Political Parties in China's Judiciary

By Suli, Zhu | Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview

Political Parties in China's Judiciary


Suli, Zhu, Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law


ANNUAL HERBERT L. BERNSTEIN LECTURE IN INTERNATIONAL AND COMPARATIVE LAW DUKE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW NOVEMBER 2, 2006.

I. THE ISSUE AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE

The Spring 2005 issue of the Yale Law Journal published a lengthy review by New York University Law School Profesor Frank K. Upham (1) of my book, Sending Law to the Countryside. Professor Upham's central criticisms are two: first, my "uncritical acceptance of a linear version of modernization theory," (2) a criticism that I will not address in this essay; and second, my "greatest flaw," "the absence of politics and political power." My work, he says, "is reticent to the point of timidity when it comes to politics," "[a]side from the small-p politics," (3) by which he appears to mean the internal conflicts and interpersonal quarrels of the workplace. I emphasize these words to show that Professor Upham intends to make his point absolutely clear and forestall any possible misunderstanding of the word by readers. Moreover, his choice of the word "timidity" implicates the author's academic honesty in the political dominance of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Contrary to Professor Upham's characterization, my book actually repeatedly reveals the influence on the judiciary of politics, especially the CCP's policies, including local Party organizations' multifarious interference in cases. This coverage is most evident in Part I of the book, which analyzes the influence of politics over judiciary from macro, middle, and micro levels. Chapter I projects the sending of the law to the countryside as an extension of the power of the nation-state to the basic level of society and points out that the judicial system in contemporary China assumes a political role. Chapter II discusses how the political control over judicial affairs is possible through the judicial administration within the courts and the judicial system. Chapter III focuses on the adjudication committee (shenpan weiyuanhui), a judicial organization within each court designed to deal--at least according to statutory law--with hard and important cases, and analyzes the multiple function of this micro institution within courts. Other chapters also have abundant analysis of politics and political power. (4) Thus, while I may not meet Prof. Upham's expectations about how much discussion there should be of politics and political power, his judgment that there is none at all is without foundation.

Certainly, such analyses may not be enough and should be extended by other research. However, I want to emphasize that I wrote the book in Chinese for a Chinese audience and never intended it to satisfy the political and ideological tastes of any foreign readers; Professor Upham's frustration or dissatisfaction is therefore understandable.

Nevertheless, Professor Upham's review attracted my attention and needs to be countered, not because he has any new insights or makes any contribution to the study of law in China, but rather because his errors in methodology are typical of some Western observers of China and are influential in China. Such errors reveal not only the deep ideological bias that is central to the "moral authority" of the Western notion of the autonomy of law and "rule of law" (a shaky authority that has evaporated after 9/11), but also a theoretical mistake that is common in comparative or implicitly comparative studies of China. In other words, it is the impact of these and similar errors on recent legal studies in China over the recent decades that has prompted me to write this response. Moreover, precisely because Upham's errors are characteristic of the shortcomings in analyses of Chinese law, this essay is not simply a response to Upham's book review, but also a paper of its own independent significance.

II. IS A DISTINCTION NECESSARY?

Professor Upham's criticism of my work as failing to address politics and political power is internally illogical and contradictory because his review also acknowledges, at least implicitly, that I did analyze the influence of various social actors, including the Party and government, upon the operation of basic courts. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Political Parties in China's Judiciary
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.