China's Legal Awakening: Legal Theory and Criminal Justice in Deng's Era

By Carlos Wing-Hung Lo | Go to book overview

Chapter One The Impact of Ideological Upheaval on the Legal System in China

Chinese Marxism in Ferment

Marxist ideology has been in a state of ferment since 1978. The debate on the criterion for evaluating truth in that year sparked off an enthusiastic discussion of Communist ideology.1 That ideological contention gathered momentum as the Party adopted a more liberal attitude on the ideological front at the end of 1978.2 In the ensuing years, China embarked on a process of de-Maoification.3 This gave rise to ideological disputes unparalleled in the history of the People's Republic of China, with regard to duration, intensity and depth. Ideological upheaval can be traced back to 1977, the year Deng Xiaoping was rehabilitated. At that time, Deng disagreed with the 'two-whatevers' policy associated with the then Chairman, Hua Guofeng.4 According to that policy, 'we will

____________________
1
Hundreds of articles have been written on the 'criterion for evaluating truth' in the past decade. Among Chinese philosophers, the most important is Wang Ruoshui. For details of the debate, see Bill Brugger and David Kelly, Chinese Marxism in Post-Mao China, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1990; Bill Brugger, Ideology, Legitimacy and Marxist Theory in Contemporary China, in Joseph Y. S. Cheng (ed.), China: Modernization in the 1980s, Hong Kong, Chinese University Press, 1989, pp. 1-33. See also Stuart Schram, Ideology and Policy in China Since the Third Plenum, 1978- 1984, London, University of London, 1984.
2
é of the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, Beijing Review No. 52, December, 1978, p. 14.
3
See Myth of De-Maoification Shattered, Beijing Review No. 35, 5 September 1983, pp. 4-5.
4
See Deng Xiaoping, The "Two Whatevers" Policy does not Accord with Marxism, 24 May 1977, Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping ( 1975- 1982), Beijing, Foreign Languages Press, 1984,

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