"Confucianism and Chinese Law, Past and Present" by Prof. Norman Ho

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The general resurgence of Confucianism in Chinese society today has also been accompanied by growing calls for heightening the relevance of traditional Chinese legal culture in Chinese jurisprudence. This talk examines traditional Confucian views on law and approaches to jurisprudence, starting with a discussion of the legal thought of Confucius and Mencius (the two most important thinkers in the Confucian tradition). It then looks at Confucianism’s influence on case adjudication in the Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and Confucianism’s influence on the Tang Code in the Tang dynasty (618 – 907), which is regarded by many legal historians as the period where the process of “Confucianization of law” reached its highest point. The talk concludes with a discussion of Confucianism’s influence and impact on Chinese legal thought and Chinese law in the 20th and 21st centuries. Ultimately, Prof. Ho hopes to show that there is very strong continuity in Chinese legal thought from antiquity up to the present day, which highlights the resilience of Confucianism in Chinese law.

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