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Legal Reform and Administrative Detention Powers in China
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Book description

Using a conceptual framework, this 2007 book examines the processes of legal reform in post-socialist countries such as China. Drawing on Bourdieu's concept of the 'field', the increasingly complex and contested processes of legal reform are analysed in relation to police powers. The impact of China's post-1978 legal reforms on police powers is examined through a detailed analysis of three administrative detention powers: detention for education of prostitutes; coercive drug rehabilitation; and re-education through labour. The debate surrounding the abolition in 1996 of detention for investigation (also known as shelter and investigation) is also considered. Despite over 20 years of legal reform, police powers remain poorly defined by law and subject to minimal legal constraint. They continue to be seriously and systematically abused. However, there has been both systematic and occasionally dramatic reform of these powers. This book considers the processes which have made these legal changes possible.


'… this 484-page masterpiece leaves the reader in awe. It was not only time but also firm resolution that were required in massive doses to obtain the documentary sources on which this book is based. Besides almost no other work on detention in China has reached the same level of scholarly and intellectual rigour. This book has made an enduring contribution to our knowledge of one of the most important, yet least known sectors of Chinese law. This is essential reading for scholars of Chinese law, contemporary China, NGO personnel, teachers and sociologists of law.'

Source: China Information

'Biddulph adopts a fresh approach to administrative detention. … The information and its analysis significantly enlarge our knowledge of the areas of detention, police studies and China's legal and political transition. … the book brings really significant empirical and methodological contributions to the study of China's legal, social, historical and political development. Readers interested in methodological considerations may find the introductory and conclusion chapters particularly revealing, and experts in China's law, police and detention studies will find a number of illuminating insights in the substantive chapters of this rigorous and remarkable book.'

Source: The China Quarterly

'Biddulph has made a useful contribution to comprehending the complexity of the problems that face both law reformers and the wielders of the powers that they would constrain.'

Source: The China Journal

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