HIST 343

Law, Society and Justice in China

An international spotlight has fallen on the Chinese justice system in recent years due to a series of high-profile trials, detentions, and imprisonments. The names and images of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo, "Barefoot Lawyer" Chen Guangcheng, and Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai have graced the cover pages of newspapers and magazines around the world, and their journeys have been fodder for extended discussions and debates over the current state of the Chinese legal system. This course examines the history of law, society, and justice in China from the early imperial era to the present. During the first part of the semester students explore the philosophical underpinnings of traditional Chinese law and the late imperial civil and criminal justice systems. The second part of the course examines the evolution of law during the Republican period as well as the legal system established during the Mao era. The course concludes by using a series of high-profile cases to unpack post-Mao legal reforms, matters of human rights, and the contemporary state of Chinese justice.