploitative labor.[14] Women and children are trafficked into PRC from Mongolia, Burma, North Korea, Russia, and Vietnam for forced labor and sexual slavery.[14]

Drug trade

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

Domestic violence

China has a high rate of domestic violence.[18] In 2004, the All-China Women’s Federation compiled survey results to show that thirty percent of the women in China experienced domestic violence within their homes.[19]

The true extent of domestic violence is unclear due to the lack of related law and execution of the law. The Chinese government is in the process of "planning" to pass a "draft of anti-domestic violence law".[18]

Crime dynamics

Illegal guns

From January to July 1996, approximately 300,000 illegal small arms were seized from fourteen provinces of the country.[10]

See also


  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 978-0-7425-3574-9.
  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. ^ "Global Study on Homicide" (PDF). United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2013. p. 127. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 November 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  9. ^ June Cheng. The puzzle of China’s low crime rates. Archived 2019-09-05 at the Wayback Machine 2018-10-25. Accessed 2019-09-05
  10. ^ a b 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ "4,000 corrupt officials fled with US$50b". China Daily. 18 August 2004. Archived from the original on 10 November 2014. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g "CIA World Factbook - China". CIA World Factbook. Archived from the original on 2016-10-13. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  15. ^ "Vietnam's Human Trafficking Problem Is Too Big to Ignore". The Diplomat. November 8, 2019. Archived from the original on December 18, 2019. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  16. ^ "2018 Trafficking in Persons Report: China". United States Department of State. Archived from the original on 2020-03-18. Retrieved 2020-03-22.
  17. ^ "International Crime Threat Assessment". Federation of American Scientists. December 2000. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  18. ^ a b "Draft of anti-domestic violence is pushed to Chinese People's council"". Archived from the original on 2015-07-11. Retrieved 2015-02-13.
  19. ^ McCue, Margi Laird (2008). Domestic violence: a reference handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. pp. 100–102.