Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 699–708

The Restorative Role of Apology in Resolving Medical Disputes: Lessons From Chinese Legal Culture

Original Research

DOI: 10.1007/s11673-015-9657-1

Cite this article as:
Lin, N. Bioethical Inquiry (2015) 12: 699. doi:10.1007/s11673-015-9657-1


This article is the first exploration of the Chinese notion of apology from a comparative legal perspective. By reviewing the significance of apology in the context of Chinese culture, the article presents a three-dimensional structure of apology that, in contrast to the understanding the research community now has, defines acknowledgement of fault, admission of responsibility, and offer of reparation as three essential elements of an apology. It is the combination of these three elements that enables apology to serve as a form of reparation. The article further places the three-dimensional apology in the context of the Chinese concept of “the relations of humanity,” arguing that an apology accompanying admission of fault and responsibility may help to restore the harmony of relations and, by so doing, resolve medical disputes positively.


Apology law Structure of apology Restorative role of apology Medical dispute 

Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deakin Law SchoolDeakin UniversityBurwoodAustralia

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