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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 204103 Find in a Library
Title: Propaganda Work in Chinese Courts: Public Trials and Sentencing Rallies as Sites of Expressive Punishment and Public Education in the People's Republic of China
Journal: Punishment & Society  Volume:6  Issue:1  Dated:January 2004  Pages:5-21
Author(s): Susan Trevaskes
Date Published: January 2004
Page Count: 17
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article discusses the nature of trials and sentencing rallies in Chinese criminal court work.
Abstract: Trials and rallies are two means through which courts project images and messages outwards to a community of onlookers, spectators, and participants. The educative and deterrence tasks of the court in trials and sentencing rallies are perceived as part of a wider program of social control and socialization. Trials and public sentencing pronouncements are symbolic reassurances of the capacity of the court both to protect its citizens and to reflect the prevailing moral order. Adjudicative and sentencing practices are not merely considered a legal means to a social end, but are practices that are performed in the public gaze, claiming to embody the morality of the community. The period under examination, the first years of the post-Mao reform period in the 1980's, was a pivotal stage of legal history in the People’s Republic of China. The courts’ response to the burgeoning crime problem in this period was to continue to use mass-line rhetoric and practices of expressive punishment in order to accommodate a tension between two main imperatives of reform: political stability and economic growth. Criminal court work was caught between the promises of economic prosperity and the threat that any major social instability would endanger economic modernization. Criminal court work today continues to be dominated by the incongruity between the intentions and aspirations of change and reform and the political, social, and institutional impediments to reform. Despite the two-decade long push to effect a new modernist legal culture based on professionalism, regularity, and bureaucratic rationality, criminal justice practices have continued to rely on the crude theatrics of expressive punishment that have been employed since the days of revolution. 22 notes, 10 references
Main Term(s): China; Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Corrections in foreign countries; Court management; Foreign criminal justice systems; Foreign sentencing; Maoism; Social control
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