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Kidnapping and Selling Women and Children: The State's Construction and Response

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 5 Issue: 12 Dated: December 1999 Pages: 1437-1468
Sarah Biddulph; Sandy Cook
Date Published
32 pages
This article examines the kidnapping and selling of women within China, discusses the ways in which official perceptions about the causes of the problem and the best methods for dealing with it have shaped the development of the legal regulatory framework, and examines structural and practical problems of enforcement.
Kidnapping and selling women and the purchase of young females to be secondary wives or concubines have longstanding activities in China. The actual extent of kidnapping is difficult to determine. However, partial figures indicate that the numbers are large. Kidnapping has also gradually developed into a much more organized activity. The geographical scope of kidnapping is increasing. Explanations for the increase in kidnapping have focused on broad social and economic factors, as well as the depravity and lack of morality of the individuals involved in the trade. The subordinate position of women in society is one of the most obvious foundations for this problem. The increased rate of kidnapping and selling of women has caused the government to conduct a series of campaigns in an attempt to eliminate it. These activities include criminal laws, which focus on the intention to sell and the overriding of the woman's free will. The country's moral opprobrium directed against kidnappers is clear. However, some ambivalence exists about the extent of the wrongdoing by people who purchase a woman, fail to rescue her, or actively prevent her rescue. Perhaps the government should focus as much on re-educating people about women's personal and legal rights and their equal position in society as on active law enforcement efforts against kidnapping. Note and 30 references (Author abstract modified)


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