Law, Justice and Codification in Qing China. European and Chinese Perspectives. Essays in History and Comparative Law

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The present collection of five critical essays is a companion volume to the republication of the rare 1812 Italian translation of the Da Qing lü li (Ta Tsing Leu Lee in the English original transliteration), the Qing ‘penal code’, which was first translated into English by the British Sinologue and East India Company employee George Thomas Staunton in 1810. Staunton’s text served as the basis for later European translations, including the Italian one. The digital reprint of the 1812 Italian edition is a publishing enterprise undertaken by EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, the Trieste university press. Staunton’s translation and the later versions in other European languages can no longer be considered reliable tools for understanding Chinese imperial law, as demonstrated by specialized translation studies. All these translations nevertheless belong to a crucial phase of Western discourse on China’s institutions, law and civilization, which is the main reason for the present reprint and the accompanying critical essays.

This volume is intended to encourage an interdisciplinary dialogue and to contribute to a better understanding of institutions and the law as central to the discourse on China in comparative law and in the history of ideas and cultural history. It tries to achieve this by assuming both a European and a Chinese perspective and moving from eighteenth-century perceptions and representations to the reform initiatives and theoretical discussions that continue to this day. The final result is hopefully an enhanced awareness of the extremely important role that Sino-Western encounters and comparisons have played, not only at a cultural level in global history over several centuries, but also in today’s global politics and economics in which we are coping daily with concrete, pressing issues of reciprocal understanding in our efforts to achieve an enduringly peaceful and fruitful coexistence.

Guido Abbattista, Chinese Law and Justice: George Thomas Staunton (1781‑1859) and the European Discourses on China in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

Li Xiuqing, Nineteenth-Century Western Perspectives on Chinese Justice: An Analysis of The Chinese Repository (1832-1851) and The China Review (1872-1901)

Li Xiuqing, Nineteenth-Century Western Perspectives on Chinese Justice: An Analysis of The Chinese Repository (1832-1851) and The China Review (1872-1901)

Zhang Lihong, Dong Neng, The Great Qing Code in Comparative and Historical Perspective)

Marina Timoteo, Of Old and New Codes: Chinese Law in the Mirror of Western Laws

Giulia Iannuzzi, The Cruel Imagination: Oriental Tortures from a Future Past in Albert Robida’s Illustrations for La Guerre infernale (1908)

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  • Publication
    Index
    (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2017)
      188  183
  • Publication
    Notes on Contributors
    (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2017)
      185  171
  • Publication
    Abstracts
    (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2017)
      172  156
  • Publication
    The Cruel Imagination: Oriental Tortures from a Future Past in Albert Robida’s Illustrations for La Guerre infernale (1908)
    (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2017)
    Iannuzzi, Giulia
    It was for a planned future section of his war museum entitled “Storia dell’avvenirismo – Precursori della Futurologia” (“The History of Futurism – The Forerunners of Futurology) that in 1957 Diego de Henriquez, ex-soldier and passionate collector, bought fifteen of Albert Robida’s original sketches for Pierre Giffard’s La Guerre infernale (1908) from a bookstand in Rome. Of these original illustrations (today at the Civico Museo di guerra per la pace “Diego de Henriquez” of the City of Trieste), eight are reproduced in Law, Justice and Codification in Qing China. Accompanying and drawing on their publication, this essay critically assesses Giffard and Robida’s work, outlining precedents and coeval trends as regards the representation of Chinese tortures and the Yellow Peril in early science fiction and Western public discourse. La Guerre infernale is an early work of science fiction which offers, today, a graphic example of the collective imagery of coeval times related to future wars and technologies, Chinese punishments and atrocities, and fears of the Yellow Peril. By 1908, the theme of Chinese torture, and the topos of Oriental cruelty was not unprecedented in Robida’s work, nor was it an isolated case in popular French and Western publications. Be that as it may (and perhaps precisely because it taps into broader cultural currents), the clash, in La Guerre infernale, between ethnic stereotypes, which informed the representation of Oriental brutality and sadism, and visions of a future driven by technological progress, offers a unique vantage point from which to observe and critically assess Sino-Western cultural relationships at the dawn of the Twentieth century (or at the end of a “long” Nineteenth century).
      1975  1311
  • Publication
    Of Old and New Codes: Chinese Law in the Mirror of Western Laws
    (EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste, 2017)
    Timoteo, Martina
    Notwithstanding the fact that the word code is associated with a broad spectrum of meanings, when Chinese and European law met in the middle of nineteenth century, this word was marked by absolute historical typicality: it designated the Civil code, which represented an epoch-making watershed in western legal history and was identified as a symbol for legal modernity. This code became soon an illustrious reference model for the Chinese legal modernization process. In front of it the Qing code represented an old law, expression of a feeble legal tradition, that was inexorably destined to disappear. However, substituting the old with the new in the field of law is not simply a political choice and a technical endeavour. This paper explores some paths of this process from a comparative law perspective.
      491  343