Shin Kawashima

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law


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This chapter examines the recognition of space and foreign relations in Chinese dynasties; the translation and teaching of international law; and the building of a modern State and the Wanguo Gongfa. It discusses how international law was received in China from the Chinese point of view. It was only when William Martin translated Henry Wheaton’s Elements of International Law as Wanguo Gongfa, which was then published by the Zongli Yamen (the government body in charge of foreign affairs during the late Qing Dynasty) in 1865, that China first received international law as text. However, Wanguo Gongfa is not now used in China. Instead, the term Guoji (Gong)fa (international (public) law), which was brought back to China by intellectuals who studied in Japan in the early 20th century, has replaced it to the present day.

Keywords: international law; Chinese perspectives; Wanguo Gongfa; Chinese dynasties; William Martin

Article.  11665 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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