Lunch Time Lecture – Understanding Traditional Chinese Law in Practice: The Implementation of Criminal Law in the Tang Dynasty (618-907)
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
C303, PKU ShenZhen
The Tang dynasty is regarded as one of China’s most accomplished dynasties – its achievements in the areas of literature, empire-building, and law have influenced subsequent dynasties. Indeed, the Tang Code, a penal code promulgated in its finalized form in 653, is regarded as an apex in the development of traditional Chinese law. Given the importance of the Tang Code and the Tang dynasty more generally, it is not surprising that much has been written about the Tang Code and Tang law. Most scholarship, however, has tended to focus on the history of codification and, more specifically, the Tang Code itself. Less scholarship has been done to understand how the Tang Code was actually implemented and applied in society and to answer questions such as whether the application of justice (as mandated by provisions of the Tang Code) was applied consistently. Drawing on and introducing selected Tang historical sources and case accounts (many of which have not previously been translated to English), this talk attempts to address these questions and to discuss the implementation and application of law in traditional China as viewed through the enforcement of criminal law and criminal procedure (as set forth in the Tang Code) in the Tang dynasty.