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

Jue Jiang


This chapter analyses the problems with the wider criminal justice system that led to the specific problems with criminal reconciliation. First, legal rules are ignored, in part counteracted by internal regulations and in part supplanted by ‘hidden rules’ (qian guize) in practice, which, rather than showing the officials’ rampant power, reveal their weakness in facing the various external and internal pressures coming from, for example, the Political-Legal Committees (zhengfa wei), the Public Security Bureaus, People’s Congresses, local governments and the internal performance assessment systems. Second, the criminal process reflects an authoritarian approach to education aimed at thought reform. Third, evading the real problems leading to difficulty in enforcement (zhixing nan): the government fails to take sufficient responsibility for protecting the victims’ rights to get compensation in civil litigation collateral to criminal proceedings (xingshi fudai minshi susong).

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