The two criminal justice systems that will be discussed in this paper are the United States and the People’s Republic of China. When comparing and contrasting these two systems one should start with the premises that both are instituted in their reciprocal countries in the attempt to curb the proliferation of crime, offenders and deter potential offenders. Both the U.S.’ and China’s criminal justice systems make use of a court system, police enforcement organizations and detention and correctional facilities on a regional biases. However this is as much as similarities go as the two systems are radically different since they are based on ideologically opposing government structures.
The U.S government is based on a free market capitalist economy supported by a representative democracy. On the other hand that of China is founded on a social communist ideology. As for demographic figures, the U.S. has roughly 355 million citizens while China has over one billion, which makes up one fourth of the world population. Klaus Mühlhahn (2009), in his book “Criminal Justice in China”, states that People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) was established as a socialist country in 1949. From that point onwards efforts have been made to enact basic laws concerning criminal justice administration and enforced nationwide.
The U.S. government is hierarchally based on a unified organization where power is shared between the federal and state governments. Therefore this means that the political system secures autonomy of each state in the U.S. but at the same time adopting a centralized government (Gaines and Miller, 2006). The U.S. justice system is derived from the British common law tradition. Common law is the law that is agreed upon by the common people and exists in two forms, Lex Scripta (written law) and Lex non Scripta (unwritten law).
On the other hand Mühlhahn (2009), says that the Chinese justice system is quite difficult to put under one unitary system. This is due to the fact that the Chinese criminal justice system was repeatedly reorganized in the wake of political changes and internal party disputes. Mühlhahn (2009) also notes that the Chinese justice system under socialism is not an independent administrative system but was integrated into a network of social control and political mobilization. The Chinese Criminal Law is based on the ideological precepts of Marxism, Leninism and Mao Zedong. Its tasks are to use punishments to resist against all revolutionary or criminal acts in order to safeguard the system of the people's democratic dictatorship.
The police forces of the United States are the successors of Militias originally instituted in the early colonies to protect the population and control the Native Americans. The different forming States developed their own security forces and these operated autonomously. Major cities instituted their own police forces, which functioned under the control of a city government (Gaines and Miller, 2006).
Currently the U.S. police forces are structured on local/city/county and federal/state levels, thus having a federal system. All local policing duties are shared between local municipalities and counties. Cities, towns and villages have the capability to institute their own police forces, while others, usually rural localities, rely on a county Sheriff's department for the task of enforcement and policing. Usually the size of police forces in the U.S. is directly proportional to the population of the area being controlled. The 50 States forming the U.S. also have their own police forces that are ascribed to different regions and often patrolling undeveloped rural areas. The job of such agencies include investigating crimes against the state such as alcohol licensing violations or welfare fraud, fish and game violations, and highway traffic infractions (Gaines and Miller, 2006).
According to a statistic of the U.S. Department of Justice (2008), on average the ratio of