This talk presents an overview of the Chinese courts today from the perspective of a sociologist. Specifically, it explores how the Chinese courts are institutionally empowered by but also subjugated to the influences of different social forces - political, economic, and social. The talk also outlines a growing gap between the courts in big cities and their rural counterparts. It ends by exploring the various challenges facing the Chinese courts ahead, in particular, the challenge of retaining young judges working in urban cities.

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About the Speaker

Kwai Ng is an associate professor of sociology at the University of California, San Diego. He is interested in the sociology of law. He co-authored a series of articles on the courtroom and mediation discourse in China today. He is currently co-authoring (with Xin He) a book manuscript about the Chinese courts of China. Specifically, the book analyzes how the Chinese judiciary operates in a complex ecology of governance today. He has done empirical work on the bilingual legal system of Hong Kong, the use of court interpreters in the United States. His previous book, The Common Law in Two Voices – Language, Law, and the Postcolonial Dilemma in Hong Kong (Stanford University Press 2009), explores how the introduction of Chinese into the common law system has reshaped the social and moral character of the law in Hong Kong.

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