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Modern Chinese Legal Reform

New Perspectives

edited by Xiaobing Li and Qiang Fang

Publication Year: 2013

China's rapid socioeconomic transformation of the past twenty years has led to dramatic changes in its judicial system and legal practices. As China becomes more powerful on the world stage, the global community has dedicated more resources and attention to understanding the country's evolving democratization, and policymakers have identified the development of civil liberties and long-term legal reforms as crucial for the nation's acceptance as a global partner.

Modern Chinese Legal Reform is designed as a legal and political research tool to help English-speaking scholars interpret the many recent changes to China's legal system. Investigating subjects such as constitutional history, the intersection of politics and law, democratization, civil legal practices, and judicial mechanisms, the essays in this volume situate current constitutional debates in the context of both the country's ideology and traditions and the wider global community.

Editors Xiaobing Li and Qiang Fang bring together scholars from multiple disciplines to provide a comprehensive and balanced look at a difficult subject. Featuring newly available official sources and interviews with Chinese administrators, judges, law-enforcement officers, and legal experts, this essential resource enables readers to view key events through the eyes of individuals who are intimately acquainted with the challenges and successes of the past twenty years.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky

Series: Asia in the New Millennium


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. 6-7

List of Illustrations and Tables

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pp. vii-9


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pp. ix-x

Note on Transliteration

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pp. xi-13


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pp. xiii-xxx

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Introduction: Legal Reforms in Twentieth-Century China

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pp. 1-23

Few areas of research in China studies pose more difficulties than that of the Chinese legal system, primarily because of its unique position in Chinese society and relationship to the legitimacy of the nation’s Communist authority. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is still the state’s dominant...

Part One. From Lawlessness to the Rule of Law

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pp. 25-57

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1. Chinese Media and the Rule of Law: The Case of the China Youth Daily, 1979–2006

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pp. 27-58

Since the early days of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), CCP leaders such as Mao Zedong have repeatedly stressed the importance of public media to serve the people. According to Julian Chang, Mao first perceived the importance of political propaganda in the 1920s. In 1942 Mao evidently...

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2. Deviation in Legal Practice: Rule of Law with Chinese Characteristics

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pp. 59-81

One of the most important aspects of China’s post-Mao transition is legal reform, and there are three main imperatives behind the proposed objectives. First is a political imperative: the post-Mao government began to understand the growing importance of various institutions for administration...

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3. The Dragon’s Tale: China’s Efforts toward the Rule of Law

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pp. 83-108

China’s current constitution, which incorporated important amendments between 1978 and 2004, has finally addressed citizens’ liberties and has institutionalized these rights as a component of the nation’s judicial system that was created with the founding of the People’s Republic of China...

Part Two. Legal Reform

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pp. 109-141

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4. In Transformation toward Socio-Legality with Chinese Characteristics: A Critical View

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pp. 111-129

Socio-legality is fundamentally the institutional arrangement of a social control system that may take the shape of formal legalism, informal legalism, or a combination of both for conflict mediation and resolution. Though informal legalism (or what Max Weber calls traditional authority) is generally...

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5. Labor Law Reforms: China’s Response to Challenges of Globalization

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pp. 131-150

During the post-Mao reform years, China carried out vigorous labor law reforms, as witnessed by the promulgation of numerous laws and regulations on labor issues. What were the dynamics behind these labor law reforms? This chapter is an attempt to answer this question by focusing on the...

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6. Adaptation to WTO Standards: Changes and Adjustments to Business Laws and Regulations

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pp. 151-170

On November 10, 2001, in Doha, Qatar, the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) adopted the decision on China’s accession to the WTO. As of December 11, 2001, China officially became the 143rd member of the WTO, which marked the fact that China’s...

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7. The Death Penalty for Economic Crimes in Reformed China

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pp. 171-188

The Sanlu Group, based in Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei Province, near Beijing, had been China’s most respected dairy giant for more than a dozen years. When the executives of the Fonterra Group, the world’s largest trader of dairy products, went to Beijing to meet with their Chinese joint...

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8. China’s Policies toward Illegal Drugs and Prostitution in the New Era: Struggle within the Global Context

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pp. 189-212

Both drug abuse and prostitution have existed in China for thousands of years, being tolerated and regulated as a form of subculture for most of China’s history. Both, however, were eliminated for thirty years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and both have reemerged since...

Part Three. Civil Liberties and Human Rights

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pp. 213-245

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9. Legal Institution Building for the Rule of Law and Human Rights

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pp. 215-248

The human rights issue in China continues to be contentious. The issue can be examined in a context of, among other things, the reconstruction of China’s legal system since the 1980s, and although the overall direction of legal reform has tended toward “the rule of law,” if, or to what extent...

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10. Sound Is Better Than Silence: Reporters, Freedom Writers, and Cyber Guerrillas

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pp. 249-268

Because of the revolution from paper communication to digital technology, few areas of research in contemporary China pose more difficulties than the study of the mass media. According to official statistics, by the end of 2003 more than 30 million computers in the country were connected to the...

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pp. 269-270

The completion of this volume on such an important subject from a multidisciplinary perspective required not only close cooperation among participating individuals, but strong support from two academic organizations: the Association of Chinese Professors of Social Sciences (ACPSS) in the...


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pp. 271-273


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pp. 275-284

E-ISBN-13: 9780813141220
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813141206

Page Count: 352
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Asia in the New Millennium