This paper analyzes several important jurisprudential questions implied in Dou E Yuan (Injustice to Dou E), a traditional Chinese drama of the Yuan dynasty. According to the author of this article, the script of the drama does not seem point to corrupt officials as the cause of the tragedy. Rather, the tragedy was a result of the judge's limited ability to find the truth and the low level of development of technology and society in China at the time, rather than of corrupted judicial morality. Based on this, the author discusses the meanings of some currently prevailing concepts, such as “cast iron evidence,” “the assumption of innocence,” and “extorting confessions by torture” in their historical contexts. Analyses are also made about the characters and structure of the drama, accompanied with new insights into some of the ghost plays in traditional China.
Social Sciences in China