Selected Papers of The Jurist (法学家), Volume 1
Renmin Chinese Law Review: Selected Papers of The Jurist
Edited by Jichun Shi
Chapter 7: The fate of the theory of the nature of social harm in contemporary China
During the 30 years prior to the enforcement of the Penal Code of 1979, China made great strides in socialist development, but had nothing unusual to report in her development of the rule of law. In the development of the rule of criminal law, criminal legislation was sparse and the basis for conviction and sentencing varied widely. The abuse of judicial discretion was broad and theoretical research about criminal law was depressed. In a word, the socialist rule of law was delivered a devastating blow. After the enforcement of the Penal Code in 1979, the socialist development of the rule of criminal law set sail again. As a so-called ‘past experience, if not forgotten, that can serve as a guide for the future’, it is undoubtedly necessary to review and summarize the history of ignoring the rule of law. In today’s China, some scholars of criminal law believe that the theory of the nature of social harm having derived from the former Soviet Union is one important reason why new China has failed to establish the rule of criminal law during its first 30 years. Some scholars have attributed a number of deficiencies in the process of the development of the rule of criminal law after the enforcement of the Penal Code of 1979 to this theory having been hung on to inextricably.
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