• Date: April 24
  • Time: 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
  • Speaker: Dr. Yan ZHANG
  • Venue: E21B-G002
  • Organizer: Department of Sociology
  • Phone: 8822 4595

This research investigates the implementation of China’s first-ever national Anti-Domestic Violence Law, enacted in 2016. Applying Braithwaite’s responsive regulation theory, it reveals that the legal framework of the Chinese Anti-Domestic Violence Law aligns closely with the theory. The essence of responsive regulation theory is depicted as a pyramid: Treatment of wrongdoers should commence at the pyramid’s base with restorative justice (RJ) strategies, such as negotiation, education, and communication. It escalates to punitive approaches, like administrative penalties, only reluctantly and when RJ strategies fail; it then advances to more punitive measures, such as criminal penalties, only when lesser sanctions prove ineffective. However, interviews with police officers and lawyers—front-line legal professionals who deal with the law and DV stakeholders—suggest that the regulatory pyramid for domestic violence in China has collapsed. On the one hand, the RJ base of the pyramid is significantly compromised, with victims’ stakes often ignored or sacrificed in many DV cases. On the other hand, cases typically do not escalate to the pyramid’s upper layers due to Chinese cultural resistance to formal DV intervention and the entrenched institutional interests of front-line police. This article offers a comprehensive perspective to understand the implementation of the Anti-Domestic Violence Law in China and contributes to the literature on responsive regulation with insights from the Chinese context.