U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Political Deviance and Popular Justice in China: Lessons for the West (From Social Control in the People's Republic of China, P 34-42, 1989, Ronald J. Troyer, John P. Clark, et al, eds. - See NCJ-120034)

NCJ Number
A T Turk
Date Published
9 pages
The operation and results of "people's justice" in the People's Republic of China shows not only the problems that nation is experiencing but also the implications and limitations of crime control policies that are based on the assumption that greater citizen participation necessarily means less crime and more justice.
Chinese politics in recent years has been characterized by conflicts between idealists and pragmatists and by the development of a legal system that incorporates both professional and popular controls to deal with deviance. The idealists emphasize the importance of popular justice and informal controls, while the pragmatists, who are currently dominant, are more concerned with formal bureaucratic legalism. Nevertheless, the definition and control of most social deviance has been left mostly to the popular justice institutions. However, crime has risen and political factions have often been able to manipulate popular justice institutions. Thus, the Chinese experience shows that political control from the top and popular justice from the bottom must complement rather than contradict each other if order and progress are to occur. China's history also shows that political control without popular support deteriorates into a rigid and arbitrary oppressive machine that undermines efforts to mobilize the productive energies of the people.