Post by G. Foliot on 2013-06-07 13:39:40

From Code to Cases and reversely

For an understandable and usable translation of the Ming and Qing code.


To be held at the Institute of East Asian Studies (IAO), Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon

24 -28 June 2013


Letter n° 1, June 1st 2013


This workshop is a direct consequence and a practical application of the “Legalizing Space in China” program, supported by a grant of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche.

In the terms of the Project presentation

The project basically consists of a translation of the Ming and Qing "Statutes and Sub-statutes (lüli 律例), that is mainly the tiaoli, or precedents that were codified from the 15th to the late 19th century.

  • This translation is intended to be “juridical” (or “conceptual”), thanks to the compilation of a glossary of basic legal terms, with English and French equivalents, which should become a full-fledge dictionary of Chinese law.
  • It is intended to be “contextual”, thanks to the connection of the codified laws to a selection of materials providing the reader with insights on how the codified laws were applied on the spot.


Such is the basic purpose of this workshop. Practically speaking, the situation is as follows:

            - French speaking members have started working since 2 years, mostly in a seminar at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales. The proceedings of this seminar are available on the website :

Seminars & Research group

This resulted in the translation in French of the articles in appendix 1, and to the general glossary in appendix 2, attached to the same mail as this letter.


One major objective of this workshop is to launch the translation in English.

The other major objective is to define and experiment a way to work as a team, first during this workshop; and then to go on with team work once returned home, thanks to the website and appropriate devices (such as Acrobat revision, etc.).

As for the translation in English, we suggest that the team start with the same articles as were translated in French. Even though one understand no French at all, the Chinese terms selected for the glossary, and their French equivalent may give useful indication, as well as the cases quoted in reference. We suggest starting with 2 articles that offer a good panel of the various difficulties of the task:

            Article 0ne : Five Punishments 五刑 , with its many sub-statutes, including those on punishment redemption 贖刑

            Article 25 : Self-surrender of a perpetrator 犯罪自首, with its many sub-statutes connecting it with other articles in the code.

Participants are invited to familiarize with the website, which is intended to provide one with a complete collection of research tools, one can access thanks to a login and password (please require if you don’t have one).

That is: Codes version of the Ming and Qing code, with numbering of laws, which is mandatory for all quotation and reference.

Other materials: casebooks, commentaries, Jones’s translation of the Qing code, Jiang’s translation of the Ming code, etc., are available in Research Tools :

Sources documents

You can download or, more conveniently, read on line and choose the passage you need.

Non-virtual, solid paper research tools will be also provided during the workshop.

This is enough for this first letter. This letter as well as the next, and a tentative schedule, will be set on the website, in the “Workshop” part. All remarks, questions, and suggestions, are welcome, of course, either sent them to , or placed on the blog that will be opened soon on the project website.

Appendixes in the folder attached to the same mail as this letter:

Appendix 1: General Glossary of terms in the translated articles (mostly in French)

Appendix 2: Articles translated in French

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