From the Readers

Why don't people respect the law?

Updated: 2011-03-22 14:00
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Comment on "Behavior that calls for harsh punishment" (China Daily, March 16)

China is not short on laws; it is short on law enforcement! People generally don't respect the law because they know that law enforcement is lax or even non-existent! Our local TV station often reports that people openly break the law and call upon relevant departments to take action. Surely it is the duty of the enforcement officials to act even without being told by the media to do so!

Another reason for failure to respect the law is probably custom and lack of education on respecting the law. People don't seem to have the culture of respecting laws; this can only be corrected through harsh penalties! Some people take a chance by breaking the law, first because they think they won't get caught, and second, even if caught, the penalty is not stiff enough. That's where harsh punishment is needed!

Dare I say there is also a clear element of selfishness within society; it's almost always self over the community. For instance, motorists would beat red lights, drive against the flow of traffic, park on walkways, don't give way to pedestrians at crosswalks, etc., all for their own convenience, disregarding the rights of other road users! Smokers light up anywhere they like, even in clearly marked no-smoking places; and dog owners don't clean up their dog poo from public walkways. This seems to be a cultural thing. Five thousand years of Chinese civilization has not produced people who respect the rights of others! How sad!

It's time for the government to spend more time and effort on getting people to behave in a socially acceptable manner, for the good of the whole community!! It must be a national, concerted and continuous effort that should be spearheaded by top leaders. That's my observation!

Observer, on China Daily webiste

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