Laws and Justice

Decline in Violent Crimes and Rise in Minor Offenses Changing China's Legal Landscape

Main image to the post Decline in Violent Crimes and Rise in Minor Offenses Changing China's Legal Landscape

The criminal landscape in China has undergone a noticeable shift as indicated by a white paper from the Supreme People's Procuratorate, highlighting a decrease in serious violent crimes and an uptick in minor offenses. The document reveals a significant drop in prosecutions for serious violent crimes, with numbers decreasing from 162,000 in 1999 to 61,000 in the latest reporting year. In contrast, there has been an increase in cases resulting in shorter sentences of fewer than three years of imprisonment, from 54.4 percent in 1999 to 82.3 percent recently.

With minor crimes such as dangerous driving, theft, aiding network crime activities, concealing criminal proceeds, and fraud accounting for over half of the reviewed prosecutions, strategies are being developed to address these rising incidents. The Supreme People's Procuratorate's annual work report, approved at the 14th National People's Congress, emphasizes the need to work collaboratively with relevant stakeholders to combat minor crimes effectively. This includes the full and accurate implementation of a criminal policy combining justice with leniency, with severe penalties reserved for serious violent crimes like intentional homicide, robbery, and kidnapping.

One example of this approach in action involves a case dating back to 1987 in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, where diligent police work recently led to justice served decades later. Villagers Jiang Sixing and Xue Sanyuan, implicated in a 1987 murder case after forensic evidence linked them to the crime scene, confessed to plotting a robbery that ended in the brutal killing of six family members. Despite the passage of over 30 years since the crime, the Zhejiang provincial procuratorate pursued prosecution, citing the case's significant societal impact, leading to a court decision sentencing the offenders to death with lifelong deprivation of political rights and asset confiscation.

The Supreme People's Procuratorate's work report underscores the essential role of procuratorial bodies in upholding stability by punishing crimes, even if justice may be delayed. The commitment to addressing both serious violent crimes and the surge in minor offenses reflects a comprehensive approach to maintaining law and order in China's evolving legal landscape.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09