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    Lloyd, Geoffrey 1994. New perspectives on ancient science. European Review, Vol. 2, Issue. 02, p. 91.

  • Print publication year: 1986
  • Online publication date: March 2008

9 - Ch'in and Han law

Early Chinese law is the law of a fully developed archaic society. The ancient nobility of the predynastic period had long since disappeared; the marquises of the Ch'in-Han period had titles but no real fiefs, and consequently no power. The orders of honor which were conferred during the Ch'in and Han periods carried with them several privileges, including that of a reduction in punishment for crime; but the marquises, or nobles, enjoyed no special status other than that of holders of the highest orders. Early traditional China knew three types of punishment: the death penalty, the mutilating punishments, and hard labor. Redemption of punishment was common practice during both the Ch'in and the Han periods; the technical term, shu, is also used for slaves buying their freedom. The Han period saw the birth of several systems which were to continue throughout the imperial period: the entry into the civil service through recommendation, through examinations, and by title of birth.
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