All around the world different countries abide by different laws and types of government. Crimes have a universal effect on human society, and with crime comes punishment. The perpetrator of any crime is always expected to receive a punishment that reflects the degree of their crime. (Quick, 2018). However, certain cultures may view certain crimes as more punishable by law than other cultures. Petty crimes may have more extreme punishments like the death penalty in certain cultures like China, or they may consist of fines or jail time in cultures like the United States. Some cultures including Arabs and Middle Eastern ones may even have very little to no punishments at all. Others may use tactics of forgiveness to heal from some of the most horrific crimes ever committed. Throughout the world in different cultures crimes are committed and punishments are decided, but certain cultures have different views and practices for capital crime and punishment.
There are many vast differences between cultures across the globe, but there are many differences between Western cultures and East Asian cultures. Differences between these cultures beliefs and practice for crime and punishment are no exception. Both experience crimes such as robbery, murder, kidnapping, drug possession and rape, but they have different consequences for these types of crimes. (Williams, et al. 2018). One example of a type of crime that occurs in both China and the United States is gang crime. A study was done in Tianjin, China this that examined the characteristics of gang crime, and official punishment in China, and compares them to gang crime reported in the United States. The results of this study concluded that in both the United States and China that the number of younger age-range gangs is low, that the age range of gang members committing crimes increases rapidly in those who are aged between mid-teens through early twenties. There was also a significant association between prior offenses and involvement in gang crime found in this study as well. The only major difference in gang crime between China and the United States is the severity of the punishment. In the United States today, the punishment for gang related crime is a prison sentence anywhere between 5 and 20 years. In China today, the punishment for any gang related crime is the death penalty, and law enforcement has been cracking down on gang related crimes in China ever since the study was conducted. (Zhang et al., 1997).
Across many different cultures and countries, serious criminals have been severely punished with the sentence of death. The use of capital punishment is extremely politically controversial in much of the world today. Roughly 140 nations have eliminated capital punishment, but the death penalty is still employed in many countries like the United States, where 31 of the 50 states allow it as a form of capital punishment. The determination of whether or not the death penalty is available as a possible punishment is done by individual state legislation. Each state has different likeliness whether or not to use the death penalty as a type of capital punishment based on their resources and scarcity of that state. One conducted study compared state resources and scarcity to the likeliness of that state to use the death penalty. IT concluded that states with fewer resources, higher levels of scarcity and lower per capita income are more likely to use the death penalty as capital punishment. (Williams et al. 2018).
In countries like China however, the death penalty is a capital punishment for over 50 crimes including treason, rape, robbery, kidnapping, possession of drugs and homicide. Crimes punishable by the death penalty in China can be both violent or nonviolent acts. Surprisingly most are nonviolent but are still considered to be criminal offences as defined by the Criminal Law of China. The new political policy developing in China is called “Balancing Leniency and Severity,” and is used as a way of exemplifying how politics work in the new era of China and shows how crimes are addressed in judicial decision making. (Trevaskes, 2010).
There are punishments available in both China and the United States for many different types of crimes, especially when it comes to violence. In many Arab cultures however, there is not a lot of information given on violent crimes. This is especially apparent for violence against women in certain Arab cultures like Jordan. One study analyzed 38 court files of murdered women where the victims were killed by one of their male relatives. This study also found that reasoning behind most the murders was “Honor Crime.” This was defined as crime committed against women by their male family members because the women had violated the honor of their family or brought shame upon them. This could have been done by refusing to comply with an arranged marriage, being in a relationship that their family disapproved of, having sex outside marriage, being raped, dressing in an inappropriate way, engaging homosexual relations, or rejecting faith. Cultural norms and practices including the legal practices related to honor crimes support the practice of killing women for sexual misconduct and excuse perpetrators of the crimes from punishment. The reasoning behind Arab countries not having a lot of information on violent crimes against women is because it is culturally and legally supported. (Kulwicki, 2002). Women are killed left and right by their male family members because of honor. This is very different from cultural norms in the United States and China, where perpetrators would not be excused, rather they would face very serious repercussions.
Another common type of crime present in Arab cultures is terrorism. This is a type crime on a global scale that affects other countries. The punishments however, are only limited to the victim countries if they can ever be given. Terrorists and their violence have increased and provide abundant material for the local and international media. The United States of America and its international and local allies were on the project of tackling terrorism and cutting it off at its core, until it became a major area of terrorist groups and starting point for more expansion. It is also well known that most terrorist groups use Islam to justify their violent actions and some even believe that they are the only representatives of Islam. This is not just the belief of these terrorists’, it has now become a popular worldwide opinion. The killing of one man by another man is a horrible thing that every normal human being rejects and denies. The only thing worse than killing itself is the enjoyment of killing. Unfortunately this is what all of the terrorists do in the Arab world. It is extremely dangerous for the innocent families and people living in these types of cultures, where there are little to no punishments for these terrible acts. One example of terrorist sadistic behavior is putting their victim in a cage, pouring gasoline over him and then setting him on fire until death while rejoicing and thanking God for it. A second example is a group of victims who are are locked in a cage, tortured and then dumped in a body of water to drown. One final example is a group of victims with ankle chains around their necks and a rope full of explosives attached to them, which is then detonated so their heads are separated from their bodies. Regardless of the justification given by terrorists for their heinous acts, it is not possible for a normal person to accept it as well as to rejoice in its accomplishment. This shows how truly sadistic and cruel terrorists are. These sadistic acts contradict their justifications towards their religions considering the fact that Islam is a religion of mercy and goes against revenge and barbaric deeds that terrorists commit. Therefore, the crimes committed by terrorists come from the culture they create and live in, not their religious beliefs. (Meftah, 2018).
While the terrorists continue their crimes and actions as part of their religion and culture, the people of South Africa have had time to forgive and forget their violent past due to ideas of religion and culture. From 1948-1994, the political system based on institutionalized racial segregation and discrimination known as Apartheid reigned over South Africa. The National Party took control over South Africa when it won the general election in 1948 and adopted Apartheid as a formal policy. Apartheid is characterized by n authoritarian political culture based on white supremacy. This idea encouraged state repression of Black, mixed, and Asian South Africans in order to benefit of the nation’s minority white population. (Lemon, 2012). Over the years that the National Party ran South Africa, they were able to secure Apartheid through political acts and branches of authority. By the 1960’s, political and physical violence began to emerge more and more. Police officers would kill protestors and boycotters, women and children were shot on their way to church, family members were killed in front of each other as forms of torture. The violence continued for years until the early 1990’s when Nelson Mandela was released from prison and became the first President of South Africa. During this time, those perpetrators who were accused of political violence were granted with Blanket Amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (Battersby-Lennard, 2009). This was run by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who believed that Blanket Amnesty was the best way to bring the perpetrators to justice. The goal Blanket Amnesty was to help victims deal with what happened during apartheid, allow perpetrators to confess and admit their fault, and bring everyone together by the process of healing the Nation. Desmond Tutu believed that the best way to truly bring justice to South Africa was not by punishing criminals with more violence, but by allowing them to admit what they did was wrong and be forgiven. In his foreword, Archbishop Tutu says, “If we can settle individual conflicts, why not abolish war as well? Why not challenge the legitimacy of every expression of violence, whether it is institutionalized, reactive, or random? We humans are made for peace, for harmony, for togetherness, for interdependence – and I have no doubt we can and will achieve it.” (Tutu, 2008).
All around the world across many countries and throughout different cultures crimes are committed and punishments are often given for those crimes. Certain cultures have different views and practices for capital crime and punishment. Some may have extreme punishments such as the death penalty, while others may have time spent in prison. In extreme cases, some may not have punishments because certain crimes are accepted, while others use tactics of forgiveness in order to heal from extreme cases of violence. Overall, crimes and punishments across cultures, religions and countries can ragne vastly, and the results of these vary based on culture.
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