Rise of Political Populism and the Trouble with the Legal Profession in China
Harvard China Review, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 79-99, 2010
29 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2010 Last revised: 1 Aug 2011
Date Written: September 30, 2009
This essay looks into recent efforts by the ruling party in China to tighten control of the judiciary, the lawyers and prosecutors under the slogan of "harmonious society" in the last couple of years. This reversed the direction of judicial reform under the leadership of Xiao Yang, during his tenure as President of the Supreme People's Court before 2008. The trouble with the legal profession in China, the essay asserts, is not only that it loses its professional autonomy thus its ability to act as a sociopolitical force that is independent from the ruling political party; but also, by virtue of the tightened control, law has become an unattractive channel for widespread social resistance. Political populism is an emerging conservatism that is going currency in China today.
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