Less arrest or death penalty and more leniency

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The ethnic policy contributes to guaranteeing the human rights of minorities and safeguarding the national unity.

The policy of "less arrest or death penalty and more leniency (两少一宽) was formulated in the No. 5 document by the Central Committee of the CPC in 1984. It is an ethnic criminal policy dealing with ethnic minority criminals and its principal spirit is to offer more leniency to these criminals.

(1) "Less arrest" is applied when minority criminal is charged with misdemeanors, which are fixed-term imprisonment, criminal detention, public surveillance or supplementary punishment. It refers to the principle of avoiding imprisonment if the offender can be either sentenced to a lesser term of imprisonment or receive a lighter punishment, according to the rules of arrest in the 40 Article of Criminal Procedure Law. (2) "Less death penalty" is applied when minority criminal commits a felony and is sentenced to death. It refers to a potential reprieve if the death penalty is not immediately implemented. (3) "More leniency" means that leniency should be within and based on the rules of statutory sentences.

In view of Chinese history, minority areas fall far behind Han areas, no matter in economic development, education or culture. The backwardness is reflected in the prevalence of crime, weak social restraints on crime and strong incentives for crime to occur. For example, some obsolete forms of marriage which are the remnants of polygamy can encourage criminal acts such as hooliganism, rape and bigamy in minority areas. The ethnic policy of"less arrest or death penalty and more leniency" serves as flexible treatment of minority criminals from the prospective of circumstances on the ground.

"Less arrest or death penalty and more leniency" contributes to guaranteeing the human rights of minorities and safeguarding the national unity. However, this policy has provoked tremendous disputes in the last few years because it violates the basic principle of "All people are equal before law", causing judicial inequality among different nationalities. In this case, it is difficult to deal with criminal cases when it comes to minority offenders. Han Chinese also complain that this policy may encourage more crime rather than prevent it.