Serious violent crimes have fallen in number and proportion to total crimes, with the number of prosecutions dropping by 27.8 percent compared with the previous five years, according to the Supreme People's Procuratorate.
The number of prosecutions for violent crimes such as homicide, robbery and kidnapping in 2022 was the lowest in the past two decades, and the proportion of prosecutions for serious violent crimes among total crimes dropped from 25 percent in 1999 to 3.9 percent in 2022, according to statistics released by the SPP at a news conference held on Wednesday.
Among all crimes, 85.5 percent were misdemeanors with sentences of less than three years in prison. Accordingly, the index of the people's sense of security rose from 87.5 percent in 2012 to 98.6 percent in 2021. China has one of the lowest crime rates and highest sense of security in the world, according to the SPP.
Sun Qian, deputy prosecutor-general of the SPP, said significant changes have been made in the structure of crime, with the number of serious violent crimes having decreased. Among all cases, more than 85 percent were misdemeanors.
Larceny used to rank top in terms of the number of prosecutions until it was replaced by dangerous driving in 2019. Last year, dangerous driving offenses accounted for 18.2 percent of total prosecutions, said Sun.
Yuan Ming, head of the SPP's second procuratorial office, said that serious criminal cases have trended downward, but individual cases of extremely violent crimes still occur.
The procuratorial organs have accurately implemented the policy of tempering leniency with severity, and severely punished crimes that seriously affect people's sense of security, he said.
Prosecutors have made sure that prosecutions are carried out in a timely manner, and that accurate facts and evidence are used during all proceedings to ensure all trials are fair and sentencing appropriate, Yuan said.
In one case, the defendant Xin Long was accused of killing his former girlfriend surnamed Zhang in Dalian of Liaoning province in 2015 after a dispute. Xin was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for intentional homicide in 2016, and successfully appealed the decision in 2018. After subsequent appeals and counterappeals, in December 2022 Xin was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and deprived of his political rights for life.
According to the SPP, cybercrimes, fraud, and financial and securities crimes are becoming more prominent in criminal prosecution.
Last year, procuratorates nationwide initiated prosecutions against 185,000 individuals for financial and securities crimes, an increase of 28.2 percent from the previous five years.
Procuratorates have strictly punished illegal fundraising crimes, fraudulent financial activities to lure the elderly to invest, financial activities related to telecom fraud and relevant criminal activities, and money laundering. Procuratorates also worked closely with the China Securities Regulatory Commission to severely punish securities crimes to ensure the stability and long-term development of the capital market, said the SPP.