Transferring Western theory

A comparative and culture-sensitive perspective of crime research in China

Authored by: Lening Zhang

Routledge Handbook of International Criminology

Print publication date:  April  2011
Online publication date:  May  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415779098
eBook ISBN: 9780203864708
Adobe ISBN: 9781135193850


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China is emerging as a world economic power. Social research, including crime research, cannot ignore this big, emerging nation. Pre-reform China had very low crime rates and enjoyed a reputation of being a “crime free” society (Fairbank, 1987; Rojek, 1996). However, since the nation implemented economic reform and the open-door policy in the late 1970s, the Chinese have been experiencing surging crime waves (Liu, 2006). According to official statistics, the crime rate was 55.91 per 100,000 in 1978 and it reached 355.5 per 100,000 in 2005 (Zhang et al., 2008). Consequently, China is experiencing an unfortunate “cost” of modernization similar to the experience of other developing nations (Shelley, 1981, 1986).

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