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Seminar: The Qing’s selective criminalization of the Hui subjects, 1760s to 1820s

By Geng Tian, University of Chicago

Tue 25 Apr 2017
1:00pm - 2:15pm


Room 929, 9/F, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

The Muslim Substatues in the Great Qing Code, which legislated more punitive legal treatments to the Hui subjects convicted of certain crimes, are commonly studied as part of a discriminating policy characterizing the Qing governance over its minorities in the interior provinces. This paper argues that discrimination based on ethnic identities cannot explain why the discriminatory inequality was written into the law in this way.

Using legal cases issued between 1760s and 1820s, I will shed light on how the Hui criminals were adjudicated in or beyond the legal frame of the Muslim Substatues. I found that the Qing courts conflated both ethnic and non-ethnic categories in the adjudication of the Hui criminals. Such a conflation contests the taken-for-granted ethnic lens that has been used to examine the imperial legal regulation of the minorities. I develop the concept of selective criminalization to theorize this empirical finding.

Geng Tian received his Ph.D from the University of Chicago in 2015 and henceforth has been an assistant professor of sociology at Peking University, China. Tian’s interest hinges on historical sociology, political sociology, social theory and the macro historical changes in modern China.

His dissertation studies the processes of the Qing’s empire building at one of its northwestern peripheries in the middle and late 18th century and how this process impacted the tremendous political upheavals in that region during the middle 19th century. Currently Tian is expanding this research into a comparative study of imperial territorial governance.

HKU Sociology

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