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China Seeks End to Public Shaming of Suspects – NYTimes.com

Posted: July 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

"According to the state-run media, the Ministry of Public Security has ordered the police to stop parading suspects in public and has called on local departments to enforce laws in a 'rational, calm and civilized manner,'" Andrew Jacobs reports. Chinese police are under scrutiny with increasing civil unrest being expressed online. "Last October, the police in Henan Province took to the Internet, posting photographs of women suspected of being prostitutes. […] The police later said they were not punishing the women, but only seeking their help in the pursuit of an investigation."

The Chinese public was not placated: "Why aren’t corrupt officials dragged through the streets?" an Internet posting read. "These women are only trying to feed themselves." Public shaming was embraced by the Communist Party. If you think America is better, think again: public shaming is actually being considered in Massachusetts.

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2 Comments on “China Seeks End to Public Shaming of Suspects – NYTimes.com”

  1. 1 Clarisse Thorn said at 1:02 am on July 30th, 2010:

    I dunno, dude. I think public shaming is actually a pretty good strategy for addressing problems that aren’t drastic enough to merit serious legal penalties.

    I’d have hesitations about applying it on a large scale the way China does, because (a) the justice system is unreliable and (b) then a lot of victimless criminals like sex workers will end up experiencing really awful effects that they don’t deserve (of course, I also think sex work should be legal).

    That having been said, a person who views porn in a public library (as the Massachusetts thing is meant to address) is non-consensually violating the boundaries of everyone around them, and violating the rules of the space. If they want to view porn in private, good for them. But in a library? I wouldn’t want to drastically punish someone who viewed porn in a library, but something should happen to them. Public shaming doesn’t sound like such a bad call.

  2. 2 maymay said at 10:57 pm on August 1st, 2010:

    a person who views porn in a public library (as the Massachusetts thing is meant to address) is non-consensually violating the boundaries of everyone around them, and violating the rules of the space

    I agree, Clarisse.

    I wouldn’t want to drastically punish someone who viewed porn in a library, but something should happen to them. Public shaming doesn’t sound like such a bad call.

    I disagree. :)

    Two things: First, public shaming is a very slippery slope, as the Chinese example makes clear (and as the highly sex-negative mainstream American culture does, too). Second, public shaming seems to me to be just as much a violation as viewing porn in a library where that’s prohibited.

    And two wrongs don’t make a right.