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

Jue Jiang


This chapter derives from the heated debate especially among domestic Chinese scholars over the ‘nature’ (xingzhi) of criminal reconciliation, namely, whether it is China’s transplant of restorative justice, or a purely indigenous Chinese practice. It provides a comparative study of criminal reconciliation and restorative justice. On the one hand, this chapter analyses three essential discrepancies between these two systems, including the different roles of community or society, of ‘reintegrative shaming’ and the ultimate goals embedded in the two systems. On the other hand, for further illustrating these discrepancies, this chapter provides the author’s observation notes of three restorative justice meetings in Brisbane, Australia in 2009. The discussion of the theory and practice of restorative justice in this chapter is also helpful as to understanding the gap between criminal reconciliation ‘on paper’ and it ‘in practice’ as shown in the ensuing three chapters.

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