Michael Dutton


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The End of the (Mass) Line? Chinese Policing in the Era of the Contract

This article takes up the issue of how the money-making ethos and increased social mobility of market reform undermine the old Maoist social control structures, just at a time when the floating population has engendered new fears and realities of crime. Resentment over growing inequality has precipitated riots. The world drug trade has turned the mountains and rain forests of southwestern China into a region of rampant crime, drug trafficking, gun running, prostitution, and the spread of the AIDS virus. To combat the new “dangerous criminal class,” Chinese authorities have tried to professionalize their policing by introducing a monetary or contract incentive system. In the best neoliberal fashion, the Chinese police also introduced privatization. The commodification of policing is largely a response to pressures from foreign business investors. Unlike the Pinkerton or Wackenhut “rent-a-cops,” Chinese private security companies are wholly owned contingents of the local Public Security ministries, with the circulation of personnel one would expect.

police — China; police reform — China; crime and criminals — China; China — economic policy; contracts; local government — China; law — China

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 27, No. 2 (2000): 61-105