Daniel Leese How Did China Juridically Deal with Atrocities Committed During the Cultural Revolution?

Daniel Leese is a Junior Professor of Sinology at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg (Germany). In 2003, Leese received his PhD with distinction from the International University Bremen (Germany). Leese’s research interest encapsulates China’s political, social, and cultural history, particularly in the 20th century. His monograph on the Mao Cult: Rhetoric and Ritual in China’s Cultural Revolution, has been published by Cambridge University Press in 2011 in English, and awaits the publication in Chinese. For his research Leese was awarded the ERC Starting Grant, to further investigate the Maoist Legacy.

Area of Research

Political, Social, and Cultural History of 20th-Century China, Cultural Revolution and Mao Zedong, History of the Qing Dynasty

Daniel Leese. Mao Cult: Rhetoric and Ritual in China's Cultural Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.  
Daniel Leese. Brill's Encyclopedia of China. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2009.  
Daniel Leese. "A Single Spark: Origins and Spread of the Little Red Book in China." In Mao's Little Red Book: A Global History, edited by Alexander C. Cook. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014: 23-42.  
Daniel Leese. "'Revolution’: Conceptualizing Social and Political Change in the Late Qing Dynasty." Oriens Extremus 51 (2012): 25-62.  

since 2005

Professor of Modern Chinese History and Politics

Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) (more details)

Institute of Chinese Studies (Institut für Sinologie)


Associate Professor of Modern Chinese History and Politics

Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg) (more details)

Institute of Chinese Studies (Institut für Sinologie)


Assistant Professor

Ludwig Maximilian University Munich

Institute of Chinese Studies


PhD in International History

Jacobs University Bremen


Studies in Modern and Contemporary History, Sinology and Economics

Philipps-Universität Marburg

© Sandra Meyndt/University of Freiburg

Albert Ludwigs University of Freiburg (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)

Founded in the 15th century, the University of Freiburg has a long-standing reputation of excellence in academic teaching and research. Among the most renowned university members were the philosophers Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, the economist Walter Eucken, and such Nobel Prize winners as Hans Spemann, Hermann Staudinger, Georg von Hevesy, Friedrich August von Hayek and George Köhler. Today, with its mixture of traditional subjects and modern technology, the University of Freiburg is flourishing more than ever. The university and its hospital employ more than 19,000 staff members. Organized according to the classical model of a comprehensive university, it provides 25,000 students with a broad range of subjects – from applied information technology, the entire spectrum of medical specialities and natural sciences to the fields of humanities and social sciences. Freiburg’s research and teaching policies aim to overcome the barriers between individual disciplines to create opportunities for new perspectives on complex problems. By supporting collaborative research projects across boundaries and implementing centers of knowledge and interdisciplinary graduate colleges, the university provides the disciplines an effective means by which to benefit from each other’s knowledge.

An added benefit that comes with such flexibility is an increased international interest for our university: We are pleased to have a significant number of scientists and students from all over the world, whose culture-specific views of scientific procedures and research approaches enrich the dialog with their German counterparts. 16% of the student body are from foreign countries. The general international exchange of scientific results and experiences also plays an important role at the University of Freiburg. More than 300 partner universities and programs on five continents, together with the alumni association, form a first-class international network. (Source: University of Freiburg)


Institute of Chinese Studies (Institut für Sinologie)

"Research and teaching at the Institute of Chinese Studies at Freiburg University focus on modern and contemporary China and are characterized by an interdisciplinary approach combining history and the social sciences.
In addition, the Institute offers a comprehensive training in the Chinese language.
Research at the Institute deals with a wide range of aspects concerning modern China, including Chinese politics, economy, society, culture and history.
Both in research and teaching, the Institute cooperates with China experts in the fields of history, law, sociology, medicine and psychology at Freiburg University.
We train students for occupations with a focus on China, play an active part in the international research on China and inform the public about current developments in China." (Source)


In the research presented in this video DANIEL LEESE asks how a party that did not fall from power dealt with atrocities committed under institutions of its own making. The study of case verdicts of an intermediate people’s court shows that the concept of transitional justice partly applies even though the transition is one from a totalitarian to an authoritarian regime. The study establishes that cases were dealt with on an individual basis, provides insights on who was involved in reversing verdicts and what categories of verdicts could be revised.

LT Video Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.21036/LTPUB10126

Revising Political Verdicts in Post-Mao China: The Case of Beijing's Fengtai District

  • Daniel Leese
  • Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China's Era of High Socialism
  • Published in 2015
Daniel Leese. "Revising Political Verdicts in Post-Mao China: The Case of Beijing's Fengtai District." In Maoism at the Grassroots: Everyday Life in China's Era of High Socialism, edited by Jeremy Brown and Matthew D. Johnson. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015: 102-128.