Criminal Defense in China: The Politics of Lawyers at Work


Product Details

Cambridge University Press
Publish Date
6.06 X 9.03 X 0.52 inches | 0.73 pounds
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About the Author

Terence C. Halliday is Co-Director at the Center on Law and Globalization, and Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation. He is Honorary Professor at the School of Regulation and Global Governance, the Australian National University, Canberra, and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University, Illinois.
Sida Liu is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, Faculty Fellow at the American Bar Foundation, and a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 2016-17. He received his LLB from Peking University Law School and his PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago. He has written widely on Chinese law, sociolegal theory, and general social theory, including two books (in Chinese) on the legal profession in China.


'Viewing criminal defense as a political project, they draw on propositions from scholarship on lawyers and political liberalism across the world - from seventeenth-century Europe to late-twentieth century Korea and Taiwan - to examine the strategies and constraints of lawyer mobilization in China.' Law and Social Inquiry
'Sida Liu and Terence C. Halliday's Criminal Defense in China is a much needed, courageous, and accomplished book on criminal lawyering in China.' Ya-Wen Lei, American Journal of Sociology
"In Criminal Defense in China, Sida Liu and Terry Halliday draw together their rich theoretical and comparative backgrounds with unparalleled empirical work to produce what is by far the most probing study in any language of the nature and challenges of criminal defense work in the People's Republic of China."
William P. Alford, Henry L. Stimson Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Massachusetts
"Over the past decades, the theory of the legal complex has transformed the approach to the study of lawyers and the legal profession by showing that at least a tiny portion of the legal profession consistently mobilizes to fight for basic freedoms and political liberalism in the name of 'law'. In this study of criminal defense attorneys in contemporary China, Halliday and Liu find ample support for the theory, and in so doing, demonstrate just how powerful the theory is. This pioneering study can be read with profit by sociologists of law and the legal profession, political scientists interested in law and courts, criminal justice scholars, and South Asian specialists. The book is a stunning achievement."
Malcolm Feeley, Claire Sanders Clements Professor, Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
"Liu and Halliday offer a timely and much-needed account of the Chinese legal profession's role in political change. They ask how lawyers strive to institutionalize basic legal freedoms in the context of an authoritarian one-party state. They do so through the hard case of the criminal defense bar. The book's wide-ranging discussion of lawyers' motivations from internationally renowned 'cause lawyers' to unsung grassroots activists underscores the diversity and potential of China's legal profession. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the current situation of China's lawyers during this period of increased political tension."
Mary E. Gallagher, University of Michigan