Crime in China

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Crime is present in various forms in China. Common forms of crime include corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering, fraud, human trafficking, and circulation of fake currencies. China also has a large black market, due in part to government regulations which make certain items difficult to legally obtain, and the mass production of fake goods.[1]


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.[2] During this time, the new government worked to decrease the influence of criminal gangs[3] and reduce the prevalence of narcotics[2] and gambling.[4] Efforts to crack down on criminal activity by the government led to a decrease in crime.[4]

Between 1949 and 1956, larceny, arson, rape, murder and robbery were major nonpolitical offenses.[4] The majority of economic crimes were committed by business people who engaged in tax evasion, theft of public property, and bribery.[4]

Government officials also engaged in illegal economic activity, which included improperly taking public property and accepting bribes.[4] Between 1957 and 1965, rural areas experienced little reported crime.[4] Crime rates increased later. The year 1981 represented a peak in reported crime.[5] 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.[5] Below is a comparison of reported cases of crime from 1977 to 1988 (excluding economic crimes):[6]

Year 1977[6] 1978[6] 1979[6] 1980[6] 1981[6] 1982[6] 1983[6] 1984[6] 1985[6] 1986[6] 1987[6] 1988[6]
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.[6] The number of fleeing criminals increased over the years.[7] Economic crimes have increased in recent years.[7] From 1982 to 1988, the total number of economic crimes were 218,000.[7]

In 1989, a total of 76,758 cases of economic offenses were registered which included bribery, smuggling and tax evasion.[7] The changes in economic policy had influence in the characteristics of criminality.[8] Since the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, crime has increased and diversified.[8]

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.[9]


The PRC is a one-party state ruled by the Communist Party of China,[10] Corruption is common among government employees.[11][12] Between 1978 and 2003, an estimated $50 billion was smuggled out of the country by corrupt officials.[13] 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.[10]

The armed forces employs naval vessels and airplanes for various smuggling activities.[10] The police stations often open covert gambling houses, or they can provide protection for them.[10] In 2009, 106,000 public officials in China were convicted of corruption.[14]


Various types of violent crime have become common in PRC. Restaurants and hotels in the country extort high prices from guests, and those who show resistance are beaten or detained.[10] Threatening of opponents in business operations is common.[10]

Human trafficking

China is a supply, transit and destination country for women, men, and children trafficked for various purposes.[15] The majority of trafficking in PRC is internal and this domestic trafficking is the most significant human trafficking problem in the country.[15] Approximately 10,000-20,000 victims are trafficked each year.[15][not in citation given] There is also international trafficking of Chinese citizens.[15]

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

Drug trade

PRC is a major transshipment point for heroin produced in the Golden Triangle.[15] Growing domestic drug abuse is a significant problem in PRC.[15] Available estimates place the domestic spending on illegal drugs to be $17 billion.[16]

Domestic violence

China has a high rate of domestic violence.[17] 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.[18]

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".[17]

Crime dynamics

Illegal guns

Criminal organizations have acquired more weapons and vehicles which are often of better quality than that of the police force.[10] In 1995, more than 100,000 illegal small arms were captured nationwide.[10] From January to July 1996, approximately 300,000 illegal small arms were seized from fourteen provinces of the country.[10]

See also


  1. Gady Epstein (2009-02-06). "China's Black Market Boom". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-09-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Borge Bakken (2007). Crime, Punishment, and Policing in China. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 64. ISBN 0-7425-3574-6.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Global Study on Homicide" (PDF). United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2013. p. 127. Retrieved 15 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "4,000 corrupt officials fled with US$50b". China Daily. 18 August 2004. Retrieved 3 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Corruption up among China government officials". BBC News. 8 January 2010. Retrieved 3 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 15.7 15.8 "CIA World Factbook - China". CIA World Factbook.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "International Crime Threat Assessment". Federation of American Scientists. December 2000. Retrieved 3 November 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Draft of anti-domestic violence is pushed to Chinese People's council":".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. McCue, Margi Laird (2008). Domestic violence: a reference handbook. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. pp. 100–102.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>