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Book Event



Jennifer Altehenger
King's College London A History of Legal Lessons: Law, Propaganda, and the State in Socialist China


25 Apr 2019

4:30 p.m.
4.36 Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus



In 2016, the PRC embarked on the seventh five-year plan for the popularization of law. Today, the dissemination of basic legal knowledge is an established part of CCP governance, closely associated with the extensive legal reforms that followed the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. Yet people learned about laws under state auspices throughout the twentieth-century (and before). Following the establishment of the PRC in 1949, the CCP carried out numerous campaigns to get people to study and implement key national laws such as the Marriage Law, Election Law, and state constitutions. Teaching and learning laws was part of mass line politics, intended to make laws accessible and transform people into law-making and law-abiding socialist citizens who contributed to China's liberation. This talk - part of research for a recent book - shows why the CCP cared about disseminating laws from early on, how law propaganda was produced, circulated, and censored, and how people responded to learning about laws. Far from a simple propaganda exercise, law propaganda contributed to fostering a legal culture in China that bolstered and threatened CCP rule at the same time.


Jennifer Altehenger is Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Chinese History at King's College London. She is the author of Legal Lessons: Popularizing Laws in the People's Republic of China, 1949-1989 and has also published on the history of propaganda, lexicography, and on China's links to other socialist countries. Funded by the British Academy and an Arts and Humanities Research Council leadership fellowship, her current work examines the history of everyday industrial design in the PRC.


All are welcome. No registration is required.