It’s now 5:40 in the morning, and I’m trying to collect information for a research paper. I’m very tired, my bedroom is full of spiders, mosquitoes and cockroaches, and Qing Li Fa (情理法) has got me all confused. I am ke lian incarnate, no?
Here’s what I take it to mean: Using the example of a car accident, if I hit and kill somebody whilst driving, someone who I wouldn’t have hit and killed had they not broken the law and run a red light, I am ‘legally’ responsible and must then pay reparations to the ‘victim’'s family. Based on the ‘sense’ of the matter (given that ‘li’ is tied to ‘qing’), I am at fault since I have killed someone, and finally I must be punished according to Taiwanese ‘qing’-based criminal law.
However, the way most of us understand such situations is the other way around (Fa Li Qing): According to law this person has run a red light and is at legal fault, their death is not a result of any law-breaking on my part, so I am not responsible. Based on the sense of law, I have done no wrong. ‘Qing’, well, I have no idea what role it plays in the western legal system.
I have only a very rudimentary understanding of this concept and was hoping someone might set me straight. Thanks a million.