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This week’s vocabulary: The act of making creditors punishable by law is referred to as “criminalizing creditors” when they are accused of “picking quarrels”.
This week's vocabulary: The act of making creditors punishable by law is referred to as "criminalizing creditors" when they are accused of "picking quarrels".

This week’s vocabulary: The act of making creditors punishable by law is referred to as “criminalizing creditors” when they are accused of “picking quarrels”.

their citizens

Examining a municipality’s actions in detaining their residentsbusinesswoman Ma Yijiayi and her lawyers and accusing them of picking quarrels

“demanding payment for a legitimate debt from the delinquent local government.”

institutional bias” against Indigenous peoples

The case has brought attention to the issue of wrongdoing and excessive use of power by the court and law enforcement, specifically the systemic prejudice against Native populations.criminalization of creditors
– In essence, this refers to the usage of government power to intimidate lawful creditors who are simply seeking to collect the debts owed to them.


become increasingly prevalent.
The occurrence of the crime “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” has been on the rise, with it being enforced more frequently and without reason.is included as one of 104 entries in our recently launched ebook,

“The 20th Anniversary Edition of China Digital Times Lexicon”

The complete entry is provided below.

Causing conflict and inciting problems寻衅滋事 xúnxìn zīshì)

“Pocket crime” refers to any actions that cause disruption of social order and is frequently used by authorities as justification for suppressing dissent and the exercise of freedom of speech.

Inciting conflicts and causing disturbances the code

“hooliganism” was a criminal offense in the Chinese criminal code of 1979, but it was later replaced with the offense of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” in the revised code of 1997. This offense includes actions such as attacking, chasing, intimidating, damaging property, or causing disorder in public places. The code was further updated in 2013.

The crime’s extent was expanded by legal authorities.

Spreading fake news on the internet is punishable by law. Those found guilty may face a maximum of five years in jail for minor offenses, and between five to ten years for more serious offenses.

Citizen Journalist”

The term “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” is often broadly applied to target activists, lawyers, journalists, and petitioners, as well as those engaging in less serious offenses such as gambling or drunkenness. In recent years, notable individuals charged with this offense include the “citizen journalist.”Feminist Five

The person, who worked to bring attention to sexual harassment prior to being arrested in March of 2015. #MeToo advocate and reporterHuang Xueqin

They also faced allegations of committing the offense in October 2019, andlater detained

In September of 2021, the individual was charged with “instigating acts against the authority of the state.” The accused party was a member of the business community.Sun Dawu

In November of 2020, he faced accusations of “inciting conflict and causing unrest,” potentially as a result of his involvement in political activism. During this time, he was also referred to as a citizen journalist.Zhang Zhan
A woman in Suzhou was arrested and convicted of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” for documenting the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, she was sentenced to four years in prison. However, this incident occurred in August 2022, when the police charged her with the crime.

To dress in a kimono

Due to an increase in anti-Japanese feelings, there were protests following the A4 White Paper.

In November 2022, numerous youth were arrested and several, including an editor, were taken into custody. are creating a group:

Cao Zhixin and her companions are forming a team.weWeibo bloggers and Uyghurs in Xinjiang

They, too, have been captured for the same accusation.


Criticism of the accusation of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” has been increasing. During a public lecture, Luo Xiang, a well-known professor of criminal law at China University of Political Science and Law, stated that this crime is a deceptive tactic.

a violation of the law

The speaker is concerned that if there is not clear guidance on how to determine and punish the crime, authorities may use it unfairly and selectively. In agreement, a member of a Chinese political advisory body suggests getting rid of the law altogether to prevent harm to the legal system and potential abuse of power.selective enforcement

In August 2023, the highest court, the Supreme People’s Court, will make a decision by the authorities.published an investigation

It was determined that officials in Zhejiang and Fujian were wrongfully using the broad crime classification to punish youth, migrant workers, jobless individuals, and individuals who sought to bring their grievances to higher authorities through unofficial means.

A March 2023 WeChat article

A recent proposal by legal expert and blogger Zhai Zhiyong proposed removing the charge of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” instead of trying to clarify it by making changes. Zhai believes that if a law is commonly misused or applied incorrectly, leading to inconsistencies in the legal system, it indicates a problem with the law itself. Therefore, the most efficient solution may be to completely eliminate this offense, rather than attempting to resolve its vague nature.