Moral Panics, Crime Rates and Harsh Punishment in China

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Today's extremely harsh sentencing regime in China, which includes extensive use of the death penalty, was triggered in particular by a moral panic about juvenile crime and to some extent economic crime in the early 1980s. The policy was justified by the belief that China was experiencing an extreme upsurge in crime. A critical look at Chinese crime rates over the last 25 years does not support this belief, however. Chinese reactions against crime instead have to be seen in terms of the regime's legitimacy and alleged defence of the social and moral order in a society undergoing rapid change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)67-89
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology
    Volume37
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

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