The Chinese Mafia

The Chinese Mafia : Organized Crime, Corruption, and Extra-Legal Protection

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Utilising individual interviews and focus group discussions, primarily from two Chinese cities, The Chinese Mafia: Organized Crime, Corruption, and Extra-Legal Protection contributes to the understanding of organized crime and corruption in the Chinese context, filling a significant gap in criminological literature, by investigating how extra-legal protectors-corrupt public officials and street gangsters-emerge, evolve and operate in a rapidly changing

China's economic reforms have been accompanied by a surge of social problems, such as ineffective legal institutions, booming black markets and rampant corruption. This has resulted in the rise of extra-legal means of protection and enforcement: such is the demand for protection that cannot be fulfilled by state-sponsored institutions. This book develops a new socio-economic theory of mafia emergence, incorporating Granovetter's argument on social embeddedness into Gambetta's economic theory of
the mafia, to suggest that the rise of the Chinese mafia is primarily due to the negative influence of guanxi (a Chinese version of personal connections) on the effectiveness of the formal legal system. This interplay has two major consequences. First, the weakened ability of the formal legal system
sees street gangsters (the 'Black Mafia') providing protection and quasi law enforcement. Second, it allows for escalating abuse of power by public officials; as a result, corrupt officials (the 'Red Mafia') sell public appointments, exchange illegal benefits with businesses and protect local gangs. Together, these outcomes have seen street gangs shift their operations away from traditional areas (e.g. gambling, prostitution and drug distribution), whilst corrupt public officials have moved to
offer illegal services to the criminal underworld, including the safeguarding organized crime groups and protection of illegal entrepreneurs.

A study of crime and deviance located within a fast growing economy, The Chinese Mafia offers a unique understanding of these activities within contemporary Chinese society and a new perspective for understanding the interaction between corruption and organized crime. It will be of interest to academics and students engaged in the fields of criminology and criminal justice, sociology, and political science, with particular interest for those researching China and Chinese politics and
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 147 x 222 x 22mm | 462g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198758405
  • 9780198758402
  • 1,063,116

Table of contents

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Review quote

Wang's book should be warmly welcomed, given the rise of a security state and the conservative turn of the Chinese authoritarian regime in recent years. The crackdown on human rights lawyers, the tightened media control, and declining academic freedom all make the current campaign against corruption, and by extension the Chinese mafia, far less effective in the long run, as the book convincingly argues. * Jianhua Xu, The China Journal * The book, which is a compelling amalgam of theoretical robustness and meticulous empirical detail, manifests the author's unique insight in the phenomenon of the 'Chinese Mafia', his unrivalled knowledge, keen intelligence and confidence in almost every page. ... His work is a rich, erudite and stimulating discussion; a criminological gem, which will certainly find its way as an essential reading on Chinese organized crime and corruption. * Georgios A Antonopoulos, Theoretical Criminology *
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About Peng Wang

Peng Wang is Assistant Professor of Criminology at the University of Hong Kong. He holds an MA in Criminology and Criminal Justice and a PhD in Law from King's College London. His research interests include organized crime, police corruption, military corruption and extra-legal governance.
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