A unique feature of traditional Chinese law was the provision by statute that an offender who voluntarily surrendered and confessed before discovery and who made full restitution was entitled to remsision of punishment. Offenders who physically harmed their victims or offended against die state itself by commiting treason or escaping across borders were not entitled to remission, but could receive a reduction of punishment. Under the Republic this provision, known as tzu-shou, was continued in name but materially changed in substance under the influence of Western law as introduced through Japan. In general, the rewards for voluntary surrender and confession were reduced to mere reduction of punishment, but the scope was broadened to include crimes such as homicide, for which restitution was impossible. When the Chinese Communists first began developing a legal system in the 1930's, they too adopted tzu-shou. However, under them it became primarily an instrument of political control and social and ideological reform. It has remained an important aspect of Communist law even to the present though its application has ceased to have any strict legal significance.

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