Confessions and Criminal Case Disposition in China

Hong Lu, University of Nevada - Las Vegas
Terance D. Miethe, University of Nevada - Las Vegas

This research examines the relationship between confessions and criminal case disposition in China. We describe the theoretical and structural bases of confessions, their legal development, and legal definitions in China. Bivariate and multivariate analyses for a sample of 237 court cases involving theft in China reveal that the majority of offenders confessed to their crime and showed repentance, confessors and non-confessors differ in several key legal and extra-legal factors, and confession has a conditional and an independent net effect on criminal case disposition. The effects of confession were found to be similar for various groups of offenders (e.g., recent migrants vs. long-term residents). The paper concludes with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications and problems of the system of confession.

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Updated 05/20/2006