If you live in Kunming, you've probably seen one of the circulars — whether taped to apartment doors, splashed across billboards or handed out directly by employers. Yunnan, and China generally, are waging a war against organized crime. You should know this, you should help out, you should be vigilant, scream the signs.
So what is this all about? For starters, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the initiative in 2018 with the intent of disrupting gangs and crime syndicates. Over the past year, "more than 10,000 alleged gangsters have been brought to trial across the country [...and] police have smashed 6,000 gangs", according to a report by the The Economist.
Offering up an accounting of how things are going here in Yunnan, several bureaucrats associated with the provincial Information Office took time April 23 to host a press conference. There, they publicly tallied the thieves, racketeers, smugglers and other miscreants provincial police have arrested and taken to trial recently.
Most of the criminal activities enumerated involved some sort of malfeasance along Yunnan's long and often porous border. The litany of 36 specially selected illegal deeds included in the press conference ran the gamut from kidnapping, human trafficking, drug running, operating cross-border gambling facilities and other activities deemed "threats to China's political stability".
All told, since Xi's policy came into effect, provincial authorities have arrested hundreds and tried them in dozens of court cases. Once verdicts are handed down in the most severe of these cases, people's political rights can be suspended for life and they may face prison time, confiscated cash and seized property. In the past 18 months, police have seized 54 million yuan worth of money and valuables during the prosecution of offenders.
This is not the first time and presumably not the last that this sort of publicity will bubble up out of Yunnan courtrooms. Xi's mandate to "resolutely root out black and evil forces" is slated to continue through 2021, and Kunming has its own bit of history with law enforcement vernacular of this sort.
In 2010, the Spring City's wunderkind Party secretary, Qiu He (仇和) pushed an agenda similar to Xi's current one, saying his city would resolutely be "fighting against evil forces". Qiu himself fell afoul of the law six years after his quest to vanquish evil, confessing to embezzling millions and receiving nearly 15 years in prison for his crimes.
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