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The political, economic and social transformations that have taken place in China over the last half-century have had a major impact upon the formal methods, institutions and mechanisms used to deal with alleged criminal infractions. This path-breaking book, based upon the largest and most systematic empirical inquiry ever undertaken in China, analyses the extent to which changes to the formal legal structure have resulted in changes to the law in practice. With unprecedented access to prosecution case files, observation of live trials and interviews with judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers, the book paints a uniquely detailed picture of China's criminal justice system as it operates in everyday cases. Among the major themes explored are: bail; detention; torture; confessions; the role of police, prosecutors and judges; the work of defence lawyers; pre-trial and trial practice; and sentencing practices, including the death penalty. The book shows, through volumes of quantitative data and the voices of judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers, how the party-state continues to influence and control both the process and outcome of criminal trials through an elaborate system of audit and sanction, the result of which is a system of aggregate rather than individual justice. With a wealth of original empirical data, this book will be of significant interest to academics and postgraduate students in the general area of Chinese Studies, human rights, criminal justice and comparative criminal justice. Policy makers, politicians and development agencies will also find it invaluable.