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My book Legal Orientalism: China, the United States, and Modern Law (Harvard University Press 2013) was published in translation in China in 2016. This essay analyzes the Chinese reception of this book. Originally addressed to a North American readership, Legal Orientalism examines critically the asymmetric relationship in which Euro-American law and Chinese law stand to one another, the former regarding itself as an embodiment of universal values while viewing the latter’s as culturally particular ones. The essay explores what happens when a “Western” work of self-criticism is transmitted to an “Eastern” audience. In this context, it analyzes the politics of self-Orientalism, Oriental legalism, and the comparative method.


Comparative law, Chinese law, comparative method, politics of comparison, postcolonial theory, Chinese translation of Legal Orientalism, self-Orientalism, legal Orientalism, Oriental legalism

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Ancilla Iuris

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Ancilla Iuris, 2021