Black Societies and Triad-Like Organised Crime in China

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The re-emergence of ‘black societies’ and triad-like organized crime in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has occurred in the context of rapid modernization, socio-economic change and globalization. Socialist market reforms provided illicit opportunities while regulative uncertainty arising from the transition from austere communism to capitalism encouraged the revival of crime groups. With the establishment of the PRC in 1949 crime groups that once flourished in pre-communist China, such as the notorious Shanghai green gang, were eliminated along with drug addiction, feudal remnants and ‘exploitation of the masses’ by the punitive People’s Tribunals. However, rapid change from a socialist command economy to a capitalist market economy over the past three decades engendered a parallel increase in crime (Zhong 2009; Bakken 2005), especially crimes committed by gangs and ‘black and evil’ forces (He 2009; Xia 2006). In the first phase of economic reform (1979-1997) criminal gangs gradually re-emerged especially in the form of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau triads in Shenzhen (Chiu 2010). As early as 1982-1983 the Shenzhen Government issued the ‘Notice on Abolishing Black Society Activities’ in the face of the growing presence of Hong Kong triads (He 2009: 200). Despite the successive waves of strike-hard against crime campaigns launched since the early 1980s, crime groups have continued to emerge and expand their activities (Trevaskes, 2010).
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Transnational Organized Crime
    Editors Felia Allum & Stan Gilmour
    Place of PublicationEngland
    PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
    ISBN (Print)9780415579797
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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