Revolution and Justice at the Grassroots Level in 1950s China

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Revolution and Justice at the Grassroots Level in 1950s China
Stream: History
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Chenxi Luo, Washington University, St. Louis, United States (presenter)
Wankun Li, University of Leeds, United Kingdom (presenter)


This panel documents and explores the violent application of revolutionary justice in the first decade of the People's Republic of China. Using archives from three specific counties in Sichuan, Jiangxi, and Shandong, the papers develop themes pertaining to the legal history and the history of mass movements in the 1950s. The labelling of counterrevolutionaries, capital punishment, and purges of the judiciary itself will be explored, as will questions of central-local interaction in a search for understanding the linkages between policy impulses from the centre and their irregular and often deadly application in the countryside and in the far-flung counties. With a discussant known for his deep reach into local archives preceding and during the Great Leap Forward, the panel seeks to build upon prior research by such scholars as Julia Strauss and Yang Kuisong on the interplay between violence and state-building in the the CCP consolidation of power.