The culmination of twenty years of research, this essential book completes distinguished historian Philip C. C. Huang's pathbreaking trilogy on Chinese law and society from late imperial times to the present. The author argues that, despite formal adherence to Western law and legal theory, traditional Chinese judicial practices continue to flourish. Huang draws on a rich array of court records and field interviews to illustrate the surprising strength of traditional Chinese civil justice, as can be seen in societal and cadres mediation, and in court actions with respect to property rights, inheritance and old-age maintenance, and debts. Maoist justice too remains influential, especially its divorce and court mediation practices. Finally, despite the recent massive adoption of Western laws, legal reasoning employed in judicial practice has shown stunning continuity, with major implications for China's future.
Philip C. C. Huang is professor of history emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Preface: Why Do We Need a Different Approach to the Study of Chinese Law? Introduction: The History-of-Practice Approach to Studying Chinese Law Chapter 1: Community Mediation, Past and Present Chapter 2: Centralized Minimalism: Semiformal Governance by Quasi-Officials and Dispute Resolution Chapter 3: Divorce Law Practices: The Origins, Myths, and Realities of Judicial "Mediation" Chapter 4: "Reform" in Evidence Procedure: Reasonable and Unreasonable Practices of Divorce Law Chapter 5: Civil Adjudication, Past and Present Chapter 6: Court Mediation, Past and Present Chapter 7: Whither Chinese Law? Conclusion: Past and Present