TRADITIONAL CONFUCIAN VALUES AND
WESTERN LEGAL FRAMEWORKS
THE LAW OF SUCCESSION
Whatever insights there are in the classic writings of Confucianism, the substantive content of Confucian values lies in their concrete and distinctive influences on political and legal institutions in society. Accordingly, the aim of this chapter is to consider how, in relation to the Law of Succession, Confucian values have been or could be given effect through concrete legal institutions that are comparable to those in established Western legal systems.
The law of succession provides a very good window through which to examine the impact of Confucian values, in that inheritance systems are often a function of family structures and cultural values in a society, and are often used by the state to encourage or discourage certain forms of relationships and behavior.
This chapter comprises two theses. The first, descriptive, thesis is to identify the extent to which existing succession laws in predominantly Chinese communities are the result of Confucian influence. It will seek to look for unique features in these laws that can only be justified by Confucianism. In the event that this strong claim cannot be established, it will also consider the weak claim as to whether such features can be said to have resulted from the influence of Confucian values on the minds of the legislators.
Accordingly, the laws in several predominantly Chinese communities1 will be compared to those of their Western counterparts, namely, those of the Western jurisdictions upon which the correspondent Chinese laws are closely based. For example, the chapter will focus on the laws of Hong Kong (in comparison to those of England, its former sovereign) and the laws of____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Confucianism for the Modern World. Contributors: Daniel A. Bell - Editor, Hahm Chaibong - Editor. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. Place of publication: Cambridge, England. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 288.
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