Renmin Chinese Law Review
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Renmin Chinese Law Review

Selected Papers of The Jurist (法学家), Volume 4

Edited by Jichun Shi

Renmin Chinese Law Review, Volume 4 is the fourth work in a series of annual volumes on contemporary Chinese law, which bring together the work of recognized scholars from China, offering a window on current legal research in China.
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Chapter 8: Public opinion and expansive application of the crime of endangering public security with dangerous methods

Xu Guanghua

Abstract

Over the past few years, the crime of endangering public security with dangerous methods has been excessively extended to fields about which the public was highly concerned, including road traffic safety, food and drug safety, social security and social order. The application of this crime has been expanded to satisfy appeals for heavy penalties for serious crime by the public. Thus, the crime has been extended to other fields in a confused manner. The boundaries between this crime and others are still vague in judicial practices, where different verdicts in identical cases are notable. Public opinion has promoted the expansion of the application of this crime. As a result, social problems have been judicialized and defendants’ fundamental litigation rights have been ignored. Consequently, opinions have not been delivered based on the facts of cases or the applicability of laws. The judicial practices for accommodating the appeals of public opinion for inflicting serious punishments upon crimes by ‘measuring penalties prior to sentence’ are utilitarian adjudications against legal principles of crimes. To prevent the excessive expansion of the application of this crime, it is necessary to further define the principles for interpreting elastic clauses, to optimize criminal legislation, to attach importance to guiding public opinion and to focus on solving concrete social problems. Keywords: crime of endangering public security with dangerous methods, public opinion, expansive application

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