The modernization of Chinese legal education: From the perspectives of traditional Chinese culture and American law ideology
As a country with a history of more than five thousand years, China's traditional culture mainly involved Confucianism (advocating the rule of morality). As the dominant political ideology, Confucianism emphasizes moral learning and personal self-cultivation so as to maintain social stability. In ancient Chinese philosophical thought on education, the unity of knowledge and action was stressed. In the moral context, the problem of doing (or practicing) plays a very prominent role. During Chinese history, affected by feudal and imperial system, legal education was conducted by government, and government officials were part-time law teachers. Non-independence and politicization are the main characteristics of Chinese legal education. Furthermore, affected by civil law tradition, legal education in China emphasizes the completeness of legal rules. The system of legal theories and concepts, practicing skills and legal ethics are neglected. Independence (or autonomy) and professionalization are the two main characteristics of American legal education. Through exploring American legal education experience, this dissertation agrees that the objectives for legal education in China should be: to deliver broad liberal knowledge and substantive legal knowledge to lead the student to understand how the law and the legal system functions; to provide the student with professional skills and responsibilities training for the development of "thinking and practicing like a lawyer." For pursuing the above objectives for Chinese legal education, legal education in China must emphasize autonomy and professionalization (not politicization). How to realize the autonomy and professionalization of legal education so as to reach the above objectives is the main problem for current legal education in China. This dissertation is concerned with the problem of the modernization of Chinese legal education. The dissertation tries to explore this problem through deep and systematic study from the perspectives of traditional Chinese culture and the ideology of American legal education.