Review of Qi Chen, Governance, Social Control and Legal Reform in China: Community Sanctions and Measures
In 2018, the Asian Criminological Society established its annual Distinguished Book Award, for the best book published in English on crime and criminal justice in Asia. Governance, Social Control and Legal Reform in China was the inaugural prize winner. Its author, Dr. Qi Chen, is a Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. The PhD research on which it was based had already received acclaim, having won the David Harris Prize of the University of Nottingham Law Faculty.
The book addresses the fundamental question, “What can Western-inspired legal reform achieve in China?”. The reforms in question are “community sanctions and measures” – CSM for short. These embrace such practices as probation, community supervision, and related measures. The answer, at least for the time being, is not a great deal, given the decentralized nature of the Chinese system of crime control, and the limited legitimacy of inefficient and often corrupt local government.
Chen’s book begins with an...