Chinese law

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Chinese law is one of the oldest legal traditions in the world. In the 20th and 21st century, law in China has been a complex mix of traditional Chinese approaches and Western influences.

For most of the history of China, its legal system has been based on the Confucian philosophy of social control through moral education, as well as the Legalist emphasis on codified law and criminal sanction. Following the Revolution of 1911, the Republic of China adopted a largely Western-style legal code in the civil law tradition (specifically German-influenced). The establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949 brought with it a more Soviet-influenced system of socialist law. However, earlier traditions from Chinese history have retained their influence, even to the present.

Law in the People's Republic of China is currently undergoing gradual reform, as many elements inside and outside the country emphasize the need to strengthen the rule of law in China, and international trade and globalization spur transformations in various areas of Chinese domestic law.


Chinese legal tradition

The idea of law

The word for law in classical Chinese was . The Chinese character for denotes a meaning of "fair", "straight" and "just", derived from its water radical. It also carries the sense of "standard, measurement, and model".[1] Derk Bodde and Clarence Morris held that the concept of had an association with yi (義: "social rightness").[2] Yan Fu, in his Chinese translation of Montesquieu's De l'esprit des lois published in 1913, warned his readers about the difference between the Chinese and Western law: "The word 'law' in Western languages has four different interpretations i "rites", "decorum"), (法: "human laws") and zhì (制: "control").[3]

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