Opinion\From Chinese press

Redefine pyramid schemes

China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-16 07:45

Redefine pyramid schemes

Police investigate a pyramid scheme in Dayang town of Hefei, capital of Anhui province in this file photos. [Photo/China Daily] 

It is tragic that three energetic college students eager to find jobs to ease their families' economic burdens died after being lured into pyramid selling schemes.

Lin Huarong, a college student from Central China's Hunan province, was found dead after being tricked into a pyramid scheme in Hubei province, and Li Wenxing and Zhang Chao were found dead in Tianjin last month after being similarly ensnared through fake job advertisements.

Their deaths have sent a huge shock wave through the whole of society, sparking calls for the authorities not to handle pyramid selling schemes as an economic crime.

The 2009 Amendment to the Criminal Law defined pyramid selling schemes as the crime of disturbing the socialist market order, meaning relatively high requirements are needed to put pyramid selling cases on record for investigation.

And given that pyramid schemes are treated as economic crimes, such things as intimidation and coercion are not taken into account, thus efforts to crack down on them have proved inadequate.

Obviously, pyramid selling schemes are different from the crime of tax evasion, which is also defined as the crime of disturbing the socialist market order, according to the 2009 Amendment to the Criminal Law.

Pyramid schemes frequently involve illegally detaining victims, intimidation and violent coercion, thus they are typically a violent crime that can easily lead to a victim's death. This can explain why some have called for those behind the pyramid selling schemes that led to the recent suicides of the three college students to be charged with kidnapping, blackmail and manslaughter.

Underestimating the violent nature of pyramid schemes may lead to more tragedies in the future. The authorities should redefine such schemes as violent crimes and thus deal a harsher blow to those involved. This will more effectively act as a deterrent and so eliminate the long-standing tumor from society.


Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349