Greater China Legal History Seminar Series - "Confucianism and Chinese Law, Past and Present" by Prof. Norman Ho
7 September 2018
<< Recap of 2018-19 Seminars
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. For example, in recent years, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Supreme People's Court Chief Justice Zhou Qiang have both stressed the importance of the Chinese legal tradition as a reference point and basis for China's legal reforms. Thus, given that China's legal tradition was strongly influenced by Confucian norms, engagement with Confucian legal thought and its development in Chinese history is not merely an academic exercise but also has practical importance as well in better understanding contemporary Chinese approaches to law. 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.
About the speaker

Norman P. Ho is an associate professor of law at the Peking University School of Transnational Law ("STL") in Shenzhen, PRC. His research interests broadly are in legal theory and legal history, and he writes specifically in the areas of premodern Chinese legal history and legal theory, comparative jurisprudence, property theory, and Asian-American jurisprudence. He has served as a visiting fellow in the Asian Law Institute (National University of Singapore Faculty of Law) and in the Center for Chinese Law (HKU Faculty of Law). Prior to joining the STL faculty, Norman practiced in the Hong Kong offices of Morrison Foerster and Slaughter and May, where his practice focused on capital markets and private equity transactions. He received his J.D. degree from NYU School of Law and his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Chinese history from Harvard University.

The Hong Kong Law Society has awarded this seminar 1.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points.