Book Review of the 'China Legal Development Yearbook', Volumes 1 and 2, by Brill and China, Academy of Social Sciences Press
China Review International, Vol. 16, No. 4, 2009
3 Pages Posted: 11 Jul 2011
Date Written: April 11, 2011
Social Sciences Academic Press (SSAP), the publishing arm of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, produces a valuable annual series of Chinese-language Blue Books (蓝皮书), addressing topics ranging from economic development to rule of law to social stability. These books are useful for their carefully crafted articles by leading Chinese academics on social and political problems of the day. Despite the unique political considerations that accompany efforts to publish in mainland China, articles such as Yu Jianrong’s 2005 piece on the xinfang (letters and visits, or petitioning) system and Zhao Shukai’s 2006 article on township government (published in SSAP’s Blue Books on Chinese society) contain excellent, hard-hitting analyses on very tough issues. Accurate English translations of the SSAP Blue Books would consequently be both a superb research tool and a channel for a non-Chinese audience to appreciate the intelligence and nuanced analysis of their Chinese academic counterparts.
Unfortunately, although it purports to be the translated English edition of the SSAP Blue Book on Rule of Law, Brill’s, The China Legal Development Yearbook, is not such a work. Rather, it appears to be a censored version of the original Chinese volume, edited to remove sensitive political content.
Keywords: China, Blue Book, statistics, censorship, Social Sciences Academic Press
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