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Chinese Legal System – background to current news

Today’s China Bytes provide background to the recent drama in China over the escape from house arrest in Shandong Province of the blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng: a historical overview of China’s “Legal System” by the late William Jones from a collection of essays* honoring Jerome A. Cohen, whose oped “The Chen Guangcheng Saga: Heavy on Diplomacy – and Luck” was published today in the Washington Post, and a fascinating short article on “Shandong Province” by David Buck. Here, too, is a photograph from the Berkshire Encyclopedia of China, showing Jerry Cohen and Owen Nye teaching in Beijing around 1980.

Photo credit: Jerome A. Cohen Esq. and Owen Nee Esq. teaching at the Beijing City Glass Institute. 1979–1981. Photo by Joan Lebold Cohen.

Shandong Province

By David D. BUCK, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee , Berkshire Encyclopedia of China

Shandong Province is located on the country’s northern coast, across the Yellow Sea from the Koreas, and is home to China’s second-largest provincial population (after Guangdong Province on the south coast). Shandong is home to a large portion of the Huang (Yellow) River and once was home to many Neolithic cultures and ancient philosophers such as Confucius. It is now known for its production of wheat, cotton, and sorghum.
Legal System— History

By William C. JONES (deceased), Washington University in St. Louis, Berkshire Encyclopedia of China

Since the third century, China has always consisted of a strong central government. The emperor’s decrees were law, changing only with dynasties, until 1912’s revolution. Throughout the modern era, one concept has remained: the government as a centralized bureaucratic autocracy.

These are just two of the 800 articles you’ll find in the 5-volume, 2,800-page Encyclopedia of China, which we’ve packed with hundreds of valuable background articles for use in teaching and research. The big print set is available at US$675 (discounts may apply). Digital editions are also available through major library vendors. For teachers and other individuals, Berkshire has created, which contains the entire encyclopedia plus much more.


One thought on “Chinese Legal System – background to current news

  1. China is more of an urban society from what we saw -well fed, cltoehd and housed with jobs. Just returned yesterday from Beijing, Xian, Chonguing, Shibaozhai, Qutang, Three Gorges Dam, Shanghai. High end stores in major cities, very clean cities; wonderful roads, bridges, tons of urban development.

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