A U.S.-based think tank believes China is a paramount factor in all types of transnational crime. Notably, the country is unique for having the governing regime itself contributing to the violations.

In a study released on October 27, Global Financial Integrity pointed out China’s involvement in global crimes has increased in recent years. The rising offenses are associated with the country’s internal affairs, including economic, political, social, and cultural factors.

One example of China’s politically driven crime is state-sponsored forced labor. Most notorious is its treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

As the economy evolves, violations increase as the country abuses new creations from multiple industries, including manufacturing, computer technology, and pharmaceuticals.

Another contributing factor stemmed from Beijing’s policies. For example, the research institute noted that sex trafficking and forced labor in China worsened during the time of the one-child policy and the national household registration system, known as hukou. 

According to a BBC report in 2015, the one-child policy was partly to blame for soaring minor trafficking. With a culture that prefers a male heir, more girls ended up in prostitution, whereas the abduction of boys for adoption increased. Beijing ended the measure in late 2015, 35 years after implementing it.

The traditional Chinese medication industry plays a vital role in the illegal animal trade. Wild animal parts are a common ingredient of the remedies. Despite legislation forbidding such creatures’ consumption, the Asian nation still runs a legitimate multi-billion-dollar global industry. The Chinese Academy of Engineering expects that each year, China’s traditional medicine sector earns $7 billion from the farming of wildlife.

China is as well a global leader in illegal drugs and counterfeit goods. Moreover, it is traditionally a production and trafficking hub for narcotics, with the domestic drug sector thought to be worth $82 billion annually. Meanwhile, China and Hong Kong make up 86% of the illicit market worldwide, with an estimated annual value of $438 billion. 

Regarding intellectual property theft, Global Financial Integrity found that the Asian nation accounts for 50% to 80% of cases globally. Beijing forced technology transfer by introducing legislation and initiatives, including investment, collaborative research, and development. A notable example is China’s Intellectual Property Law, which approves whoever asserts intellectual property first, regardless of the original creator.

Further to the crime, the Chinese regime even compels those living abroad to spy on and steal the intellectual labor of foreign countries. 

President & CEO Tom Cardamone stated, “Over the last several years China has expanded its influence in a broad array of transnational crime areas including trafficking, narcotics and IP theft. The flow of illicit money related to these activities is massive and the impact on global security has been substantial.”

China’s underground financial activity, which began to take off in 2007-2008, has grown into a $10 trillion shadowy financial network. The research institute said the circle covers thousands of financial institutions, businesses, local governments, and hundreds of millions of households.
China has attempted to crack down on shadow banking in recent years due to worries about the hidden risks in the industry’s large volume of complex and possibly hazardous loans. However, Reuters reported that a faltering economy might push shadow lending as companies and people are increasingly strained.

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