Sources for Chinese Legal Reform

Written by Kenneth Winston. It is commonly observed that Chinese legal history was guided for centuries by the idea of rule by law, rather than rule of law, which explains why legal reform in China requires the infusion of Western practices if it wishes to create a modern legal system. This brief historical note argues …

A Review of China’s Record on Torture

Written by Margaret Lewis. When visiting Washington DC in November 2014, Chinese President Xi Jinping stated that “China has made enormous progress in human rights. That’s a fact recognized by all the people of the world.” The statement is true when viewed against the glaring human rights abuses committed under Mao Zedong. Yet the December …

China’s Study-Work School

Written by Anqi Shen. While the Chinese criminal justice system maintains punitive, youth justice in China is an exception, operating on the core principles of social reintegration. The study-work school is an example. The study-work school is a form of specialised education for school-age juveniles who have displayed certain legally defined forms of deviancy and aims …

What “quiet diplomacy” drowns out

Written by Jackie Sheehan. When China specialists are called upon to brief companies making their first foray into the market, the presentation will always include the advice: “don’t confront your Chinese partners. Never use ultimatums, because backing down means losing face.” There is a sound cultural basis for this advice, and it’s nearly always worth …

Migrant children in China: Identity and Stigma

Written by Mingchao Zhou. Established in the 1950s, the hukou system still controls and regulates the settlement of rural migrants in cities. Children of people who have migrated to cities are targeted by specific school policies and subject to categorization and segregation in specific schools. In order to understand how this school segregation is implemented …

International engagement in China’s human rights: keeping the faith

Written by Titus Chen. July 2015 is destined to be an unforgettable time in Xi Jinping’s presidency. What befell Chinese human rights lawyers during that month will long be remembered as legacy of Xi’s authoritarian rule. From July 9 to 15, more than 250 public interest lawyers, human rights activists and their family members were …

Defending the rule of law against … lawyers

Written by Jackie Sheehan. After 2014 was declared the “worst year ever” for lawyers in China, Xi Jinping hasn’t rested on his laurels: since 10 July, an unprecedented round-up of up to 169 lawyers, law-firm staff and legal activists has shaken rights defenders across the country and at least temporarily silenced some of the last outspoken voices …

Li Yan reprieved – a step forward for victims of domestic violence in China?

Written by Jackie Sheehan. It is welcome news that Li Yan, despite being sentenced to death for a second time at her retrial in Sichuan last week for killing her abusive husband, has had the sentence suspended for two years, meaning that it will almost certainly be commuted to life imprisonment. However, as the Beijing …

China’s market in stolen babies dates back decades

Written by Jackie Sheehan. The figures in a recent BBC report on the abduction and selling of babies and children in China are shocking – even if it is happening in the world’s most populous country and has a seriously overstretched police force. The US State Department, which monitors what countries are doing to stop …

Escalating Land Protests in Yunnan

Written by Samantha Hoffman. On 14 October, ‘construction workers’ wearing auxiliary police uniforms and carrying riot shields entered Fuyou village, Jinning County, Yunnan province, to confront villagers in a dispute over land the local government seized to build the Jincheng Trans-Asia Industrial Logistics Centre. The incident turned violent, leaving two villagers and six construction workers …