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Legal Transparency in Dynastic China

Legal Transparency In Dynastic China: The Legalist Confucianist Debate And Good Governance In Chinese Tradition


This ambitious book examines the notion of legal transparency from a unique cultural and historical perspective. Drawing from their combined academic and practical experience with both Chinese and Western legal traditions, authors John Head and Xing Lijuan explore how an intense debate pitting legal transparency against legal opaqueness unfolded in dynastic Chinese law, which began in the dark mists of history and ended formally just over a hundred years ago. They rely on a wide range of both Western and Chinese sources to explain how that great debate was resolved in the early Han Dynasty (around the third century BCE) in a way that molded Chinese law into a sophisticated legal system that for roughly two millennia balanced definitiveness with vagueness, predictability with flexibility, and egalitarianism with privilege and that reflected cultural values still resonating in China today. Legal Transparency in Dynastic China presents a clear narrative that assumes no prior expertise in Chinese law or history, and it caters to readers interested in issues of good governance, comparative studies, China, history, and law. The book begins by defining legal transparency and explaining where it fits into the larger context of the transparency-in-government movement that has gained such momentum in recent years, especially at the urging of Western powers. Then the book explains the fundamentally different values espoused by early Confucianists, for whom society is best governed not through written law but through the exemplary behavior of a highly educated, virtuous, and enlightened elite. After tracing the political and ideological challenges that the Confucianists faced from the Legalists, Head and Xing examine the compromise that resulted in the so-called Confucianization of the Law around 200 BCE. They then show how that alloy of competing ideologies characterized Chinese dynastic law for many centuries, resulting in what some would consider the most enduring and effective legal system in human history.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Paperback
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Carolina Academic Pr
  • ISBN-13: 9781611632958
  • ISBN: 1611632951
  • Publication Year: 2013
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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