Comparative Perspectives on Criminal Justice in China
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Comparative Perspectives on Criminal Justice in China

Edited by Mike McConville and Eva Pils

Comparative Perspectives on Criminal Justice in China is an anthology of chapters on the contemporary criminal justice system in mainland China, bringing together the work of recognised scholars from China and around the world.
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Chapter 11: Compromising for ‘justice’? Criminal proceedings and the ethical quandaries of Chinese lawyers

Elisa Nesossi


At the onset of the period of reforms, the criminal process in the PRC presented the features of what Mirjan Dama_ka in his The Faces of Justice and State Authority calls the policy-implementing process of hierarchical officialdom. Thus, until the 1980s at least, in the PRC the criminal process was fully in the hands of a group of bureaucratic decision-makers who adopted highly political standards in their approaches to the law. The purpose of the legal process and the entire administration of justice was to manage society by implementing the political dictum and the political conceptions about good life and justice embraced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Within the bureaucracy-led state, the role of autonomous legal professionals was hardly understandable, and lawyers, as outsiders of the system, were denied most of the procedural functions generally associated with their role.

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