- Sat, 02/27/2010 - 11:00
The Montreal Gazette
Canwest News Service
February 27, 2010
China faces rising crime rates and increased social unrest this year, according to the country's top think tank.
A new report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said criminal prosecutions were up 10 per cent and public security cases up nearly 20 per cent in 2009, and it predicted the rise would continue even as the economy improved in 2010.
In real numbers, that meant 5.3 million criminal cases and 9.9 million public security cases were prosecuted last year.
According to the Beijing Times, the 2009 jump was the first increase China has seen in its crime rate in nearly a decade.
The report warned that the widening gap between rich and poor in Chinese society, coupled with increased unemployment, will ensure the crime rate continues to climb.
It said things such as robbery, petty theft, fraud and bank-card crimes are likely to increase and that Ponzi schemes and illegal fundraising will be more prevalent this year.
The report predicted that crime among "the post-'90s" generation (people born after 1990) will increase, and it said to expect a spike in "Internet crimes."
The academy also reported a gloomy outlook for "official" crime, which is rampant across the country.
For example, the China News Service reported recently that 2,600 officials in Shandong Province were prosecuted last year "for taking advantage of their official positions."
It said 503 of them embezzled funds from the government's stimulus package.
In Chongqing, 200 officials, up to and including a police chief, are among the 3,000 arrested so far in a sweeping crackdown on organized crime in the super-city.
Shandong and Chongqing are just two of the 34 provinces, provincial- level cities, autonomous regions and special administrative regions in China.
The academy's report said "mass incidents," code for demonstrations, occurred "frequently" last year. It said there were approximately 10 mass incidents that caused major problems nationwide.
The worst was the Uyghur protest in Xinjiang province last July, where the minority Muslim population clashed with local Han Chinese in riots that left 197 dead.
According to the Southern Metropolis Daily, Mo Jihong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, pointed out in the report that, when dealing with mass incidents, local officials almost always begin by trying to hide the problem, which inevitably leads to rumours and exaggerated fears, and usually mean they miss the best opportunity to handle the incident peacefully.
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