Confession Management and China’s Criminal Justice Verdicts

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.1, 2015


Confession Management and China’s Criminal Justice Verdicts



Li Xunhu


The objective phenomenon of dependence upon confession is the source of many problems in China’s criminal justice practice. Despite repeated efforts to revise the law, it has not been able to eliminate the difficulties of an ossified model of governance, governance strategies that are at odds with each other, and contradictory governance attitudes. Based on multidimensional interpretations of confession dependence, including functional analyses, cultural explanations and investigations of realities, the author re-explains it from the point of view of the judge and finds that, in addition to its role in psychological consolation, and evasion of responsibility, confession, as a medium for managing persons and thought, also has the more important function of reinforcing the legitimacy of criminal verdicts. A coordinated improvement in rebuilding the legitimacy of criminal adjudication and the governance of confessions will change the mode of interconnectivity between the governing entity and the governed; it will have an impact on the existing closed-end model of criminal justice governance, and thus will promote the transformation of criminal justice governance in China.