The Trial of Li Zhuang: Chinese Lawyers’ Collective Action Against Populism

Asian Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 1 (2014), pp. 79-97.

33 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2013 Last revised: 10 Apr 2014

See all articles by Sida Liu

Sida Liu

University of Toronto; American Bar Foundation

Lily Liang

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Sociology

Terence C. Halliday

American Bar Foundation

Date Written: December 8, 2013

Abstract

The Chinese judicial system has long been influenced by a populist legal ideology that prioritizes public accountability and political legitimacy over professional autonomy. In recent years, however, the Chinese legal profession has begun to mobilize collectively, albeit episodically, to challenge this populism. Drawing on legal documents, interviews, media reports, and online discussions, this article provides a scholarly analysis of the Li Zhuang case in 2009-2011, in which the fate of an individual criminal defense lawyer was linked with the main ideological conflict in China’s legal system and the highest-level political struggles in the Chinese state. It demonstrates that, although populism remains an intimidating force in China’s judicial practice, lawyers, scholars, and other legal professionals may be laying a foundation for collective solidarity to pursue professionalism through their mobilization against populism.

Suggested Citation

Liu, Sida and Liang, Lily and Halliday, Terence C., The Trial of Li Zhuang: Chinese Lawyers’ Collective Action Against Populism (December 8, 2013). Asian Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 1 (2014), pp. 79-97. . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2333258

Sida Liu (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

725 Spadina Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2J4
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://sidaliu.net

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sidaliu.net

Lily Liang

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Sociology ( email )

Madison, WI 53706
United States

Terence C. Halliday

American Bar Foundation ( email )

750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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