A State Pardon: Sanctioned Violence under Nationalist Rule

Eugenia Lean

in Public Passions

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780520247185
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932678 | DOI:
A State Pardon: Sanctioned Violence under Nationalist Rule

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On October 14, 1936, at two o'clock in the afternoon, the Nationalist government announced that it was granting Shi Jianqiao a pardon. Whereas political killings generated terror precisely because of their shadowy, clandestine, and illicit nature, the acts of violence under consideration here were explicitly public and portrayed as fully legitimate by the assassins, sometimes by the regime, and especially by the public. This chapter introduces the Zheng Jicheng case. It reviews the two pardons to identify the different sources of authority the regime invoked to justify its decision to sanction the violence. It also examines the symbolic meanings attributed to state-sanctioned revenge. In this context, one can understand the regime's final decision to pardon Shi and Zheng as an official attempt to channel the righteous sentiment at the heart of these revenge cases into loyalty to its rule.

Keywords: Nationalist government; state pardon; Shi Jianqiao; political killings; assassinations; Zheng Jicheng; state-sanctioned revenge

Chapter.  16658 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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