Crime, Punishment, and the Prison in Modern China, 1895-1949 / Edition 1

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Overview

Based on extensive research and many newly discovered sources, Crime, Punishment, and the Prison in Modern China examines the radical changes in Chinese society during the first half of the twentieth century through the lens of the Chinese prison system. More than a simple history of prison rules or penal administration, this book explores the profound effects and lasting repercussions of the superimposition of Western-derived models of repentance and rehabilitation on traditional Chinese categories of crime and punishment. A society's prisons reflect much about its notions not only of law and order and the rights of the individual, but of human nature itself, its tractability and capacity to change. In China during the tumultuous years from 1895 to 1949, these notions were transformed in dramatic ways.

Frank Dikötter identifies penal reform as a radical modern tool to achieve an indigenous Chinese vision of social cohesion and the rule of virtue. Modernizing elites in China viewed the reformation of criminals as a constitutive part of a project of a national regeneration in which good order, economic development, and state power could only be obtained by shaping obedient subjects. This groundbreaking account of the evolution of Chinese penal theory is brought together with a richly textured portrait of daily life behind bars. Petty villains, abusive guards, ambitious wardens, and idealist reformers people its pages and vividly trace China's complicated movement from empire to republic to communist state.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

According to Dikotter, the development of the modern Chinese prison system reflects enormous Western influence and traditional beliefs.

American Historical Review - Jerome Bourgon

Thanks to painstaking work in the archives, Dikotter is able to usher his readers into the Chinese prison. He follows individual inmates and provides many details on their daily life, social and educational backgrounds, health, and sanitary conditions... [A] useful work for specialists of the penal systems of Asia.

Time Magazines Literary Supplement
An excellent book, simultaneously meticulous and passionate. Dikötter is a scholar who has retained his passion as well as his ideological skepticism. His fundamental principle is contained in one phrase — 'the prison is a failed invention of modernity.'
American Historical Review
Thanks to painstaking work in the archives, Dikotter is able to usher his readers into the Chinese prison. He follows individual inmates and provides many details on their daily life, social and educational backgrounds, health, and sanitary conditions... [A] useful work for specialists of the penal systems of Asia.

— Jerome Bourgon

Times Literary Supplement

An excellent book, simultaneously meticulous and passionate. Dikötter is a scholar who has retained his passion as well as his ideological skepticism. His fundamental principle is contained in one phrase -- 'the prison is a failed invention of modernity.'

Choice

According to Dikotter, the development of the modern Chinese prison system reflects enormous Western influence and traditional beliefs.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231125086
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/22/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank Dikötter is a lecturer in history at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is the author of Imperfect Conceptions: Medical Knowledge, Birth Defects, and Eugenics in China (Columbia) and Sex, Culture and Modernity in Modern China.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

IntroductionThe Prison in Modern HistoryNational Unity, Moral Education and Social CohesionFor a Cultural History of the Prison in ChinaThe Elusive Voice of the Prisoner1. The Emergence of a Modern Penal SystemThe Movement for Prison Reform in the Late Qing (1895-1911)Imprisonment in Late Imperial ChinaMonuments of Modernity: Foreign Prisons ObservedThe Movement for Prison ReformThe Emergence of Training Centres and the First Model PrisonsCivil Prisons in Early Republican China (1911-1927)The Ministry of Justice and Prison ReformCapital Crimes: Crime and Punishment in Beijing2. Science, Crime and Punishment under the GuomindangThe Science of Punishment (1927-1949)To Secure and Cure: Penal Philosophy in Republican ChinaThe Virtues of Industry: Work in the PrisonSex in the PrisonWalls and Bars: The Silent Weight of Prison ArchitectureWayward Children: Juvenile Correctional PolicyThe Final Punishment: The Debate over the GallowsPrisons under the Beiyang Governments: The Examples of Fengtian and Jiangsu ProvincesConclusionThe Science of Crime (1927-1949)Homo Criminalis: The Rise of CriminologyHeredity, Environment and Individual Responsibility in CriminilogyBorn Criminals: Eugenics and the Biology of CrimeThe Measure of Crime: Fieldwork in the PrisonThe Transparency of Crime: Yu Xiuhao and the Science of Criminal InvestigationThe Imprint of Crime: Criminal Identity, Fingerprints and Forensic Medicine3. Prison Reform under the GuomindangPrison Reform in the Nanjing Decade (1927-1937)The Ministry of Justice and Penal Administration under the GuomindangLife Behind Bars: Prisons during the Nanjing DecadePolitical Offenders and the Prison SystemPrison Reform at the County LevelWard Road Gaol in ShanghaiThe Prison System during the War (1937-1949)The Destruction of Prisons and the Release of PrisonersPrison Reform during the WarThe Red Cross and Prisoners of WarConvict Colonies and the Reclamation of WastelandPrisons in Occupied ChinaReconstruction after the WarThe Arrival of the CommunistsConclusionAppendix 1: List of Modern PrisonsAppendix 2: Prison Regulations

Columbia University Press

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