The ten theses of this conference volume explore the impacts of gender, religion, race and class on traditional Chinese judicial practice.
Zhang Wenjing’s “Women and Litigation in the Tang Dynasty” argues that a woman’s role and status in her family, rather than her gender, is the main factor affecting the court’s ruling. Zang Jian’s “Women in inheritance litigation in the Southern Song Dynasty” points out that human sentiment, ethics, law, and facts are as important as gender in making legal decisions.
Nap-Yin Lau’s “Trials on Religious Crime in the Southern Song Dynasty: A Study of the Qingming Ji” points out some factors contributing to the similarity of the verdicts, such as the restraints of legal institutions. “From Expelling of Heterodoxy to Breaking of Superstition” by Huang Ching-Chia and Hu Hsueh-Cheng deems western study of science as the main force behind the decriminalization of witchcraft.
Duan Lin and Tsai Po-Fang’s “Corporatization of religious entities: the adoption of western legal ideology from the late Ching dynasty to the early Republic” considers political factor, the government’s attitude and the type of religious entity all to have influence on the act of corporatization. “Race factor in judicial practices in the Yuan Dynasty”, written by Liu Xiao, argues that the “Four Class System” was not a written law, and in actual practices, people of different racial origin were more often required to obey their own existing norms and laws.
Joseph Dennis, in his “Legal Education and the Circulation of Legal Texts in Ming and Early Qing Gansu”, explores how minorities in Northwest China improved their legal knowledge. “Evenhandedness and Excess: The Diverse Fates of Ethnic Minorities and Women in Qing Criminal Justice” by Thomas Buoye points out that national policy oftentimes overrode ethnicity and gender and became the dominant factor in the legal practices during the Qing dynasty.
Wu Yan-Hong’s “Xiucai’s participation in judicial practices during the mid-to-late Ming dynasty” argues that xiucais enjoy partial privilege against the ordinary civilians, but not so when facing local and even retired officials. Yuan-Sheng Huang “Towards Equality: An analysis of the prohibition against human slavery in late-Qing and the Republic” considers western ideologies, namely freedom, equality and human dignity, to be the main driving force behind the prohibition of human slavery in China.