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China: A Powerhouse and Resistor of Restorative Justice

23 August 2023 at 6:30:00 am

This research investigates the restorative justice (RJ) programs universally implemented in the Chinese criminal justice system (people’s mediation, public order mediation and criminal reconciliation), as well as one significant example of Indigenous mediation (De Gu, 德古) particularly practiced by the Yi people (彝族) in southwest China. To narrate the universality and particularity of RJ in China, a multi-layered analytic architecture is utilized to depict how particular mechanisms and modes have operated at various levels in China. At the macro and meso levels, thick historical narratives are explored to capture the dynamics and continuities of ideologies, institutions and policies to answer the broad question of why the Chinese government promoted variegated restorative reforms in the recent decade. At the micro-level, the research shows the actual implementation of different RJ programs based on interviews and observational data, as well as other materials. It argues that, within the Chinese authoritarian regime, RJ reforms remain a relatively thin version and lack deep roots in civil society and bottom-up social movements. The bureaucratic rationalities of official facilitators and the political imperative to maintain social harmony and stability, as imposed by the central government, have often compromised RJ values and marginalized the needs of stakeholders.


About the Speaker:

Dr. Yan Zhang is a research assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Macau. He obtained his Ph.D. in criminology from the RegNet School of Regulation and Governance at the Australian National University, supervised by Prof. John Braithwaite. His research focus is restorative justice, qualitative research, Chinese criminal justice, and regulation and governance. His publications appeared in leading criminology and criminal justice journals, including Justice Quarterly, International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, Sexual Abuse, Asian Journal of Criminology etc. In addition, Dr. Zhang has served as the managing editor of the Asian Journal of Criminology since 2012 and has been elected an executive board member of the Asian Criminological Society in 2022.


China: A Powerhouse and Resistor of Restorative Justice

Date: August 23, 2023 (Wednesday)

Time: 2:30pm

Zoom Meeting ID: 986 3414 1007 (password: 230823)

Speaker: Dr. Yan Zhang

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