Of all the issues sparked by China's ongoing economic and sociopolitical transformation, the development of the Chinese legal system is arguably the most consequential. Even as public demand for the rule of law grows, the Chinese Communist Party still interferes in legal affairs and continues its harsh treatment of human rights lawyers and activists. Both the frequent manifestations of social unrest in recent years and the growing tension between China's various interest groups underscore the urgency of developing a sound and sustainable legal system.
One encouraging trend is the rapid expansion of the Chinese legal profession. Lawyers and legal scholars are no longer considered state officials, as they were in China's recent past. Now they boast an unprecedented degree of political autonomy and a steadily increasing level of professionalism.
In the Name of Justicepresents a critical assessment of the state of Chinese legal reform by He Weifang, the country's leading liberal law scholar. Professor He has been at the forefront of the country's bumpy path toward justice and judicial independence for more than a decade. His bold remarks at the famous New Western Hills Symposium in 2006, including his assertion that "China's party-state structure violates the PRC Constitution," are considered a watershed moment in the centurylong movement for a constitutional China. In addition to a selection of the author's academic writings, the volume also includes many of Professor He's public speeches, media interviews, and open letters, which provide more insight into his dual roles as thinker and practitioner in the Chinese legal world.
He Weifang also offers a historical review of the evolution of Chinese traditional legal thought, enhanced by cross-country comparisons. Among the volume's many topics are judicial independence, judicial review, legal education, capital punishment, and the legal protection of free speech and human rights. A proponent of reform rather than revolution, Professor He believes that the growing institutionalization of factional checks and balances within the Party leadership may represent important steps toward democracy. In his view, only true constitutionalism can guarantee social justice and enduring stability for China.
Subjects: Political Science
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