Guest Editorial

By Lo, T. Wing; Wong, Dennis Sing-wing | British Journal of Community Justice, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Guest Editorial

Lo, T. Wing, Wong, Dennis Sing-wing, British Journal of Community Justice

The issue is dedicated to criminology in Asia. As a result of globalisation and the recent financial crisis in the western world, Asia has been thrust into the limelight. In the past decade, many Asian criminologists who were educated in the West have returned to their home countries to develop criminology degree programmes and conduct criminological research. However, they face a number of barriers in conducting comparative research at home:

1. Differences in language: Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, India and the Islamic countries all speak different languages, resulting in publishing locally rather than internationally in journals in the English language. Some examples of these journals are: the Indian Journal of Criminology; the Japanese Journal of Sociological Criminology; and Crime and Criminal Justice International of Taiwan.

2. Diversity in culture and religion: Neighbouring nations have their own religions, such as Hinduism, Confucian, Islam and Buddhism, which guide their own criminal justice philosophy and policies.

3. Uniqueness in crime control and rehabilitation: As a result of diversity in culture and religion, every country has its own focus and rationale in law enforcement and crime control. For instance, Singapore has a higher incarceration rate than many less economically-developed Asian nations because of its unique policing strategy and sentencing policy.

4. Resistance to research: Research data in many Asian nations is not available to the public or not made transparent; crime data is usually politically sensitive (Liu, 2009).

John Braithwaite once said:

   An Asian Society of Criminology has long been needed to match the
   strength of innovation in criminal justice effectiveness in Asia
   with research excellence and research community. Journals with an
   Asian focus are also a very important part of this ... [M]aking
   this research community a reality ... will inspire future
   generations of young criminologists. (2009)

With the efforts made by criminologists in Mainland China, Macau, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, India and Pakistan, the Asian Criminological Society was founded in December 2009 in Macau SAR, China. It exists to promote the study of criminology and criminal justice across Asia, and to enhance co-operation in the fields of criminology and criminal justice by scholars and practitioners. It also encourages communication between criminologists and criminal justice practitioners in Asia and the world through publications and conferences, and fosters training and research in criminology and criminal justice in educational institutions and criminal justice organisations (Asian Criminological Society 2011). A website was developed for Asian criminologists to provide advance notice of forthcoming meetings, scholarly conferences, employment opportunities, publications, and criminology programme highlights.

In close association with the Society is the Asian Journal of Criminology, shaped in Hong Kong in 2004-5 and launched in Australia in 2005-6. It aims to advance the study of criminology and criminal justice, promoting evidence-based public policy in crime prevention, and comparative studies on crime and criminal justice. It provides a platform for discussion and the exchange of ideas among criminologists, policymakers, and practitioners, by publishing papers relating to crime, crime prevention, criminal law, medico-legal topics and the administration of criminal justice in Asian countries. The focus is on theoretical and methodological papers with an emphasis on evidence-based, empirical research addressing crime in Asian contexts. It presents research from a broad variety of methodological traditions, including quantitative, qualitative, historical, and comparative methods. Its multidisciplinary approach spans a range of disciplines, including criminology, criminal justice, law, sociology, psychology, forensic science, social work, urban studies, history, and geography (Asian Journal of Criminology, 2011). …

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