China and Inner Asia

Organized Panel Session

2 - Legal Codes, Leading Cases and Provincial Regulations: Local Government Handling of Commercial Conflicts in Eighteenth-Century China

Friday, March 23
12:45 PM - 2:45 PM
Location: Roosevelt Room 4, Exhibit Level

Until the promulgation of the Commercial Code in the late Qing dynasty, the Qing government did not for the most part include regulations on commercial activities—business associations, transfer of notes, firm bankruptcies, transportation insurance, trademark registration, patents on technology, etc. —into the Laws and Precedents of the Great Qing. However, in a number of commercially developed urban areas such as Suzhou and Chongqing, local government often heard all sorts of litigation involving commerce. The judicial outcomes at times became approved as “leading cases” (cheng’an); some of these were even entered into the “Provincial Regulations” that applied to the whole province. The promulgation and implementation of these leading cases and provincial regulations influenced to some degree the local commercial environment, and even constituted a certain kind of institutional change. How should we evaluate the mutual interaction between the law and commerce in China at that time? By examining some extant cases of litigation in eighteenth-century Suzhou and Chongqing, this paper hopes to clarify this issue and further its discussion.

Peng-sheng Chiu

Chinese University of Hong Kong, Not Applicable, China

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2 - Legal Codes, Leading Cases and Provincial Regulations: Local Government Handling of Commercial Conflicts in Eighteenth-Century China



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