Law is a moving system of rules that changes according to a nation’s political and socioeconomic development. To understand the law of the People’s Republic of China today, it is imperative to learn the history and philosophy of the law when it was first shaped. This is a comprehensive introduction to Chinese legal scholarship and the prominent scholars who developed it during the initial decades of the PRC, when the old Chinese legal system was abolished by the newly established Communist government. With responsibilities for full-scale recovery and reconstruction, while cultivating entirely new disciplines and branches of legal studies, the thirty-three leading legal scholars featured herein became the creators, pioneers, and teachers of the new Communist legal system. Through their scholarship, we can see where the field of Chinese legal studies came from, and where it is going.
Nongji Zhang reveals the stories of the most prominent PRC legal scholars, including their backgrounds, scholarly contributions, and important works. This essential tool and resource for the study of Chinese law will be of great use to faculty, students, scholars, librarians, and anyone interested in the field.
The PRC legal system can hardly by understood without knowing the leading legal scholars’ careers, thoughts, critiques, and contributions, which have influenced and reflected the tortuous path of China’s contemporary legal development. Dr. Nongji Zhang’s unique work provides comprehensive coverage of the most influential Chinese legal scholars based on personal contacts with and first-hand information of these scholars. This is a book that needs to be read and used by anyone who wishes to understand the PRC legal system more deeply.
Nongji Zhang’s biographies of pioneering legal scholars in China will act as an important bridge for understanding their contributions to legal discourse, not simply in a Chinese context but globally as well. Her carefully edited selections provide us with intellectual genealogies that have remained opaque outside of China, and remind us that despite political upheavals, serious scholarship on law has continued in China.
Nongji Zhang’s new book is a valuable publication, both as a research tool and as a summary introduction to the first generation of legal scholars in the PRC. Many of the figures introduced in this volume may not be well-known in the English literature but will be of interest to scholars working in the field. It opens the door to vast historical records showing how Chinese legal scholars struggled with the idea of law, rights, and revolution. Now that China is, again, embracing Mao’s revolutionary spirit, it is even more meaningful to bring that earlier history back to light.
- 254 pages
- 6 x 9 inches
- Harvard University Asia Center
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