Drawing upon my earlier publications on the training， career， and judicial practice as well as governmental regulation of Qing private legal advisors （xingming and qiangu muyou）， this article explores how these private specialists produced， distributed， and controlled legal knowledge in late imperial China. By examining a large number of unpublished or ″secret″ manuscripts （muyou miben） and printed copies of legal treatises and handbooks from the 1600s through the early 1900s， this article shows that despite China’s early use of printing technology since many centuries before， hand-written manuscripts continued to play a crucial role in the production and circulation of legal knowledge in Qing China. In their everyday study and administration of law， many legal advisors developed the habit of adding useful notes， laws， or cases to their notebooks or personal copies of the Qing Code. A collection of such notes and documents after many years of legal practice would be highly valuable to other legal specialists and local administrators. By keeping these manuscripts confidential or available to only a small circle of relatives and students， Qing legal advisors could potentially increase the value of their legal expertise while reducing competition from those interested in acquiring such knowledge. Many of these legal treatises continued to be circulated in manuscript form throughout the Qing period （1644-1911）， but a number of them were also distributed widely in multiple printed editions. For purposes of illustration， this article investigates the fascinating and complicated stories of the nationwide circulation of some of the treatises by Qing legal advisors in both manuscript and print （see the few charts herein about Xie Chengjun’s Qiuyan Zhi and Bai Ruzhen’s Xingming Yide）． Given the benefit of keeping their manuscripts private， why would Qing legal advisors make them publicly available in print？ Doing so served a few purposes: （1） These publications were often printed at a late stage of the authors’ legal career and used to vindicate their reputation; （2） publishing their manuscripts helped fulfill the authors’ sense of social responsibility by teaching others how to properly administer law and justice; and （3） legal publishing was essential to establishing or maintaining their professional authority as well as offsetting the negative official portrayal of these specialists as corrupt or immoral. In other words， printing their manuscripts could considerably improve their public image and social status while showing that their expertise and service were indispensable to the normal operation of the Qing judicial system and local governments． Moreover， close examination of the paratexts （such as the titles， cover designs， prefaces， postfaces， and so on） of these legal publications shows that Qing legal advisors were very skilled at turning their expertise and social connections into cultural， economical， and political capital. When publishing their legal treatises， legal advisors would almost invariably ask their （former） employers or other senior officials they knew to write glowing prefaces or postfaces for their books. Some high-ranking officials also agreed to finance the printing or asked their subordinate officials to subscribe to the publications. Studying these paratexts thus unearths many overlooked rich details about the network of legal knowledge production， distribution， and commercialization. These paratexts also demonstrate that by the early 1700s， many Qing local officials had taken it for granted that regardless of their own experience and knowledge， they had to hire competent legal advisor（s） to help carry out their official duties. This article illustrates how their control over legal knowledge enabled Qing legal advisors to acquire and increase their ″invisible power″ in the Qing juridical field as the de facto decision-makers in administrative and legal matters in most Qing local governments．
陈利. 知识的力量： 清代幕友秘本和公开出版的律学著作对清代司法场域的影响[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2015, 1(1): 13-32.
Chen Li. Power of Knowledge: The Role of Secret and Published Treatises of PrivateLegal Specialists in the Qing Juridical Field. JOURNAL OF ZHEJIANG UNIVERSITY, 2015, 1(1): 13-32.