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Da-Qing lüli 大清律例, the Qing Code

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Da-Qing lüli 大清律例 "Laws and precedents of the Great Qing" is the law code of the Qing dynasty 清 (1644-1911). After the conquest of the Ming empire 明 (1368-1644), the new rulers of the Qing for a few years still made use of the old Ming law code, the Da-Ming lü 大明律. But already in 1646 a new Qing code was issued with the lengthy title of Da-Qing lü jijie fu li 大清律集解附例 "Laws of the Great Qing with collected commentaries and appended precedents". Ten years later a Manchu version was published. In 1689 recent cases were added, and in 1738 again new precedents were incorporated in the code. In 1740 the code was renamed Da-Qing lüli, or short, Da-Qing lü 大清律 "The Qing Code". The last actualization of the code was undertaken in 1910.
The Qing code is 40 juan "scrolls" long. The core of the code were laws ( 律) that often followed examples of older codexes like that of the Ming or even the Tang dynasty 唐 (618-907) code Tanglü shuyi 唐律疏義. The head chapter (shoupian 首篇) serves to define punishments, delicts, sentences and criteria for judgments, like intentional or non-intentional crimes, official and private cases, first crimes or having previous records. Following the Ming code, all laws are arranged under the ministry under which jurisdiction each law case had to be judged. Below the six ministerial categories, laws are arranged in 30 different topics, like offices, households, land, marriages, granaries, taxes, markets, offerings and sacrifices, military cases, pastures, passes and fords, postal stations, robbery and banditry, bribery, violence, slandery etc., resulting in 436 articles (tiao 條) in total.
Behind the law and the commentary text follow precedents (li 例), i.e. actual law cases, including the emperor's decision how to judge the case or to solve a problem. This decision had the exemplarious character of a precedent was had to be adhered to in similar law cases. Unlike laws, precedents could be altered in the course of time and according to circumstances. A judge, in most cases a district governor or a prefectural magistrate, had always to follow the newest precedents. The importance of precedents in daily business of the Qing law courts was thus far greater than that of the actual laws, and in many cases precedents might be contradictory to laws that had been issued a hundred years before.
The first part of the Qing code is enriched by numerous illustrations.

1. 律目 Lümu Index of laws
2. 諸圖 Zhutu Charts
3. 服制 Fuzhi Official robes
4.-5. 名例律 Minglilü Terminology of precedents and laws
6. 吏律職制 Lilü zhizhi Ministry of Personnel: Structure of state offices
7. 吏律公式 Lilü gongshi Ministry of Personnel: Formulas
8. 戶律戶役 Hulü huyi Ministry of Revenue: Households and corvée service
9. 戶律田宅 Hulü tianyi Ministry of Revenue: Real estate
10. 戶律婚姻 Hulü hunyin Ministry of Revenue: Marriage
11.-12. 戶律倉庫 Hulü cangku Ministry of Revenue: Granaries
13. 戶律課程 Hulü kecheng Ministry of Revenue: Tax assessment
14. 戶律錢債 Hulü qianzhai Ministry of Revenue: Money and debts
15. 戶律市廛Hulü shichan Ministry of Revenue: Markets and booths
16. 禮律祭祀 Lilü jisi Ministry of Rites: State offerings
17. 禮律儀制 Lilü yizhi Ministry of Rites: Structure of etiquette
18. 兵律宮衛 Binglü gongwei Ministry of War: Garrisons and command posts
19. 兵律軍政 Binglü junzheng Ministry of War: Military administration
20. 兵律關津 Binglü guanjin Ministry of War: Passes and fords
21. 兵律廐牧 Binglü jiumu Ministry of War: Stables and pastures
22. 兵律郵驛 Binglü youyi Ministry of War: Courier service
23.-25. 刑律賊盜 Xinglü zeidao Ministry of Justice: Bandits and robbers
26. 刑律人命 Xinglü renming Ministry of Justice: Murder
27.-28. 刑律鬬毆 Xinglü dou'ou Ministry of Justice: Brawls
29. 刑律罵詈 Xinglü mali Ministry of Justice: Scold
30. 刑律訴訟 Xinglü susong Ministry of Justice: Lawsuits
31. 刑律受贓 Xinglü shouzang Ministry of Justice: Corruption
32. 刑律詐偽 Xinglü zhawei Ministry of Justice: Deception
33. 刑律犯姦 Xinglü fanjian Ministry of Justice: Treason
34. 刑律雜犯 Xinglü zafan Ministry of Justice: Miscellaneous offenses
35. 刑律捕亡 Xinglü buwang Ministry of Justice: Arrestation of escaped prisoners
36.-37. 刑律斷獄 Xinglü duanyu Ministry of Justice: Verdicts
38. 工律營造 Gonglü yingzao Ministry of Works: Construction
39. 工律河防 Gonglü hefang Ministry of Works: Water conservation
40.-46. 總類 Zonglei Universal regulations
47. 比引律條 Biyin lütiao Comparative use of laws

Source: Yu Bingkun 俞炳坤 (1992), "Da-Qing lüli 大清律例", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, pp. 142f.

July 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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