Rejection or acceptance: Finding reasons for the late Qing magistrate's comments on land and debt petitions

Linxia Liang

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    Many scholars accept that the magistrate under the Qing (1644-1911) dealt with land and debt disputes with great discretion. Through the investigation of first-hand court records of magistrates' reasons for accepting or rejecting land and debt petitions, this article demonstrates for the first time that the assumption and myth that the magistrate either returned petitions to mediators for settlement or dealt with them in a Solomonic fashion does not hold water. The magistrate rejected or accepted petitions on the merits of individual cases in accordance with Qing law. It shows that litigation on private matters in the Qing was rationally administered even at this stage.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)276-294
    Number of pages18
    JournalBulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
    Issue number2 (2005)
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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