Development of Restorative Justice in China: Theory and Practice

  • State University of New York at Albany
     United States


Restorative justice has become a global social movement for criminal justice reform, with over eighty countries adopting some form of restorative justice program to tackle their crime problems. The theory of restorative justice was introduced to the Chinese academia in 2002. So far, various restorative justice programs have been developed in China. This paper aims to systematically review the development of restorative justice in China by analyzing academic literature on restorative justice and key legislative documentations. Major debates in restorative justice among Chinese scholars and a review of the indigenous restorative justice practice, criminal reconciliation (Xingshi Hejie), are provided. The study also analyzes the impetus of this soaring popularity of restorative justice in China, considering the macro social, political and legal background. Last but not least, a review of the major evaluation studies of current programs reveals that little is known about the process of various restorative justice programs from the parties’ own perspective.
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Published: 2016-12-01
Pages:76 to 86
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How to Cite
Shen, Y. (2016) “Development of Restorative Justice in China: Theory and Practice”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 5(4), pp. 76-86. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v5i4.339.

Author Biography

State University of New York at Albany
 United States

Yinzhi Shen is a PhD student in the department of sociology in State University of New York, Albany. Growing up in China, she is interested in testing and modifying Western criminological theories in the Chinese context. She is especially interested in the relationship between internal migration and crime in China and has published a journal article testing to what extent social control theory can explain the delinquency of migrant and local adolescents in China respectively. She is also interested in restorative justice and its practices in China. As Steve Messner’s student in SUNY Albany, she gains interest in integrating institutional anomie theory and general strain theory in explaining drug use in the US.