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The first volume of the Code, published in translation in 1979, specifies the basic principles of T'ang law and explains the structural standards for applying these principles. Volume II describes acts that are punishable by law and enumerates their punishments. For contemporary readers, the T'ang Code is more than simply a legal document. Studying the 445 "specific articles" sheds considerable light on Chinese culture. The portrait that emerges has surprising resonances in present-day Chinese society--its emphasis on the preservation of the family and the interrelatedness of authority and responsibility, for example. As Western relations with the countries of East Asia continue to expand today, it is increasingly important that we understand the complexities of a legal system that has evolved over more than fifteen centuries. The availability of the complete T'ang Code in English is a significant contribution to this understanding.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Law China, Criminal law China