The Chinese Judge: From Literatus to Cadre (1906-1949)
Glenn D. Tiffert
University of California, Berkeley
October 23, 2011
Knowledge Acts in Modern China: Ideas, Institutions, and Identities, Eddy U., Robert Culp, Wen-hsin Yeh eds., Forthcoming
Since the late Qing, probably no phrase has seized the imagination of legal reformers in China more than 'rule the country by law 以法治国,' and no group has occupied a more central place in their designs than the judiciary. Yet, the judiciary registers only weakly in the large and growing literature on courts and judicial practice in China.
This study explores the dynamics of judicial recruitment, selection and training in republican China, and the impact these had in determining the shape of the modern Chinese legal system. For historians, the study illuminates the rise of a novel professional community that spearheaded the pursuit of modernization in China, and the concomitant reconstitution of the state, learned elites, knowledge and power. For legal scholars, this study furnishes background against which to read the challenges, policies, debates and values that animate judicial reform today, particularly with respect to the relationship between authoritarianism, the rule of law, professionalization and the soaring technical sophistication of the Chinese judiciary.
Finally, this study aims to contribute to the historiographical reformulation of contemporary China’s connection to the past by retexturing our image of the republican era and its role in producing the PRC.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
Keywords: China, law, history, courts, judges, judicial
Date posted: October 24, 2011 ; Last revised: September 15, 2014
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