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New issue of Zhongguo gudai falü wenxian yanjiu 中国古代法律文献研究

A new issue of Zhongguo gudai falü wenxian yanjiu 中国古代法律文献研究 has just been published by Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe 社会科学文献出版社 (Beijing), under the auspices of the Institute for Chinese Ancient Legal Documents, China University of Political Science and Law (中国政法大学法律古籍整理研究所). See information below:

 

中國古代法律文獻研究     第十輯

中國政法大學法律古籍整理研究所編

徐世虹  主編

趙  晶  執行編輯

 

曾伯陭鉞銘文平議……………………………郭永秉/001

 

《周禮》大宰八法研究……………………………朱紅林/020

 

睡虎地秦簡法律文書集釋(五):《秦律十八種》(《效》——《屬邦》)、《效》……………………………中國政法大學基礎法律史料研讀班/036

 

《岳麓書院秦簡(肆)》中有關“雇傭”的法律規定研究…………………張韶光/119

 

漢簡所見時限與延期……………………………李均明/139

 

漢簡“王杖詔書”比勘研究……………………………秦濤/155

 

秦漢法制史研究的兩樁公案——關於《漢舊儀》、《漢書•刑法志》所載刑制文本解讀的學術史考察……………………………李力/170

 

唐黃君墓志所見天授二年修定律令事發微……………………………王慶衛/199

 

《天聖令·醫疾令》譯注稿………中國社會科學院歷史研究所《天聖令》讀書班/210

 

《天聖令·假寧令》譯注稿………中國社會科學院歷史研究所《天聖令》讀書班/230

 

南宋《給複學田公牒》和《給複學田省札》碑文整理…………………………中國政法大學石刻法律文獻研讀班/253

 

公文中的動態司法:南宋《給複學田公牒》和《給複學田省札》碑文考釋……………………………李雪梅/280

 

明代私家注律家管見……………………………李守良/302

 

“在民之役”:巴縣檔案中的鄉約群像--近代以前中國國家統治社會的一個場景……………………………伍躍/328

 

清代巴縣農村的租佃實態——“抗租”、“騙租”與“主客關係”…………淩鵬/367

 

清末巴縣“健訟棍徒”何輝山與裁判式調解“憑團理剖”…………[日]夫馬進著,瞿艶丹譯/395

 

書評

鷹取祐司《秦漢官文書的基礎研究》介評……………………………石洋/421

 

社會科學文獻出版社

2016年12月

全書44.2萬,定價89元。

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New Publication: “Legalizing Space in Imperial China”, Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident

See below for information about the exciting new issue of Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident (40, 2016), edited by Jérôme Bourgon:

Les lieux de la loi en Chine impériale / Legalizing Space in Imperial China

Comment l’empire Qing (1644-1911), dernière dynastie impériale à avoir régné sur la Chine, a-t-il réussi à combiner de vastes régions en un ensemble cohérent et durable qui structure encore l’espace chinois ? Durant l’essentiel des temps historiques, la loi s’est déplacée d’un relais de poste à l’autre à la vitesse d’un cheval au galop, sous Napoléon comme sous ses contemporains en Chine. Ce pays se présente aujourd’hui comme un territoire homogène, dont tous les habitants vivent à l’heure de Pékin. Extrême-Orient, Extrême-Occident « ressuscite » un temps où les régions de cet immense ensemble avaient encore une forte identité. Autant de lieux divers que l’empire Qing (1644-1911), dernière dynastie impériale à avoir régné sur la Chine, a su combiner en un même espace juridique.

 

Table of Contents: 

 

Jérôme Bourgon
Une dogmatique de l’espace. Les lieux de la loi en Chine impériale

I. Pénaliser l’espace – Penalizing Space

Frédéric Constant
Punir par l’espace : la peine d’exil dans la Chine impériale
Punishing Through Space : The Punishment of Exile in China
清代流放地与法律空間

Eric Schluessel
The Law and the “Law”: Two Kinds of Legal Space in Late-Qing China
La Loi et la « loi » : deux genres d’espace juridique dans la Chine des Qing
法(Law)與治法:晚清中國的两種法律空間

E. John Gregory
Military Operations, Law and Late Imperial Space: The Spread of Militarized Adjudication
Opérations militaires, droit et espace dans l’empire tardif : l’essor des procédures judiciaires militarisées
軍法與常法:刑事裁判中的時空作用

Ning Laure Zhang
Entre « loi des Miao » et loi sur les Miao : le cas du trafic d’êtres humains dans le Guizhou au xviiie siècle
Between « Miaoli » and Codified Laws on the Miao : The Trafficking in Human Beings in 18th-Century Guizhou
清代苗疆控制中的苗例研究 : 以整飭跨省人口交易為例

II. Réglementer l’espace – Regulating Space

Zhiqiang Wang
Les lois spéciales à caractère régional dans le code des Qing
On Special Laws with a Regional Character in the Qing Code
論清代條例中的地區性特别法

Xin-zhe Xie
Lieux de la loi, lieux du savoir : maîtriser le temps et l’espace des autopsies sous les Qing
Spatializing Law, Spatializing Knowledge : Governing Time and Space in Qing China’s Forensic Practice
法律之所在、知識之所在 : 清代驗屍活動中的時間與空間管理

Max Oidtmann
A “Dog-eat-dog” World: Qing Jurispractices and the Legal Inscription of Piety in Amdo
Un monde de conflits féroces : pratique judiciaire et réglementation légale de la religion en Amdo sous les Qing
一個狗咬狗的世界:清代安多地區法律實踐与信仰之規範

Regard extérieur

Jean-Louis Halpérin
Spatializing Law in a Comparative Perspective of Legal History
Spacialiser le droit dans une perspective d’histoire juridique comparée

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New Book: Xiaoping Cong, Marriage, Law and Gender in Revolutionary China

Marriage, Law and Gender in Revolutionary China

Xiaoping Cong, University of Houston

Cambridge University Press, 2016

Publisher’s description: 

Xiaoping Cong examines the social and cultural significance of Chinese revolutionary legal practice in the construction of marriage and gender relations. Her book is an empirically rich investigation of the ways in which a 1943 legal dispute over an arranged marriage in a Chinese village became a legal, political and cultural exemplar on the national stage. This conceptually groundbreaking study revisits the Chinese Revolution and its impact on women and society by presenting a Chinese experience that cannot and should not be theorized in the framework of Western discourse. Taking a cultural historical perspective, Cong shows how the Chinese Revolution and its legal practices produced new discourses, neologisms and cultural symbols that contained China’s experience in twentieth-century social movements, and how revolutionary practice was sublimated into the concept of ‘self-determination’, an idea that bridged local experiences with the tendency of the twentieth-century world, and that is a revolutionary legacy for China today.

Table of contents: 

Introduction
Part I. Locality, Marriage Practice and Women:
1. The case of Feng v. Zhang: marriage reform in a revolutionary region
2. The appeal: women, love, marriage, and the revolutionary state
Part II. Legal Practice and New Principle:
3. The new adjudication: the judicial construction in marriage reform
4. A new principle in the making: from ‘freedom’ to ‘self-determination’ of marriage through legal practice
Part III. Politics and Gender in Construction:
5. Newspaper reports: casting a new democracy in village communities
6. The Qin opera and the ballad: from rebellious daughters to social mothers
7. The Ping opera and movie: nationalizing the new marriage practice and politicizing the state-family, 1949–1960
Epilogue: ‘Liu Qiao’er’, law, and zi-zhu: beyond 1960
Bibliography
Index.

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New Publications: Macabe Keliher

We are pleased to announce the following new articles by Macabe Keliher. They are available on Macabe’s SSRN page: http://ssrn.com/author=2489790

  1. Macabe Keliher and Hsinchao Wu, “Corruption, Anticorruption, and the Transformation of Political Culture in Contemporary China,” The Journal of Asian Studies 75, no. 01 (February 2016): 5–18.
  2. Macabe Keliher, “Administrative Law and the Making of the First Da Qing Huidian,” Late Imperial China 37, no. 1 (2016): 55–107.
  3. Ke Li (Macabe Keliher), “Li zhe xingzhenfa ye: shiqi shiji zhengzhi fencing yu Qingchao xingzheng zhixu de jiangou [Li as Administrative Law: Political Stratification and the Construction of Qing Administrative Order in Seventeenth-Century China] (in Chinese),” Fudan Law Review 3 (2016).
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New Book: Marie Seong-Hak Kim ed. The Spirit of Korean Law: Korean Legal History in Context

The Spirit of Korean Law: Korean Legal History in Context

Edited by Marie Seong-Hak Kim

Brill, 2016

Publisher’s description: 

This is the first book on Korean legal history in English written by a group of leading scholars from around the world. The chapters set forth the developments of Korean law from the Chosŏn to colonial and modern periods through the examination of codified laws, legal theories and practices, and jurisprudence. The contributors’ shared premise is that the evolution of Korean law can be best understood when viewed in terms of its interactions with outside laws. Each chapter integrates literature in Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Western languages into comprehensive analyses to make up-to-date research available to readers both inside and outside Korea. This volume provides a solid framework from which to approach Korean legal history in the perspective of comparative legal traditions.

Table of contents: 

Preface
List of Contributors

Introduction: Searching for the Spirit of Korean Law
Marie Seong-Hak Kim

Part 1 Legal Codes and Institutions of the Chosŏn Dynasty

The Chosŏn Law Codes in an East Asian Perspective
Jérôme Bourgon and Pierre-Emmanuel Roux

Circulation of Law and Jurisprudence in Korea and China: Homicide and the Notion of Requital for Life
Frédéric Constant

Confucian Ideology and Legal Developments in Chosŏn Korea: A Methodological Essay
Anders Karlsson

Part 2 Law and the Legal System under Colonial Rule

The Rise of Korean Constitutional Thought (1875–1945): An East Asian Perspective
Noriko Kokubun

Can There Be Good Colonial Law? Korean Law and Jurisprudence under Japanese Rule Revisited
Marie Seong-Hak Kim

Legality or Legitimacy: Revisiting Debates on the Korea-Japan Annexation Treaties
Samuel Guex

Part 3 Law, Court, and Legal Reform in Modern Korea

The Making of the Constitution and the Civil Code in Postliberation Korea
Joon-Young Moon

The Role of the Constitutional Court of Korea in the Transition from Authoritarian to Democratic Rule
Justine Guichard

Korea and the Reform of the Northeast Asian Legal Complex
Tom Ginsburg

Index

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New Book: Matthew S. Erie, China and Islam: The Prophet, the Party, and Law

China and Islam: The Prophet, the Party, and Law

Matthew S. Erie, University of Oxford

Cambridge University Press, 2016

Publisher’s description: 

China and Islam examines the intersection of two critical issues of the contemporary world: Islamic revival and an assertive China, questioning the assumption that Islamic law is incompatible with state law. It finds that both Hui and the Party-State invoke, interpret, and make arguments based on Islamic law, a minjian (unofficial) law in China, to pursue their respective visions of ‘the good’. Based on fieldwork in Linxia, ‘China’s Little Mecca’, this study follows Hui clerics, youthful translators on the ‘New Silk Road’, female educators who reform traditional madrasas, and Party cadres as they reconcile Islamic and socialist laws in the course of the everyday. The first study of Islamic law in China and one of the first ethnographic accounts of law in postsocialist China, China and Islam unsettles unidimensional perceptions of extremist Islam and authoritarian China through Hui minjian practices of law.

 

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Recent Publication: Geoffrey MacCormack, “Recidivist, Multiple and Gang Thefts”

“Recidivist, Multiple and Gang Thefts: The Transformation of the Law of Theft in Late Qing China.”

Geoffrey MacCormack, University of Aberdeen, Emeritus

The Journal of Comparative Law 10, no. 2 (2015): 455-483.

Abstract:

The serious problem of brigandage in the 18th and 19th centuries led to the progressive introduction of draconian legislation not just for forcible theft but even for secret theft where gangs were involved or individuals repeatedly stole. The new legislation transformed the existing law in two main ways: (i) special punishments were introduced (the cangue or attachment to a stone/iron bar), essentially replacing beating or penal servitude, and (ii) the extent of punishment no longer depended so much on the value of the goods stolen as on the number of persons involved in the theft and the number of occasions on which the same offenders had committed theft. The essay studies the legislation enacted from the middle of the 18th to the middle of the 19th century.

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Recent Publication: Xiaoqun Xu, “The Chinese Judiciary under the Japanese Occupation”

“The Chinese Judiciary under the Japanese Occupation: Criminal and Civil Justice in Jiangsu, 1938-1945”

Xiaoqun Xu, Christopher Newport University

The Chinese Historical Review 22, no.2 (2015): 120-140.

Abstract:

Sitting at the intersection of Chinese legal-judicial history and the history of wartime occupation and collaboration, this study examines how Chinese judiciary functioned in Jiangsu under the Japanese occupation during the Second Sino-Japanese War. It finds that judicial institutions and procedures established prior to 1937 were carried forward, and the judicial system operated, and Chinese legal culture manifested itself, in a fashion similar to those in the prewar period. It argues that Chinese life under the occupation had multiple dimensions, and multiple shades in each dimension, including but not limited to: tremendous sufferings from the war destruction and the Japanese atrocities; actions of resistance and collaboration; and a majority of the population trying to survive and go about their lives as normally as possible. In the end, the continuity in the judicial field resulted from the interactive dynamics of the long-term effect of the judicial reform and the near-term impact of the Japanese occupation and Chinese collaboration.
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Recent Publication: Roy L. Sturgeon, “China’s Homegrown Free-Speech Tradition”

“China’s Homegrown Free-Speech Tradition: Imperial Past and Modern Present. And Post-Modern Future?

Roy L. Sturgeon, Tulane University Law School

Florida Journal of International Law 26, no. 2 (2014): 291-330.

Abstract:

Freedom of speech, or the right to publicly criticize government officials and policies without being criminally prosecuted or otherwise deprived of personal liberty, is the most important right citizens have in nations claiming to be democratic, respect human rights, and follow the rule of law. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) Constitution grants citizens this right. But those exercising it in the political sphere have met grave problems since the PRC’s founding in 1949. Tension and conflict over free speech in China, however, are not only recent phenomena. They have existed for millennia. A recounting of six important free-speech cases throughout Chinese history shows why the ruling Communist Party should give ordinary citizens a greater say in public affairs to help fix the nation’s chronic legal and political problems and sustain breathtaking economic reforms begun in 1978. Albeit hard, this is the best way for the Party to save itself and avert full-blown social unrest in the short term as well as transform the PRC into more than the world’s sweatshop by century’s end.

 

Note: This article is available on HeinOnline, LexisNexis, and Westlaw, and freely available on SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2410656.

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Chinese Legal Documents Series #7

The ISCLH Blog is happy to provide another update to the Chinese Legal Documents Series! This special series invites researchers to introduce a document from their own collections, provide a translation, and discuss what these texts might be used to study. Our goal is to showcase the research of members, offer a small corpus of legal texts for the training of students, and give readers a wide view of what the study of Chinese legal history looks like.

Our latest post comes from Eric Schluessel, Assistant Professor of History and Political Science in the Department of History, University of Montana. Professor Schluessel teaches courses in the history and politics of China. His research focuses on the social history of Xinjiang, a Muslim-majority region in Chinese Central Asia, during the Qing dynasty (1636-1911) and twentieth century.

The document below is a translation of an 1881 petition from Han shi, Hui woman from Turpan. Her petition describes her difficult life in the aftermath of the 1877 reconquest of Xinjiang by Qing forces. While Han shi herself was not a historically important figure, her experiences are historically significant. In essence, they embody the struggles of many people coming to terms with loss and recovery across postwar Xinjiang. Her petition is also an example of one narrative strategy otherwise helpless individuals employed to secure official support for their quotidian disputes.

A printable PDF version is also available for download here. As always, we welcome any comments and suggestions you might have and would be especially eager to hear from those who have used this document in the classroom. Finally, please e-mail Maura Dykstra if you are interested in contributing a future document for the series.

Eric Schluessel, “Families Divided and United in Late-Qing Xinjiang,” Chinese Legal Documents Series (International Society for Chinese Law and History) 3, No. 2 (June 2016)
Permanent Link: http://chineselawandhistory.com/blog/2016/06/07/chinese-legal-documents-series-007/


Families Divided and United in Late-Qing Xinjiang

Introduction

1877 was a glorious year for the Hunan Army. The fighting force under the command of Zuo Zongtang (1812-1885) completed its campaign to retake Xinjiang, lost in the Muslim uprisings of 1864, from the Khoqandi regime of Yaʿqūb Beg (1820-1877). The army settled in to rule. For thirty more years, its officers directed a program to transform the Inner Asian region into their vision of a Chinese provincial society.

For ordinary people who lived in Xinjiang – Uyghur, Hui, and Han alike – 1877 was simultaneously a relief and a shock. Individuals’ narratives of the uprisings, reconquest, and reconstruction are recorded mainly in local yamen documents, which have been inaccessible for most of the past century. Fortunately, the late-Qing archive of the Turpan prefectural yamen was recently published in facsimile, and its ninety-one volumes contains thousands of stories.[1] Plaints and testimonies tell us that, for the people of Turpan, a Muslim-majority city in Eastern Xinjiang, the preceding thirteen years had been very difficult, especially for the Hui. After the Han had fled, conflicts continued between Hui and Uyghurs. At one point, Yaʿqūb Beg’s forces besieged the Hui of Turpan for six months, starving them out, then marched many of them off to Kashgar as slaves. Later, when the Hunan Army arrived, many others fled. When the army wintered in Turpan, they stretched the local supply of grain, causing food prices to rise sharply. While the army’s presence meant an end to the ongoing violence between groups, it ushered in a new kind of turmoil as displaced people struggled to survive.

The Turpan prefectural archive attests to the nature of those struggles and the means that people used to address them. At the same time that economic instability and sudden shifts in the social fabric of the region threatened the livelihood of many residents, the Hunan Army’s reconstruction agencies (shanhou ju 善後局) began to process displaced people and establish them in new households. Demobilized soldiers were often “assigned” women to be their wives, including Hui and Turki who had no interest in marrying a non-Muslim Han, as well as women who were already married. If their husbands reappeared, the agencies ruled that this original marriage was no longer valid. An agency marriage was a permanent reassignment.

The documents in the “rites section” archive speak to the ways in which Xinjiang society changed on an intimate level in the wake of the uprisings and reconquest. They point to the attitudes of Han soldiers and merchants with regard to sexuality and gendered relationships. Most importantly, perhaps, they provide a rare chance to listen to women themselves, who have been almost invisible in scholarship on Xinjiang history. Despite layers of convoluted representation, editing, and self-censorship, we may get some sense of what life was like for a woman struggling to survive in 1870s Xinjiang and what her range of possible actions might have been.

GX 07.06 “吐魯番廳為回婦韓氏婚變之批文” in Qingdai Xinjiang dang’an xuanji, (Guilin: Guangxi Shifan Daxue Chubanshe, 2012), vol. 28, 218.

Original Text

懇呈

具懇恩回民婦韓式,年四十五歲,係本屬人,為懇  恩存案,以杜後患事。

情於光緒三年大兵克復吐城,氏夫馬朝昇彼[被]安逆擄赴南台,氏在吐母子三人,日謀升斗幫工盤養。

於四年春間斗價昂貴,口食難度。氏自行主嫁與漢民李朝榮為妻,將兩個兒女亦帶在李家。

去春氏將女許配姜興順為婚。李朝榮把氏與小兒搬往山北納戶。不幸將至瑪納斯,氏小兒病故。李朝榮見小兒喪命,心情義斷,每日嫌怨,無可奈何,請憑綏萊[來]街約等理處,着氏返吐,到女婿家中安身。

不料本月初四日,氏回夫馬朝昇由南台歸來,在街相認。氏無著落,正在兩難,原配相認,不敢苟,且請本城鄰約理處,且現在女婿家安身,恐離別之後,氏後夫李朝榮聞知,來吐與女婿姜姓另生枝端,眾等不敢定奪,只得呈明,懇祈  青天大老爺作主存案,賞准氏婦與原配,則氏感戴   深恩於生生世世矣。

懇恩:回婦韓氏

批:X飭該管鄉約查案核奪,此批。

光緒七年六月六日

Translation

A petition.

I, the Hui woman Han shi, 45 sui, from this jurisdiction, petition to preserve a plaint on file in the yamen, so as to prevent trouble in the future.

In Guangxu 3, when the great army retook Turpan, my husband Ma Chaosheng was carried off to the South by the Andijani bandits. I was in Turpan with two children, scraping by, doing odd jobs to keep us fed.

In the spring of Guangxu 4, the price of grain shot up, and it was hard to get ahold of food. I, of my own volition, married a Han man, Li Chaorong, as his wife and brought along two of my children into his household, a boy and a girl.

Last spring, I married my daughter to Jiang Xingshun. Li Chaorong moved me and my little boy north over the mountains to farm. Sadly, when we got to Manas, my little boy got sick and died. After Li Chaorong saw my little boy die, his resentment grew day by day. There was nothing else for it: he asked a local headman in Suilai to mediate. I was ordered back to Turpan to live with my son-in-law.

Suddenly, on the fourth day of this month, my Hui husband Ma Chaosheng returned from the South. We recognized each other on the street. Now I have no solution for this – I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. When my first husband and I recognized each other, we dared not act carelessly. Instead, we asked a local headman to mediate. Right now, I am at my son-in-law’s. I am afraid that, now we are separated, my second husband Li Chaorong will hear about this, and he will come to Turpan and start some new trouble with my son-in-law Mr. Jiang. We do not dare make a decision on our own, so we can only beg the just magistrate to step in. If you will permit me to return to my first husband, you will have our gratitude for generations.

Petitioner: the Hui woman Han shi

Order from Magistrate Yang [Danian]: Order the village headman to investigate.

Guangxu 7.6.6 [1 July 1881]

Analysis

The life of Han shi, a Hui woman from Turpan, reflects the social and economic conditions described above: first her husband was carried off by Yaʿqūb Beg’s army of local Muslims and “Andijanis.” Like so many other separated during the Muslim Uprisings, she gave her husband up for dead, or lost for good. She worked as best she could to keep her family fed, until rising grain prices in 1878, one year after the Hunan Army’s arrival, pushed them to the edge of starvation. Han shi responded to these worsening conditions by finding a new husband who could maintain her and by marrying off a daughter. That her second husband was Han mattered little – such arrangements were common enough. Like many demobilized soldiers, after arriving in Turpan, he sought out some land to farm in one of the Northern, Chinese-majority towns that the Muslim Uprisings had reduced to ruins and fallow land. Along the way, her last child died, and the couple’s relations soured.

When Han shi returned to Turpan to stay with her son-in-law, a familiar story played out: her first husband returned. Now Han shi now had two husbands. According to her petition, she wanted to clear the air and receive permission from the magistrate to return to her first (Hui) husband.

Like many documents concerning these matters, it is a loner in the archive – it does not form part of a larger case documented at the level of the prefecture. As was normal in cases dealing with the family, the magistrate sent the matter back to a village headman for mediation,[2] effectively ending the paper trail. Nevertheless, Han shi’s case points to a number of questions of agency and representation that are relevant for a critical reading of the Xinjiang archive.

When the people of Xinjiang approached the Qing authorities, either on their own or through translators and other intermediaries, they tended to weave their own stories into the grand weft of history. They positioned their own narratives in relation to the traumatic events of the Muslim uprisings, the disasters of the Yaʿqūb Beg period, and the further terror and displacement caused by the Hunan Army’s reconquest. Indeed, through wave after wave of violence, internally displaced people and refugees really did struggle to maintain their lives. In the context of the yamen, however, the language of the empire’s loss and recovery of territory could lend legitimacy to their stories. In this document, Han shi represents herself as a victim of Yaʿqūb Beg’s military adventures, now a Qing subject seeking the magistrate’s help to restore her proper familial relationship.

Moreover, Han shi was not the only Hui woman who ended up married to a man of the “wrong” creed in the aftermath of the Muslim uprisings. Xinjiang’s provisional government assigned many such women to Han husbands, and then settled the couples together in areas slated for land reclamation. Still others were trafficked by (mostly Hui) merchants, who “married” them to Han soldiers. After a few weeks, the traffickers would affect their disappearance, or the women would sneak back on their own, only to be married to other men. Prostitution also became increasingly common.

When someone approached the yamen, of course, they were likely to present any and all of these arrangements in terms of normative marriage. Words like “to marry” (jia 嫁, qu 娶) and “wife” (qi 妻) euphemized a broad range of relationships that Han officials or Muslim commoners might find suspicious, inappropriate, immoral, or illegal. Men who trafficked in women presented themselves as their “husbands,” for example, while a group of prostitutes living in a common home might present themselves as a family unit. On the other hand, someone might depict a marriage they sought to disrupt as “kidnapping and selling” (guai mai 拐賣) or “Stealing a woman” (qiang nü 搶女).

Similarly, we ought to consider Han shi’s presentation of her personal narrative of loss and recovery in its broader cultural context. First, narratives of familial separation had become common in the Northwest after 1864, when communications between people in Shaanxi or Gansu and family sojourning in Xinjiang were cut off, while after 1875 stories of recovery became a means to talk about the reclamation of both relatives and imperial patrimony. Thus, Han shi’s narrative fit into a common set of narratives with which the yamen staff would have been familiar and possibly sympathetic.

Second, Han shi’s specific problem – the return of a lost husband – became a trope in the stories of the Turpan archives. Because of the social and economic changes described above, Han shi was one of many women said to have remarried in error. Yet, the yamen would have possessed no record of such a woman’s first husband – so how could the magistrate have known if their claim to be husband and wife was genuine? Perhaps, all over Xinjiang, families really were reuniting – or perhaps people found a way to convince the magistrate to extract women from abusive or difficult relationships by inventing long-lost husbands.

[1] Qingdai Xinjiang dang’an xuanji, (Guilin: Guangxi Shifan Daxue Chubanshe, 2012).

[2] Some may wonder at the translation of yue 約 as “headman,” and xiangyue 鄉約 as “village headman.” While it is true that in China proper this term denoted a “village compact,” it came in the Northwest to indicate the individual elected to lead a village.

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