For along time scholars have agreed that the Chinese criminal justice system is substantially retributive in aspect (Chiu 1992, p. 39). The same scholars have explored the apparent weaknesses of this system and held them up for ridicule especially when set against the foil of the international crusades for human rights. The ideological and political loyalists and apologists of the system have, however disputed these allegations and instead described the legal system as a hybrid that incorporates both the restorative and retributive aspects of justice. The thrust of their argument is that the two systems are supplementary and complementary in their operations.
The Structures of China’s criminal justice frame work are largely anchored on the philosophies of Confucianism and legalism (Siegel amp. Senna 2005). Confucianism promotes a culture of entrenched virtue that should be guided by the organs of the state. The Confucian fashion of the criminal justice system was one that would allow citizens to use the law willingly and but also minimally so that the praxis of application, reference or practice are not seen to be overbearing on the society.
The salient feature in the Confucian doctrine was the lack of force or organized formality that would preside over the cultural, moral, and social transaction of a people as represented in their everyday rhythms of life. The Confucian system imagines a ruler or the state not as an overlord on the subjects but as a virtuous edifice that should guide the rest of the citizenry through example.
The Confucian system aligns with the restorative aspect of law but does not suggest much about the loopholes within the system that might fail to address some peculiar cases of social miscreants. Legalism on the other hand advocates for strong measures by the state to uphold the means and ends of justice. In this method, punishment and coercion are deemed as necessary tools that can help the