Lily Chang (University College London)

The Life of a Statute in Wartime China: Age and the Blind Spots of Modernity

This article brings into focus the entangled lines linking the wartime soldier, labourer, and prisoner, together with the process of law-making in China during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). By locating this process beyond the commonly deployed frameworks of state-building, in the country’s pursuit of modernity, an analysis of the statute’s formation reveals how these legal intricacies were shaped by, and embedded within an unpredictable and fast moving war. Through tracing the statute’s development, its emergence illuminated the inconspicuous force of legal measures, and offers an optic for investigating the mechanics and subtleties of how new laws and regulations were constructed under the Nationalist Government.