Fly High the Banner of Socialist Rule of Law with Chinese Characteristics! What Does the 4th Plenum Decision Mean for Legal Reforms in China?

21 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2014 Last revised: 15 Nov 2014

Randall Peerenboom

La Trobe University - Faculty of Law and Management; Oxford University - Centre for Socio-Legal Studies

Date Written: November 6, 2014

Abstract

On October 23, 2014, the 4th Plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) promulgated the CCP Central Committee Decision concerning Some Major Questions in Comprehensively Promoting Governing the Country According to Law (the Decision). This was the first time a central committee plenary session addressed the topic of rule of law.

Part I provides an overview of legal reforms during the last thirty years, and addresses the question of why hold a plenum on rule of law now? Part II analyses the main features of the Decision. The Decision sought to accomplish three main tasks. First, to reconfirm for domestic and international audiences that China is pursuing its own path of development aimed at establishing socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics; second, to provide a central-level comprehensive plan for reforms that cuts across jurisdictions and rises above departmental interests; and third, to move beyond the hardware of legal reforms to the software by promoting the norms and practices of a rule of law culture for officials and citizens alike. Part III assesses the general principles of the reform agenda. Part IV examines major institutional reforms to the legislature, administrative agencies and the judiciary. Part V concludes with an overall assessment of the reform agenda and a discussion of the implications of China’s efforts to establish a socialist rule of law for the promotion of rule of law globally.

Keywords: rule of law, comparative law, law and development, Asian law

Suggested Citation

Peerenboom, Randall, Fly High the Banner of Socialist Rule of Law with Chinese Characteristics! What Does the 4th Plenum Decision Mean for Legal Reforms in China? (November 6, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2519917 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2519917

Randall Peerenboom (Contact Author)

La Trobe University - Faculty of Law and Management ( email )

Department of Accounting
Victoria 3552, 3086
Australia

Oxford University - Centre for Socio-Legal Studies

St. Cross Building
St. Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UJ
United Kingdom

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