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John C. H. Wu Edit Profile


also known as Wu Ching-hsiung

jurist , author

John C.H. Wu was a Chinese jurist and author. He wrote works in Chinese, English, French, and German on Christian spirituality, Chinese literature (including a translation of the Tao Te Ching) and on legal topics.


He was born in Ningbo, Chekiang, China on May 28, 1899.


John C. H. Wu was first placed under a Confucian teacher, but this was distasteful to him because of the strictness of traditional ethics and he entered a school in 1907. He also attended Hsiao Shin College in Ningpo, China in 1914 and Shanghai Baptist College in 1916 to study physics and chemistry. In 1917 he entered Peiyang University in Tientsin and after a half year of study there, left to attend the Comparative Law School of China in Shanghai, from which he was graduated with honors in 1920 with Bachelor of Laws degree. Then he went to America in the same year and entered the University of Michigan law school and received his Juris Doctor degree in 1921.

His work was so satisfactory that on the recommendations of Dean Bates and Profs. of the University, he was given a travelling- fellowship in international law offered by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and studied at the University of the Sorbonne for a year 1921-22 and the following year in the University of Berlin.

While there he wrote an essay on "The Juristic Philosophy of Mr. Justice Holmes". He returned to America in 1923 and entered the Harvard University law school as a graduate student. While there he wrote "The Juristic Philosophy of Roscoe Pound" and an essay on "Stammler and his Critics". He returned to China in 1924 and joined the faculty of the Comparative Law School of China and during his five and a half years taught some 10 subjects including the law of property, international law, Roman law, German civil law, jurisprudence, philosophy of law, torts and agency.


Upon the retirement of Dean Blume in 1927, John C. H. Wu became principal of the school. The same year he was appointed judge of the civil division of the Shanghai Provisional Court and in one of his decisions laid down the principle that "the law of nations is a part of the common law of China". He also was appointed a member of the codification commission attached to the Ministry of Justice in 1928. In the summer of the same year he rejoined the Provisional Court as presiding judge of the criminal division. He also published a volume containing all of his law review articles entitled "Essays and Juridical Studies" in 1928. When Ho Shih-chen resigned the presidency of the Court in August 1929, he succeeded him as President but soon resigned in order to prepare his lectures to be delivered at Northwestern University law school, Chicago, as a holder of the Rosenthal Foundation Lectureship.

In the meantime he also accepted an invitation to join the faculty of Harvard law school as a research fellow for a year. Owing to the ill health of Mrs. Wu, he declined the invitation and returned to China in July, 1930. In 1931 he became Advisor on Municipal Affairs to the Shanghai Municipal Council. In September 1932, he was appointed Councillor of j the Provisional Council of the City Government of Greater Shanghai and in January 1933, he was appointed a member of the Legislative Yuan by the Central Political Council upon recommendation of Sun Fo, President of the Yuan and was made vice-chairman of the Committee for drafting a permanent Constitution for China. He was Chairman of Law Codification Committee of the Legislative Yuan and Kditor-in-Chief of the Sun Yat-sen Institute for the Advancement of Culture iand Education at Nanking.

Besides the above mentioned works, he had written and published "The Balancing of Interests", "Realistic Analysis of Legal Concepts, Confucius and the Legist"s, "The Legal system of Old and New China: A Comparison, Types of Juridical Thinking", "The Functions of Legal Method", "The Mind of Mr. Justice Holmes". In collaboration with M. C. Liang, he published a volume entitled Readings on Legal Philosophy and a collection of essays entitled "An Anthology of Contemporary English Prose". He was also Managing Editor of Tien Hsia Monthly, Shanghai.


  • book

    • "The Balancing of Interests"

    • Realistic Analysis of Legal Concepts, Confucius and the Legists

    • The Legal System of Old and New China: A Comparison, Types of Juridical Thinking

    • The Functions of Legal Method

    • The Mind of Mr. Justice Holmes