The French Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC)
Susan Finder, Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the School of Transnational Law of the Peking University & Visiting Fellow at the Centre of Chinese Law of the University of Hong Kong
William Nee, China Researcher, Amnesty International
He Xin, Assistant Dean and Professor of School of Law, City University of Hong Kong
While the Hu Jintao era (2002-2013) is often perceived as a time of stagnation or retreat in the field of legal developments, the advent of Xi Jinping at the apex of power has often been viewed by commentators with some optimism as to the future, if not of the rule of law, at least of the rule by law. The 4th Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in October 2014 was devoted to the centrality of ‘deepening the rule by law’ in economic development and in governance and has been preceded and followed by a number of policy documents defining what the development of China’s legal framework under CCP leadership could entail. Concomitantly however, in a context of unabated social tensions combined with economic slowdown, a series of political and ideological breaks circumscribed the potentially empowering and politically challenging effects of future legal reforms. Recent years have seen increased repression of some and restrictions on many lawyers, journalists, and grassroots organizations, as well as renewed use of extra-legal means within the anti-corruption campaign under the Xi Jinping leadership.
How do legal/judicial reform relate to the political agenda under Xi Jinping rule ? How should we evaluate the judicial reforms, the official commitment to rule by law, and the development of legal professionalism when we see a sustained shrinking of spaces of expression and the constraints put on civil society? What to expect of judicial and legal reform in the current ideological and political environment with reinforced political constraints shaping both reforms and legal practices ? What could be the long term effects of the the CCP’s commitments to the « rule by law » as to the dynamics of state-society relations ? These are some of the questions that will be discussed during the seminar.
Eric Florence chaired the seminar
The seminar was held in English