Tradition of the Law and Law of the Tradition: Law, State, and Social Control in China

Tradition of the Law and Law of the Tradition: Law, State, and Social Control in China

Tradition of the Law and Law of the Tradition: Law, State, and Social Control in China

Tradition of the Law and Law of the Tradition: Law, State, and Social Control in China

Synopsis

Through her investigation of the Maoist concept of revolutionary justice and the tradition of conformist acculturation in China, the author constructs a fascinating counterpoint to traditional Western arguments about social control.

Excerpt

Confucianism and communism may not seem to have much in common, but in contemporary China there is a remarkably new conversion of these concepts into compatibility. the values of Li laid against the maxims of Marxism are found to be fertile ground for political ideology and even a thriving twentieth-century morality.

Crime, criminality, and punishment are universal terms that occupied the earliest writings of Western civilization, as in Sumerian literature that Professor Samuel Kramer brought to our attention. As a young man, Confucius (550–479 B.C.) was given the first nonhereditary post as Minister of Crime in the government of Lu. Crime is part of civilization, whether Western or Eastern.

Xin Ren has brought Chinese concepts of philosophy and law and of past and present cultures of Confucian and communist thought about deviance and crime into contemporary focus. There is at once both a blending and a bleeding opposition of these mighty concepts. I have scrupulously studied the criminal code of China since 1979 and in it I have found elements of Confucianism and elements of the traditional Marx-Lenin-Mao philosophy.

Life is precious and, therefore, crime is anathema both to Confucianism and to communism. the current criminal law is intertwined with old philosophical prescriptions and prohibitions of behavior. Confucian emphasis on the morality of the leadership as exemplary for the whole society is merged with the Legalists (Fa jia) in the calculus of contemporary Chinese Communism. This volume by Xin Ren has analyzed and laid these mergers clearly before us.

The author was one of my most brilliant students—a shining example for those who follow her. I am pleased to be part of her biography.

Marvin Wolfgang University of Pennsylvania . . .

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