December 9, 2007
Written by C.N.
As China continues to industrialize, the BBC News reports that rates of juvenile crime have been on the increase as well:
Juvenile crime is increasing rapidly in China and becoming a serious problem, Chinese experts have warned. The number of young offenders had more than doubled in 10 years, officials told a Beijing seminar. The offenders were getting younger, forming larger gangs and committing a greater variety of crimes, one academic said.
Social change, China’s one-child policy and the internet were all partly to blame for the rise, the experts said. . . . These included theft, assault and rape, but also 22 new categories of crime linked to fraud and the internet.
Part of the problem was the breakdown of families caused by migration, Mr Liu said. In hundreds of thousands of rural families, children are left with elderly relatives or friends while their parents travel to cities in search of work.
Shang Xiuyun, a Beijing judge specialising in juvenile crime, suggested China’s one-child policy could also be to blame. With most families having only one child, the children were under greater pressure than in the past, China Daily quoted the judge as saying.
I don’t specialize in China or criminology, but my take on this issue is that yes, migration and pressures to succeed are probably part of the problem, but the underlying cause of both of these factors is capitalism and the incessant drive to become rich, which has apparently enveloped much of Chinese society.
In all fairness, many Chinese who leave their rural villages to find work in urban factories are doing it for economic survival, not necessarily because they expect to get rich. But my point is that since the Chinese government basically opened the floodgates to capitalism, this fundamental change has led to greater economic inequality, and as any criminologist will tell you, to more crime.
I’m not necessarily saying that China should go back to an entirely communist economic system, but I am saying that within a communist government system, China’s leaders have the power to control or at least limit economic inequality — and as such, juvenile crime — if they actually want to do so.
But that wouldn’t be capitalistic, would it?
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Juvenile Crime in China Increasing" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2007/12/juvenile-crime-in-china-increasing/> ().
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