Working Paper 138

State Authority Contested along Jurisdictional Boundaries. Qing legal policy towards the Mongols in the 17th and 18th centuries

Dorothea Heuschert-Laage

Department ‘Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia’

Year of publication

Number of pages

Working Paper 138

Controversies over jurisdictional competence played an important role in defining the nature of the relationship between the Qing emperors (1636–1912) and their Mongolian subjects. Manchu-Mongolian interaction in the field of law goes back to the time before the proclamation of the Qing dynasty, when it was common for Mongols to appeal to the Manchu ruler in legal situations they were dissatisfied with. The establishment of the Court for Mongolian Affairs, better known under its Chinese name Lifanyuan, can be understood as an attempt to channel this incoming communication of Mongols. Mongolian legal authorities invested with limited jurisdictional power or litigants trying to play authorities against each other were contending with the Lifanyuan over its areas of responsibility and therefore were instrumental in shaping this office’s scope of tasks. Looking at the Lifanyuan’s competences in the field of law this paper maintains that we can see a shift from a multi-jurisdictional legal order towards greater coherence and consistency and a trend towards incorporating Mongols into the legal system of China.

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