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Unless otherwise specified, the descriptions of sources in this section are extracted from Pierre-Etienne Will and collaborators, Handbooks and Anthologies for Officials in Imperial China: A Descriptive and Critical Bibliography, 2 vols., Leiden: Brill, 2020
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TitleBuyongxing shenpanshu 不用刑審判書 [A Book on Avoiding Torture in Trials]
Topic2.3 Judicial cases: historical casebooks
Historical periodLate Qing (1797-1911)
Reprint (year of)2005
AuthorWei xiyuan 魏息園
CollectionLidai panli pandu 歷代判例判牘
Series number12
Place of publication北京
Publication typePress

The work is assembling “cases old and new that can serve as model” (輯古今來成案之可為法者) to encourage officials to abide by the rules adopted in the course of the “New Policies” (新政) reforms, to the effect that torture should not be resorted to in questioning and corporal punishments should no longer be used for minor crimes. The 199 entries offer examples of talented and shrewd judges able to solve cases without resorting to violence but basing themselves on evidence and using a variety of methods and tricks. The style is anecdotal and close to yeshi 野史. The stories, dating from the Tang through the Qing, are arranged without clear order, and indications of dates (or even eras) and sources are rare.

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