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Book Talk: Goodman on "The Suicide of Miss Xi"

The next Transnational Legal History Group book talk of the Center for Comparative and Transnational Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong will be The Suicide of Miss Xi: A “Crime of Economics”? by Bryna Goodman, professor of history at the University of Oregon.  It will be conducted online on October 12 from12:30-1:30.  The commentator will be Chao Xi, Professor, CUHK LAW.  To attend, register here by 10am, October 12. 

On September 8, 1922, the body of the young female clerk Xi Shangzhen was found hanging in the Shanghai newspaper office where she worked. Although her death in Shanghai’s semicolonial International Settlement fell under extraterritorial jurisdiction, Chinese authorities kidnapped her US-educated social activist employer, Tang Jiezhi for trial in a Chinese court.  Xi’s family accused Tang of two crimes. The court dismissed for lack of evidence their first charge, that Tang was responsible for compelling her suicide (an old crime that was a carryover from the Qing code). Tang would be tried instead and found guilty on their second charge, that he had defrauded her of money in an investment scheme during the “Trust and Exchange Storm,” a speculative financial bubble that shook the city in the previous year. In this talk on The Suicide of Miss Xi: Democracy and Disenchantment in the Chinese Republic, Bryna Goodman probes the unfolding scandal of Xi’s suicide and the controversial trial of her US-educated May Fourth activist employer as a window into ideas and practices of liberal democracy and economic liberalism in this era of emerging stock exchanges in a time and space of colonialism, legal pluralism, and fragmented sovereignty.
--Dan Ernst

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