As an American I get Chinese locals telling me all the time how dangerous America is.. and that people can carry guns and how horrible the country must be if you can just shoot who you want.  I hear this kind of talk and shake my head.   I guess they think we all walk around like we did in the wild west and just shoot whoever gets in our way and then throw down a shot of Whiskey.  

I try to often explain that gun ownership is a choice not a mandate.   I also try to clear up the image that everyone wants to shoot everyone … because although we may want to sometimes take someone out in anger… we usually don’t, most of the time.   I also try to inform them of how serious the punishment is for shooting people and in some states it warrants the death penalty.

I also mention to them that China is not so safe.  They have more people who means more criminals… ahhh! … I read an article from www.factsanddetails.com that stated

Crime has been increasing at a rate of 10 percent a year since the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the Deng reforms were introduced. Economic reforms and growth has been accompanied by an increase in petty crime, drug abuse, prostitution, truck hijacking and even kidnaping. Rates of serious crime, especially murder and kidnaping, have increased a lot, especially in Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai, but are still very low.

I tend to disagree a little, I feel there is a lot of crime just not a lot of it is reported to the police or the police are bribed and it gets hushed. 

 A few weeks ago my laptop was stolen out of the school office, someone just walked in and pretended like they belonged there and walked out with my laptop, it was reported to the police.  (I was not happy..and they are lucky I did not go ghetto)

However,  It wasn’t a few days later that a co-worker had her bike stolen from outside the local McDonald, (not reported) and another co-worker had her cell phone stolen from her on the bus (not reported) … not long ago my husband and I were in Shanghai and his wallet had been picked while we were walking down the street, even though it was strapped to his stomach in a fanny pack.  (now that is talent… yet again not reported). Yet another friend was walking down the street in Shanghai with her Ipod in her pocket and the headphones around her neck, and when she got to the corner she noticed the Ipod was missing but she still had the headphones…. amazingly skillful these criminals.   Most of these crimes are not reported because there are so many people in China the police do not have time for simple things like pickpockets or thefts, so they are not important to them.

Everyday I see, beggars trying to get your attention while someone else tries to pick your pocket.   I have seen men beating their wives and no one thinks this is a crime (also not worth the policeman’s time), I have read articles after articles of people cutting up others with kitchen knives (which they blame on mental illness..there must be a lot of mentally ill people over here….), dead bodies being found, and people and children missing from kidnapping or what other crazy mess.   But they still say the crime is low in China.

I even had a co-worker state that she couldn’t go out with a guy because he practiced Gung Fu and if he got angry he would beat her too badly…  unbelievable.   I guess in China somethings do not count as a criminal act.  For example,  I had a fellow foreign teacher get hit by a truck.  Yes, a big construction sized truck when he was riding his bicycle to school.  He is okay a little stunned, but his bike did not fair well.  The driver just kept going… slowed down looked back and just continued on.  (is this not a crime?)…

I am told everyday by friends and co-workers to be careful, don’t go out too late, carry your purse close to you, really take care… these are not things you say to people when your country is so safe.

I read in the same article mention above on the www.factsanddetails.com that

The crime rate tripled between 1984 and 2004. The total number of criminal cases rose 13 percent to 2.2 million between 1998 and 1999. In 2004, there were more than a million serious crimes. In 2006 there was a rise in the number of “major criminal cases” including explosions, kidnappings and homicides, with crimes being committed by younger and younger people.  

 Foreigners are generally not victimized by violent crime. If they are and the criminals are caught they are dealt with harshly. In 2000, two men who robbed a Shanghai-based American diplomat and one man who robbed two Dutch tourists for about $80 worth of Chinese currency were sentenced to death…

Widely publicized cases include one in which a 16-year-old Beijing high school students killed his mother for “being too strict” and took $50 from her pocket and headed to an Internet café. In another case a 15-year-old Beijing student stabbed a friend 17 times with a fruit knife for flirting with her boyfriend. In Guanxi, a 23-year-old student was executed after killing four roommates with a hammer over a card game. Another youth was caught pouring battery acid on zoo animals.

This is so sad.  Many blame the increase in crime on the influence of Western culture and some say it is the increase in wealth of some Chinese in the larger cities and the poor are becoming even poorer.

The increase is blamed on broken homes, lack of parental control, too much pressure on kids to excel. One study found that 60 percent juvenile criminals were drop-outs and 60 percent had truancy records. The Communist Party blames the problem on “spiritual pollution” from foreign movies and television programs…

All I know… is that I am so, so glad that guns are not allowed in China because if they were there would be great civil unrest and crazy people would be shooting each other all over the place.  Chaos.. would ensue……

What has happened to the peaceful people we use to see in the old chop-suey, Gong Fu movies?  What about the tranquil people who just contemplated the meaning of life?  Why have they all gone Gangsta’?   Is it Western influence that has caused such an extreme change…. or have the Chinese people just began to progress naturally… and as in the animal kingdom… it is survival of the fittest.

To read the entire article on the crime in China please visit www.factsanddetails.com

until next time….

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