Ethnic Discrimination and Authoritarian Rule: An Analysis of Criminal Sentencing in China

42 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2019 Last revised: 2 Jun 2020

See all articles by Yue Hou

Yue Hou

Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

Rory Truex

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: June 1, 2020

Abstract

This paper presents the first analysis of ethnic discrimination in sentencing patterns in the People's Republic of China, focusing on drug cases in Yunnan province. We posit the ``problem minority" hypothesis, which holds that discrimination in an authoritarian system emerges when an ethnic group becomes associated with behavior that generates social instability. On average, minority defendants in Yunnan have sentences that are about 1.5 to 7.5 months longer than Han defendants that have committed similar drug crimes. Further analysis of data from all provinces reveals that this bias is largest for groups heavily involved in the drug trade, and in provinces with significant minority populations and drugs.

Keywords: authoritarian, ethnicity, China, Yunnan, drugs, judicial politics, courts, discrimination

Suggested Citation

Hou, Yue and Truex, Rory, Ethnic Discrimination and Authoritarian Rule: An Analysis of Criminal Sentencing in China (June 1, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3481448 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3481448

Yue Hou

Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania ( email )

133 S. 36th St.
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://yue-hou.com

Rory Truex (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States

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