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Unpublished Paper
Confucianization of Qing Law II
  • Kam C. Wong

In traditional China, the Confucians proposed to govern people with li (rites) and by means of ren (benevolence). The legalists wanted to govern the people with fa (law) and with the use of xing (punishment). Confucianization of the law integrated these two schools of contending philosophical thoughts, i.e., Confucian (“ru jia”) vs. legalist (“fa jia”), in search of a better way to govern China. Confucianization of the law in merging these two schools of thought proposed that: firstly, law should adopt Confucian ethical values and principles, and, secondly, Confucian ethical rules should be enforced by law. Though the Confucianization of law has been variously observed and confirmed as a dominant organization principle to Chinese law, the application and manifestation of the Confucianization of law in imperial courts have not been studied systematically and investigated empirically. This research of first impression investigated how Confucianization of law worked in practice; particularly how the Confucian ethical values, principles, and rules informed judicial decision making norms in the prosecution of Qing speech crime cases. The specific research question posed was whether the “jun-zhi” (“gentlemen”) – officials, scholars, gentry (hereinafter “cultured people”) - as speech crime offenders were treated to more favorable judicial decision norm as suggested by some Confucian scholars.

  • Qing dynasty judical process,
  • Qing law,
  • Qing cases,
  • judicial thinking in China,
  • speech crime in China
Publication Date
Citation Information
Kam C. Wong. "Confucianization of Qing Law II" (2004)
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