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Criminal Reconciliation in Contemporary China

An Empirical and Analytical Enquiry

Jue Jiang

Criminal reconciliation, a special procedure stipulated in PRC’s 2013 Criminal Procedure Law, allows the alleged perpetrators and victims of certain crimes to resolve criminal cases through reconciliation or mediation. Based on empirical studies on pilot practices of this mechanism in three cities in China, this book argues that criminal reconciliation enables abuses of power and infringement of the parties’ access to justice. This programme further throws light on certain fundamental problems with the wider criminal justice system.
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Jue Jiang



1.    The criminal reconciliation (xingshi hejie) system in China: background, pilot projects and debates

1.1    Legal reforms in China: from building the rule of law system to establishing a harmonious society

1.2    The mediation systems: from the Mao era to criminal reconciliation today

1.3    The implementation and development of criminal reconciliation in China

1.4    The scholarly debates surrounding criminal reconciliation programmes

2.    A comparative look at criminal reconciliation: a transplant of restorative justice?

2.1    A sketch of restorative justice

2.2    Differences between criminal reconciliation and restorative justice

2.3    Restorative justice in practice: a glimpse from the author’s observations in Brisbane, Australia

2.4    Summary

3.    Criminal reconciliation in practice: evidence from official case files

3.1    The motivation for the empirical study

3.2    An overview of criminal reconciliation practices in the three fieldwork locations

3.3    An analysis of the practice of criminal reconciliation relying on the evidence from official case files

4.    The process of criminal reconciliation programmes: evidence from interviews

4.1    The initiation stage

4.2    The criminal reconciliation meeting

4.3    Factors affecting official decisions in criminal reconciliation processes

4.4    Insights into follow-up programmes

4.5    Summary

5.    The participants of criminal reconciliation programmes: evidence from interviews

5.1    Official involvement in criminal reconciliation programmes

5.2    The parties participating in criminal reconciliation programmes

5.3    The lawyers as actors (participants) in criminal reconciliation cases

5.4    The role of other participants in criminal reconciliation programmes

5.5    Summary

6.    Understanding wider problems with the Chinese criminal justice system through the lens of criminal reconciliation

6.1    Contradictory rules and ‘hidden rules’ (qian guize)

6.2    Criminal justice through ‘correction’ (jiaozheng) and ‘thought reform’ (sixiang gaizao)

6.3    The State’s failure to enforce victims’ claims to compensation through civil litigation

7.    Conclusion