Sat, Jun 19



Law and Statecraft in China: Past and Present

Hosted by Jason Genre Type: Non-Fiction. Other: Book, online essay, & newspaper editorial. Pg Count: 130 pgs, 25,000 words, and 8 pgs, respectively. The session will involve reading 3 different texts about Legalism & legal governance in modern-day China. See "about the event" for more.

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Time & Location

Jun 19, 2021, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. MDT


About the Event

Law and Statecraft in China: Past and Present

Jason - Legalistic but (probably) not a Legalist

Genre Type: Non-Fiction

Other: [Book, online essay, and newspaper editorial]

Page Count, Audio Length, Film, Podcast (ex. 15 min on Blinkist OR 304 pgs, 7h52 min on audible)

130 pages, 25,000 words, and 8 pages, respectively.

The readings are the following: 

1) The Han Feizi, by Han Feizi, sections 5-10, 12, 13, 17, 18, 49, and 50. Any translation works, but I recommend ISBN13: 978-0231129695. 

Trenchant, sophisticated, and cynical, Han Feizi has been read in every age and is still of interest today when people are more than ever concerned with the nature and use of power. Han Feizi (280-233 B.C.), a prince of Han, produced the final and most readable exposition of the theories of Legalist philosophy. His handbook for the ruler deals with the problems of strengthening and preserving the state, the way of the ruler, the use of power, and punishment and favor. Ironically, the ruler most influenced by Han Feizi, the king of Qin, eventually sent Han Feizi to prison, where he later committed suicide. 

2) China’s Heart of Darkness: Prince Han Fei & Chairman Xi Jinping, by Jianying Zha. 

This five-part essay by New Yorker contributor and one of contemporary Sino-America’s most insightful cultural critics, Jianying Zha, offers readers a provocative study of the legacy of the ancient thinker Han Fei and the Legalist school in Xi Jinping’s China. 

3) Deepen the study, publicity, and implementation of Xi Jinping Thought on the Rule of Law, striving to create a new situation of comprehensively governing the country according to law, by Guo Shengkun. This is an editorial by a top Chinese official on rule of law in China.

This is an editorial by a top Chinese official on rule of law in China.

See article here

Intent of Session:

This session will probe the ancient Chinese philosophy of Legalism, the chief ideology of first Chinese emperor Qin Shihuang. It will explore how the tenets of Legalism inform the governance style of Xi Jinping, as well as China's current efforts to implement rule of law.

Email Jason (at with any questions or concerns about the readings. Since there's three different things, I want to make sure people can reach out if they get confused.

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