Vincent R. Johnson and Stephen C. Loomis’ recent article, “The rule of law in China and the prosecution of Li Zhuang,” published in The Chinese Journal of Comparative Law (2013), cites current and former USALI research fellows Margaret K. Lewis, Ling Li, and Elizabeth Lynch’s research on corruption and criminal justice issues in China. The [...]
Posts Tagged ‘ corruption ’
In a global effort to attain “soft power” matching its growing economic and military prowess, China spends huge sums operating Confucius Institutes at hundreds of foreign universities and internationalising its media outlets. The goal is to promote respect for its contemporary civilisation and thereby enhance the government’s political influence and image. Yet the effects of these programmes – unlike similar efforts by democratic countries – are undermined by daily reports of not only the repression of basic freedoms by the “people’s democratic dictatorship”, but also the unfair criminal justice system that is the major instrument of this repression.
In China, as elsewhere, famous cases enhance popular understanding of the legal system. Just a year ago, when Beijing police detained noted Chinese artist Ai Weiwei incommunicado for 81 days, they exposed national and foreign audiences to their unlawful abuse of “residential surveillance.” Now, the Communist Party has subjected Bo Xilai, Chongqing’s deposed Party secretary, to the party disciplinary procedure of “shuanggui” (literally “double designation”), bringing public attention to another extra-legal, widely-feared type of incommunicado detention with an innocuous name. The simultaneous confinement of Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, on murder charges illustrates a third type of incommunicado detention, one authorized by law until the newly-revised criminal procedure law (*CPL) takes effect January 1, 2013.
Although it still remains largely unsettled, the topic of “guanxi” seems to have slipped from the radar screens of sociologists, anthropologists as well as of China scholars in general. In sharp contrast and as a matter of real life experience, “guanxi” is alive and kicking as it were, i.e. a far from outdated phenomenon. The term of “guanxi” comes up with strikingly frequent regularity in every day social conversations, especially those suggesting corrupt behaviour. Therefore, it would seem imperative rather than meaningless or out-dated to re-examine existing “guanxi”- studies, especially the analytical approaches they have taken.