July 27, 2010

Let's Not be Too Hasty...

...it is after all a time honored tradition!

From the New York Times (excerpts):

BEIJING — The Chinese government has called for an end to the public shaming of criminal suspects, a time-honored cudgel of Chinese law enforcement but one that has increasingly rattled the public.

The new regulations are thought to be a response to the public outcry over a recent spate of “shame parades,” in which those suspected of being prostitutes are shackled and forced to walk in public.

Last October, the police in Henan Province took to the Internet, posting photographs of women suspected of being prostitutes. Other cities have taken to publishing the names and addresses of convicted sex workers and those of their clients. The most widely circulated images, taken earlier this month in the southern city of Dongguan, included young women roped together and paraded barefoot through crowded city streets.

The police later said they were not punishing the women, only seeking their help in the pursuit of an investigation.

Public shaming of the accused and the condemned has been a long tradition in China — one that the Communist Party embraced with zeal during episodes of class struggle and anticrime crusades. Although public executions have been discontinued, provincial cities still hold mass sentencing rallies, during which convicts wearing confessional placards are driven though the streets in open trucks.

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