Chinese Ritual and the Practice of Law

24 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2014

See all articles by Mary Szto

Mary Szto

Syracuse University College of Law

Date Written: September 10, 2014


While there is much literature about the contemporary practice of law in China, almost no articles discuss the rituals involved. This article describes five common Chinese rituals in the contemporary practice of law: drinking tea, banqueting, drinking alcohol, napping, and karaoke. These rituals are traced to their ancient origins in ancestor worship, traditional Chinese medicine, and Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist thought. Then they are explicated for their contemporary meaning. Properly observed, these rituals promote just governance, harmony, balance, and physical and spiritual wholeness. They should be celebrated and practiced without excess.

Keywords: China, ritual, law, lawyers, practice of law, tea, food, alcohol, nap, karaoke, ancestor worship, Confucius, Daoism, Buddhism, harmony, justice, legal anthropology, traditional Chinese medicine

JEL Classification: I12, K10, K40, L84

Suggested Citation

Szto, Mary, Chinese Ritual and the Practice of Law (September 10, 2014). Touro Law Review, Vol. 30, No. 103, 2014, Available at SSRN:

Mary Szto (Contact Author)

Syracuse University College of Law ( email )

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