Between Law and Justice: Self-Defense Principle in Late Qing China Penal Cases


This article, through the analysis of selected judicial cases of the late Qing dynasty, explores the existence of the self-defense principle and the limits within it was considered valid or not. In the first part, through the study and the analysis of some articles contained in The Great Qing Code, it will be shown how the written law considered a murder specifically derived from the need to defend oneself or a relative from an external attack, how the magistrate must judge these particular cases and what were the judicial organs legally involved. In the second part, selected penal cases, included in a late Qing legal cases compendium, are presented. Through the examination of these historical documents, that concerning both men and women belonging to the same social class, it will be clear how the previously presented law, reported in the official code of the dynasty, was effectively applied and, in particular, what were the promulgated sentences. The final aim is to show the limits of the Qing code in selfdefense matter. It should be borne in mind that The Great Qing Code thanks to the strong continuity with dynasties ‘previous codes (especially of Tang and Ming dynasties) represent the final result of more than a thousand years of complex legal culture.

Author Information
Anna Chiara Trapani, University of Naples the Orientale, Italy

Paper Information
Conference: ACAS2022
Stream: Chinese Studies

This paper is part of the ACAS2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Trapani A. (2022) Between Law and Justice: Self-Defense Principle in Late Qing China Penal Cases ISSN: 2187-4735 The Asian Conference on Asian Studies 2022: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon