This book is essentially based on my PhD dissertation that I undertook at the faculty of law, the Chinese University of Hong Kong between 2007 and 2012. First and foremost, I wish to thank my mentor Eva Pils. Dr Pils assumed the supervision of my dissertation at the juncture when I was considering quitting, and has provided me with comprehensive academic training and illuminating guidance ever since. She has carefully read every chapter as well as every revised chapter of the dissertation and provided insightful comments, inspiring suggestions and detailed edits every single time. She was always available to discuss any issue I would like to raise or problem I came across, and advised wisely, which has been the most important support to me. It was also her constant encouragement that drove me to seek publication opportunities for my dissertation. Without her support and help, neither the dissertation nor the book would ever be possible.
I owe special gratitude to all the people who kindly agreed to talk to me for my dissertation. They were my interviewees, including the victims and suspects of criminal reconciliation cases as well as their parents and teachers, the lawyers, judges and prosecutors. I know that, at least for some of them, recalling or relating the experiences and feelings was not easy. Heartfelt thanks for their trust in me and their affable openness. Withdrawing their names in this book is mainly for the sake of avoiding potential troubles to them. I also wish to in particular thank Di Xiaohua, Ge Lin, Guo Zhiyuan, Joshua Rosenzweig, John Braithwaite and Kathleen Daly for their thoughtful and enlightening conversations with me on criminal reconciliation and restorative justice.
In addition, I would like to thank Mike McConville for patiently reading, commenting and editing most of the chapters, Chui Wing Hong for helping me obtain access to the first two empirical studies, Yu Xingzhong for providing the approach for the third empirical study and Hennessy Hayes for helping me get the chance of observing restorative justice meetings in Brisbane, Australia. I am equally grateful to Zhang Yaling and Ye Zhusheng. The regular discussion of my research with them was far beyond gaining critiques and fresh ideas for the research itself – it was one of the most convivial moments in the mostly tough and lonely days of writing a PhD dissertation.
I am very thankful to four anonymous reviewers of the book proposal for their valuable comments and suggestions. Parts of the empirical findings in this book were accepted for publishing in the Journal of Comparative Law – I am very thankful to Michael Palmer and Fu Hualing for their great comments and suggestions for the draft article. Another part was published in the joint chapter ‘The 2012 PRC Criminal Procedure Law’ of the book Comparative Perspectives on Criminal Justice in China. I wish to thank the editors Mike McConville and Eva Pils for their great comments and suggestions as well.
Last but not least, I am indebted to the Centre for Rights and Justice of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I wish to thank the Centre for generously offering me the opportunities of giving talks on various parts of my PhD dissertation, where I obtained thoughtful suggestions from the audience, mostly professors and colleagues of the Centre. I also thank the Centre for offering me a visiting scholar position after I was awarded the PhD – during this period, I completed revising my dissertation for the publication of this book.
All errors are of course mine alone.