Chinese Civil Justice, Past and Present [NOOK Book]

Overview

The culmination of twenty years of research, this essential book completes distinguished historian Philip C. C. Huang's pathbreaking trilogy on Chinese law and society from late imperial times to the present. Huang shows how, at the level of ideology and theory, traditional Chinese law has been rejected time and again in the past century by China's own lawmakers, first in the late Qing and the republic, then in the revolutionary and Maoist periods of the People's Republic, and finally again in the current reform ...
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Chinese Civil Justice, Past and Present

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Overview

The culmination of twenty years of research, this essential book completes distinguished historian Philip C. C. Huang's pathbreaking trilogy on Chinese law and society from late imperial times to the present. Huang shows how, at the level of ideology and theory, traditional Chinese law has been rejected time and again in the past century by China's own lawmakers, first in the late Qing and the republic, then in the revolutionary and Maoist periods of the People's Republic, and finally again in the current reform era. Considering legal theory alone, modern Chinese law can only be Western law, and past Chinese law—traditional or Maoist—can have no role under the leadership's current preoccupations with modernization and marketization.

But what has actually happened historically at the level of judicial practice and the daily lives of common people? In exploring this central question, Huang draws on a rich array of court records and field interviews to illustrate the surprising strength of traditional Chinese civil justice. Albeit much altered, its legacy can be traced in informal and semiformal community justice (e.g., societal and cadres mediation), as well as in multiple spheres of court-administered formal civil justice, including property rights, inheritance and old-age maintenance, and debt obligations. He also identifies the influence of Maoist justice, especially its divorce and civil court mediation practices. Finally, despite the reform era's massive importation of Western laws, legal reasoning employed in judicial practice has shown remarkable continuity, with major implications for China's future legal system.
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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review
This rich study . . . represents the culmination of two decades of research and publication. . . . [Huang] devotes most of the book to demonstrating the ways in which the adaptation of earlier Chinese legal practices has nonetheless continued down to the present, creating a distinctively Chinese modernity. . . . Huang makes a strong case for how crucial it is to understand China’s past if we are to make sense of the present and make predictions for the future. This book will be of great interest not only to those interested in law, Chinese and comparative, but also to all wrestling with the complicated and still unresolved question of the nature of modernity, Chinese and other.
— Joanna Waley-Cohen
Journal of Asian History
We are much indebted to Professor Huang for a major advance in our knowledge and understanding of Chinese civil law.
Chinese Review International
Philip Huang has established a milestone in the study of Chinese civil justice. No future research into the subject for any historical period can seriously proceed without first consulting this book (or trilogy as a whole).
China Review International
Philip Huang’s new book completes his research on the subject over the past twenty years and enriches Chinese legal history and legal studies with new perspectives. The most significant contribution of the book lies in the arguments and evidence presented that compel one to move beyond a binary view, informed by Max Weber, of the modernist Western legal system vis-à-vis the traditionalist Chinese legal system. At the same time, based on substantial case records . . . the book reveals convincingly the continuity in Chinese civil justice from the Qing dynasty to the post-Mao reform era, both in legal practices and in an underlying mode of thinking. . . . Philip Huang has established a milestone in the study of Chinese civil justice. No future research into the subject for any historical period can seriously proceed without first consulting this book.
William T. Rowe
In this book Huang demonstrates the extent to which key aspects of late imperial civil law—the deliberate gulf between representation and practice and the emphasis on community mediation—have survived the hegemonic weight of 'modern' Western formal law under the Chinese Republic, and again in the current reform era. This is a magnificent example of the uses of history to understand the puzzles of contemporary reality.
Donald Clarke
This wide-ranging, judicious, and thought-provoking volume is a fitting capstone to Philip Huang's previous work on law in Qing and Republican China. Huang makes a strong and convincing case for the relevance of Chinese legal history to law in modern China while offering fascinating insights into the modern Chinese legal system.
American Historical Review - Joanna Waley-Cohen
This rich study . . . represents the culmination of two decades of research and publication. . . . [Huang] devotes most of the book to demonstrating the ways in which the adaptation of earlier Chinese legal practices has nonetheless continued down to the present, creating a distinctively Chinese modernity. . . . Huang makes a strong case for how crucial it is to understand China’s past if we are to make sense of the present and make predictions for the future. This book will be of great interest not only to those interested in law, Chinese and comparative, but also to all wrestling with the complicated and still unresolved question of the nature of modernity, Chinese and other.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742567719
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/16/2009
  • Series: Asia/Pacific/Perspectives
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 316
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Philip C. C. Huang is professor of history emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Table of Contents

Preface: Why Do We Need a Different Approach to the Study of Chinese Law?
Introduction: The History-of-Practice Approach to Studying Chinese Law
Chapter 1: Community Mediation, Past and Present
Chapter 2: Centralized Minimalism: Semiformal Governance by Quasi-Officials and Dispute Resolution
Chapter 3: Divorce Law Practices: The Origins, Myths, and Realities of Judicial "Mediation"
Chapter 4: "Reform" in Evidence Procedure: Reasonable and Unreasonable Practices of Divorce Law
Chapter 5: Civil Adjudication, Past and Present
Chapter 6: Court Mediation, Past and Present
Chapter 7: Whither Chinese Law?
Conclusion: Past and Present
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