Abstract and keywords
Abstract (English):
The article describes the institution of confession under torture in the criminal proceedings of traditional China. The research featured legislative documents, also official and unofficial manuals for judges with torture rules and practice analysis. Tang lü shu yi, or Criminal Regulations of the Tan with Explanations, was a criminal code of the Tang dynasty which dated back to 653 AD. Its standards of extreme interrogation were applied without fundamental changes until the collapse of the Qing Empire in 1912. The author refutes the popular opinion that the method of enhanced interrogation prevailed in the system of evidence in criminal cases in imperial China. In fact, confession under torture was never the regina probationum of the Chinese criminal law. Torture was a legal means of obtaining a confession, but it was always considered a last resort. Moreover, extreme interrogation was undesirable from the standpoint of Confucian ideas about humanity and generosity. Chinese criminal proceedings have similar features to the inquisition proceedings might have had a lot in common with Spanish inquisitional processes, although it cannot be considered as such, since preference has always been given to voluntary confession, and the sentence could be passed without confession, based only on the testimony of witnesses and a set of other evidence. Violation of torture rules always caused severe criminal penalties; however, their abuse was a common practice in imperial Chinese courts.

mperial China, criminal trial, confession under torture, code of the Tang dynasty, manuals for judges, torture rules
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