Restorative Justice and its Relevance to Chinese Culture: Implications of Restorative Justice Practices in Chinese Communities

Project: Research

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Restorative justice (RJ) is a new approach to understanding and managing crime that has gained popularity since the 1980s. Evidence suggests that restorative processes that empower crime victims, offenders and communities to actively participate in resolving the impact of crime increase public trust in the justice system and may reduce reoffending behaviour (Liebmann, 2007; Maxwell, 2007). Pioneering activities at government and community levels suggest that RJ is gaining importance in mainstream criminological and professional practices worldwide.Though RJ is increasingly used to deal with offending, particularly youth offending, in many Western countries, there is relatively little experience of RJ in the Greater China region. However, mediation (tiaojie) has long existed in China and is often used in informal social control. Chinese scholars sometimes refer to it as a type of RJ (Leng, 2011; Zhang, 2013). A review of literature on mediation practices (tiaojie) and RJ (hufuxing xifa) in mainland China suggests that hufuxing xifa is generally considered to be a western approach to criminal mediation (reconciliation) distinct from the traditional Chinese approach. Despite having much in common, mediation and RJ differ in areas such as the power of facilitators and the emphasis on victims attending conferences (Leng, 2011; Li, 2010). With the continuous development of legal systems in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland over the decades, RJ now appears to be rapidly displacing traditional mediation in China (Zhang, 2013; Wong & Lo, 2011; Mok & Wong, 2013).The proposed study will analyze the evolution of RJ in the Greater China region and its relevance to Chinese culture. Through comparative policy studies, focus groups and indepth interviews, a thorough comparison of RJ and their cultural relevance in four major cities will be performed, covering Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai and Beijing, and examine their compatibility with Chinese cultural values, and integration into the criminal justice system. We will interview academic scholars, legal practitioners, lawyers, judiciary members, mediators or conference facilitators, as well as participants and/or their families who have involved in the RJ process, to uncover the characteristics of Chinese RJ and establish whether western or non-Chinese RJ models are suitable for and favored by Chinese users. The results will help to establish a set of basic principles and procedures that are culturally relevant to Chinese. The findings can be used to improve the service impact of RJ programmes and provide guidelines in assessment, awareness promotion, and policy-making throughout Chinese communities.


Project number9042122
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1518/12/18

    Research areas

  • Greater China,Restorative Justice,Mediation,Criminal Reconciliation,