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China, India and the Processes of Modernisation: A Historico-Legal Perspective
Long-term analysis of the trajectories of legal development in China and India highlights how the two civilisations have reacted differently to the ideological, political and social assaults of European industrialisation. It emerges just as clearly, however, that such differences result mainly from the specificities of two societies characterised by distinctive relational mechanisms between centre and periphery, which have created very different levels of resistance to outside pressure. What is striking is the commonality of the coordinated pressures to which each of the two countries has been subjected in the wake of the expansion of industrial and financial capitalism. These forces suggest a gradual but seemingly irresistible process of homologation for China and India. It is precisely these forces, combined with their cultural and political offshoots, that are currently at work, profoundly transforming the societies of two countries whose approximately two and a half billion inhabitants – it is important to remember – make up almost half the world’s population.