The Politics of Crime, Punishment, and Social Order in East Asia

Posted: 14 Nov 2010

See all articles by David Leheny

David Leheny

Princeton University - Department of East Asian Studies

Sida Liu

University of Toronto; American Bar Foundation

Date Written: December 2010


Recent scholarship on crime, law, and society in China and Japan has addressed the politics of globalization and legal reform in both countries, but political context is not self-revealing. The literature on China has focused too often on the role of the police in an authoritarian state without sufficiently taking into account the changing balance of power among judicial actors, which may be more important for understanding the shape and direction of Chinese legal reform. In contrast, the literature in Japan has recently begun to grapple with the new politicization of criminal justice but could do more to show how these concerns are intimately connected to deeper unease about the country's future. In suggesting new ways of analyzing the politics of criminal justice in China and Japan, this article also argues for increased attention to the social consequences of crime's increasing political saliency, including patterns of marginalization and constructions of deviancy.

Suggested Citation

Leheny, David and Liu, Sida, The Politics of Crime, Punishment, and Social Order in East Asia (December 2010). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 6, pp. 239-258, 2010. Available at SSRN: or

David Leheny (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of East Asian Studies ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Sida Liu

University of Toronto ( email )

725 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2J4


American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States


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