As our regular readers probably know, I am fascinated by statistics. I am therefore constantly frustrated because reliable statistics on China often are hard to come by, and that is particularly true when it comes to crime.
The People’s Daily, in an article, China’s violent crimes rise for the 1st time in a decade, [link no longer exists] has come out with an article flogging the rise in violent crimes in China, but without really giving any good solid clues/numbers as to what is really going on and where:
Crime rates increased amid the global economic crisis, as did the unemployment rate. According to the 2010 Rule of Law Blue Book released by Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) February 25, China’s crime cases in 2009 breached the stable situation dating back to 2000 and increased substantially, among which, violent crimes and property crimes witnessed sharp jumps.
As the blue book shows, the number of China’s criminal and civil cases increased by a large margin from January to October 2009, and reached 5.3 million and 9.9 million respectively by the end of 2009, with the former’s growth rate up over 10 percent and latter’s up around 20 percent.
The article goes on to say the following:
The deteriorating economy has made criminals much more violent. According to the blue book, violent crimes such as homicide, rape, and robbery saw sizable growth in 2009, the first increase of such cases since 2001. China’s violent crimes had been declining evidently for about a decade prior to 2009.
In terms of intentional murder cases, vicious murders among family members and those committed in vengeance against society, or simply those by mental patients accounted for a large portion. Incitements to murders also surfaced from time to time. Furthermore, gangs were prevalent in some places, and some criminals killed the intellectually-challenged and faked their deaths in mine disasters so that they may blackmail for money.
The article notes that 2010 will likely be no better as “China still faces a severe social situation in 2010, having “not yet completely recovered from the international financial crisis.”
Is this a back-handed way of letting people know that China is expecting major economic problems in 2010? I have a strange sense this article may be very important, though I find it very strange. What is going on here?
For more on crime in China, check out Mapping China Crime Is Democracy In Action.