Criminal Justice in China
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Criminal Justice in China

An Empirical Inquiry

Mike McConville

The political, economic and social transformations that have taken place in China over the last half-century have had a major impact upon the formal methods, institutions and mechanisms used to deal with alleged criminal infractions. This path-breaking book, based upon the largest and most systematic empirical inquiry ever undertaken in China, analyses the extent to which changes to the formal legal structure have resulted in changes to the law in practice.
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Appendix 8: A note on administrative punishment in China

Mike McConville


1 DEMARCATION BETWEEN CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT AND ADMINISTRATIVE PUNISHMENT2 This is a short note on an important area of punishment regimes that fall outside our research and for which we have no original data. It is necessary to understand, however, that in China, a large proportion of what might be ordinarily seen as ‘criminal’ acts do not come before the courts and are dealt with instead by the police. Thus, Article 15(1) of the Criminal Procedure Law 1996 (CPL 1996) provides that ‘no criminal responsibility shall be investigated if an act is obviously minor, causing no serious harm, and is therefore not deemed a crime’. Similarly, Article 2 of the Security Administration Punishment Law (SAPL) also provides that: With regard to an act of disrupting public order, encroaching upon the right of the person, the right of property or impairing social administration, if it is of social harmfulness and constitutes any crime as provided for in the Criminal Law of the People’s Republic of China, it shall be subject to criminal liabilities. If it is not serious enough to be subject to a criminal punishment, it shall, in accordance with this law, be subject to public security punishment by the public security organ. In other words, unlawful acts are not necessarily dealt with by the formal judicial process in China. Depending on their circumstances/seriousness, they can be either disposed of by the police administratively according to the SAPL or handled according to the procedures as set out in the CPL...

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