Combating crime is a major social issue confronting every country in the modern world. Reforming criminals into lawabiding citizens is important for the survival of a civilization and the advancement of a society.

With a population of 1.1. billion, China is the most populous country in the world. Its crime rate is nevertheless much lower than the world average due to a series of measures adopted by the political power of the people to stimulate growth in the economy and maintain social stability. In spite of this, many crimes still take place every year, with tens of thousands of people convicted by organs of justice according to the law. The lawful punishment and reform of criminals remains an arduous task in China.

China's basic goals in criminal reform are to turn offenders into a different kind of person, one who abides by the law and supports himself or herself with his or her own labour, and to re-establish these people as free citizens in society. China has been successful in reforming the majority of its criminals, including the last feudal emperor and various war criminals, turning them into unoffensive, socially-beneficial, law-abiding citizens. This has safeguarded the country's social stability, economic development and national security, at the same time effectively protecting the rights of its citizens. China has been hugely successful in efforts to reform its criminals.

China has set up its system of principles, policies and laws for the reform of criminals based on many years of experience, representing an important step in the development of a socialist legal system. This introductory look at criminal reform in China should help the people of the world better understand our socialist system with Chinese characteristics.