China Seminar | 14 September 2006

Lawyers in Chinese Cinema

Alison W. Conner Alison W. Conner

This talk will examine the depiction of lawyers in Chinese movies of the 1930s and 1940s. Chinese lawyers or almost-lawyers do make an appearance in more recent movies, such as The Story of Qiu Ju and Red Corner. But the modern Chinese legal profession is a much earlier creation: the first regulations on lawyers were adopted in 1912. Some twenty years later, lawyers are shown in two of the best and most famous movies of the day, Goddess (1934) and Street Angels (1937), although perhaps not in a flattering light. Do other professionals come off any better?

Dr. Alison W. Conner is Professor of Law and Director of International Programs at the University of Hawaii’s Wm S. Richardson School of Law. Before joining the University of Hawaii in 1995, she practiced law in New York and then taught law at Nanjing University, the National University of Singapore and the University of Hong Kong. During the 2004 spring semester she returned to China as a Fulbright distinguished lecturer at Tsinghua University law school. She has won notable teaching awards at the University of Hawaii, offering courses in Corporations, Chinese law, Comparative Law and Introduction to American Law. Dr. Conner publishes widely on modern Chinese law as well as Chinese legal history. Her current research focuses on legal developments in China during the 1920s and 1930s.