Monday, January 15, 2007
Street crime in China
One of the things we have been telling students in preparation for the China trip is that there is virtually no street crime in China. This claim is belied by this report about Guangzhou, the industrial southeastern city (and sometime namesake of our tiny village of Canton) recently flooded with migrants from the countryside. The times reports that there has been a surge of muggings and purse snatching in Guangzho, and the city has responded by banning motorcycles, which are associated with immigrants and alleged gang activity. Banning motorcycles seems to have driven some immigrants out of town, but I can't see at all how it would reduce crime. It seems more a symptom of class tension than an effective policy, almost as if San Antonio had responded to a crime wave by banning taquerias. You can't call Guangzho's laws racist, because everyone involved is Han Chinese, but it represents a similar prejudice.