©Ingrid Booz Morejohn
Things are relatively quiet for the moment in our part of town, even though I made a posting a while back about some Tibetans stabbing each other here on our street. As for Chinese society as a whole, the country suffers from the same problems as others. Fiction crime writer and journalist Catherine Sampson (based in Beijing and author of newly released The Slaughter Pavilion) posted a China 2008 "murder roundup" on 15 January 2009. Taken from her web blog:
People often ask me how I do research. We subscribe to the excellent Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post . Over the festive season we've let them pile up. In an effort to clear a path to the sofa, I've just had a quick clipping session, paying particular attention to the section that picks up stories from local news around China. Here are some of the grimmer stories I've put away in my files for future reference.
In Yunnan, police have arrested a teacher on suspicion of killing and dismembering a thirteen year old student. Eight other female students are thought to be missing.
In Fujian, a 55-year old teacher has been sentenced to death for raping and killing a seventeen year old student.
A man has been arrested for killing two colleagues and stealing money donated for Sichuan earthquake relief. He said he needed the money to help his girlfriend who'd been forced into prostitution.
In Heilongjiang a seventeen year old girl and her boyfriend have been arrested for robbing and killing the girl's cousin. The girl claimed she was penniless after paying for an abortion.
A 31-year old woman has been sentenced to jail for 11 years for killing her husband's mistress. The court imposed a light sentence because 128 people had signed a petition pleading for leniency.
A man found wandering the streets of Huadian was found to be carrying his wife's head after an argument.
A student slit the throat of his professor in front of a class at the China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing. He has said it was an act of revenge after discovering his girlfriend was having an affair with the professor.
...which only goes to show that Chinese society suffers from the same problems as other countries. With a population of over 1.3 billion this is still quite a modest round of serious crime. Violent crimes against foreigners are still extremely rare. It'll be interesting to see how the economic downturn affects crime on the whole.