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A gavel in a court. [Photo/IC]

The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection and the Year of the Monkey is no exception.

President Xi Jinping has proven

to be a man of his word in fighting corruption, continuing to hunt down many tigers (senior officials) and swatting away swarms of flies (lower-ranking officials). But there is another segment of the population that requires attention. As the cartoon character Pogo said, "We have met the enemy and he is us".

Many people in China appear to have little or no respect for law, and reflect the attitude of Bumble in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist that "the law is an ass".

Xi has pointed out that "strong and effective law enforcement builds a strong nation, while slack law enforcement weakens a nation". This clearly applies to people at all levels.

Disrespect for the law is a cancer in any society.

For example, one of the things that many drivers in large metropolises detest are traffic jams and their inconvenience. Yet one of the main causes of traffic jams is drivers cavalierly flaunting the rules and making an ass of the law.

The worst offenders are drivers who delight in "playing chicken" with pedestrians and bicycles, seeing if they get out of harm's way in time. It appears that these drivers see the lives of others as worthless as the laws that they are knowingly flaunting. And that includes the growing legion of drivers texting while driving, a behavior proven to be as deadly as drunken driving. If people feel contempt for these simple safety rules, they probably feel the same for other more important ones as well.

Browse photography at Denver.Gallery.