skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 120940 Find in a Library
Title: Show Trials in China: After Tiananmen Square
Journal: Journal of Law and Society  Volume:16  Issue:3  Dated:(Autumn 1989)  Pages:352-359
Author(s): M Findlay
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 8
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: After the military massacres and arrests of June 4, 1989 in Tiananmen Square, the government of the People's Republic of China used televised show trials of those arrested to reassert political control and to delegitimize the dissenters' cause.
Abstract: Formal criminal proceedings are a relatively recent addition to the social control system of the People's Republic of China. This article details how the government of the People's Republic of China has been using show trials to punish dissent and reassert authority without further use of military force. While the immediate effect of the show trial procedure is the cessation of street violence and punishment of dissent, the long-term result could be that Chinese legal institutions are compromised. Specific televised trials of dissenters are described, with emphasis on criminal procedures and sentences. The role of television in communicating the message of the show trials is analyzed. Many of those who took part in the protests were required to watch and acquiesce in the punishment of those apprehended and tried. Thus, the government forced a rebellious and fearful population to participate in its repression of political dissent. 16 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Courtroom proceedings broadcasting
Index Term(s): China; Criminal justice ideologies; Political offenders; Public information; Trial procedures
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.