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

By Carlos Wing-Hung Lo | Go to book overview

Chapter Three
Chinese Jurists' Perspectives on Law

The preceding chapter examined Deng Xiaoping's ideas on law. This chapter will discuss jurists' perspectives on law in post-MaoChina. First, it will describe debates on 'the rule of persons' versus 'the rule of law' and the relationship between law and policy. It will then depict jurists' examination of the Chinese Marxist jurisprudence and consider arguments about the nature of law. Finally, the concept 'a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics' will be discussed.


The Debate on Law in Chinese Jurisprudential Circles: The Search for a New Model

At Deng's instigation, the receptive attitude towards law and democracy taken in the é of the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party in late 1978 was the chief source of inspiration for the discussion and debate on law among scholars in post-MaoChina.1 The ensuing legal reforms and the resumption of publications on law since 1979 created conditions more favourable, both politically and academically, for the study of law. The significance of freeing-up academic publication on law and legal systems cannot be underestimated. Publication of law magazines was resumed; they provided a forum for academic discussion and signified official endorsement of academic discussion of legal questions.

____________________
1
"é of the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China", Beijing Review No. 52, 29 December 1978, p. 14

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