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  • Chinese: 奏讞書 (Zòu yàn shū)

The Zòuyàn shū, or "Book of Doubtful Cases," was a collection of judicial cases compiled by ancient Chinese scribes. These were cases they were not quite sure of, which they sent up to Governors or other higher officials for them to decide.

Over time, as the book was copied and re-copied, the cases became elaborated, taking on elements of moralistic myth. Still, if one can sort fact from fiction, it is a good source of information on ancient Chinese law.


  • Anthony Barbieri-Low, "Slaves & Freedmen in Early Imperial China," UCSB, 12 April 2016.