The ‘Production’ of Corruption in China’s Courts – The Politics of Judicial Decision-Making and its Consequences in a One-Party State
Journal of Law & Social Inquiry, 2011
50 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2011 Last revised: 10 Sep 2011
Date Written: July 5, 2011
Despite its rampant presence, judicial corruption in China has often been regarded as idiosyncratically deviant behavior of a few black sheep eluding prescribed judicial conduct. This entrenched assumption has both discouraged in-depth investigation of the phenomenon of judicial corruption and inhibited a proper understanding of the functioning of China’s courts. Through an empirically grounded examination of how court rulings tainted by corruption are processed, this article found that judicial corruption in China is an institutionalized activity which is systemically inherent in the particular decision-making mechanism, guided by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s instrumental rule-by-law ideal. In investigating what has contributed to the institutionalization of judicial corruption, the paper also examines the interplay between law and Party politics in China’s courts. Its findings, therefore, also shed light on behind-the-court-room judicial activities and on the enduring perplexity of the gap between the law in the book and the law in action.
Keywords: Chinese law, Chinese courts, CCP, judicial corruption, judicial decision-making, judicial politics, judicial independence, rule of law, rule by law
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K20, K30, K40, K41, K42, K49, P26
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