Going native: finding the rule of law in China

Glenn Tiffert, Sue Trevaskes, Elisa Nesossi

With its ample domestic and international resonance, the ‘rule of law’ is an expression that can justify the most disparate justice reforms. Since the beginning of its political leadership in 2012, Xi Jinping has chosen to adopt exactly this expression to shape his policy and justice agendas. But the authoritarian way in which the concept has been used so far has in many quarters produced a palpable sense of surprise and dismay over the future of the Chinese legal system. The current leadership is shaping what seems at first to be quite incongruous goals—fighting corruption and the erosion of institutional credibility; fighting criminals and dissenters who threaten stability; and guarding against national and international security threats—all under the same rhetorical and ideological rubric.

About the Speakers

Glenn Tiffert is an inaugural postdoctoral fellow at the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. He is an historian of twentieth century China whose research interests focus on the legal system of the late Republican and early PRC periods. He has published on constitutionalism, the judiciary, and the historical development of modern courts in China. (Above left)

Sue Trevaskes is a Professor at Griffith University and an Adjunct Director at CIW. She has made contributions to the field of contemporary Chinese criminal justice studies through her work on criminal law, punishment, and policing issues in China. She has published extensively on Chinese justice in areas including criminal justice policy, justice reform, anti-crime campaigns, public security, stability maintenance operations, state responses to drug crime, public punishment rituals, and death penalty reform. (Above centre)

Elisa Nesossi is an ARC Research Fellow at CIW. Her scholarship focuses on the relationship between human rights law, criminal justice, and legal reforms in contemporary China. Specifically, her research involves the study of the administration of criminal justice in places of detention, alleged abuses of power in the Chinese criminal justice system assessed against international standards, and miscarriages of justice. (Above right)

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