It has often been said that the Chinese prison and penal reform in the early twentieth century was part of a global circulation of Western institutions and practices and signified China's entry into the modern era. The process has also been described as an example of how the local (China) interacted with the global (the West). By moving back in time to locate some fragments of the histories of penal practices and their representation from earlier periods, the objective of this article is to trace the trajectory in which the histories of prison and penal practices became intertwined with the politics of European expansion, and to suggest that the "modernity" of the reform was as much about the reframing of the multifarious histories of the past as a new history of difference as it was about the adoption of Western institutions and practices. In doing so, it also seeks to demonstrate how the global and the local can best be conceptualized as historical temporalities rather than specific locales.


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pp. 69-97
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