Research based on data from Western countries on gender and sentencing has resulted in three competing theories: the paternalism/chivalry theory, the evil woman theory, and the family-based justice theory. Using court data from China, this study examines the characteristics of violent capital offenses and assesses the possible impact of gender on sentencing decisions. While gender did not have a significant net impact on sentencing outcomes in regression analyses, the results of the qualitative comparative analysis suggest that unique profiles of the female capital murder cases had more severe case characteristics than their male counterparts did. Case narratives further suggest that both the paternalism and evil woman theories may be applicable in the Chinese context.
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