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Legal Reform in the Xi Jinping Era

20 Asia Policy (2015)

9 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2015  

Carl F. Minzner

Fordham University - School of Law

Date Written: July 16, 2015


In the fall of 2014, Chinese Communist Party authorities made legal reform the focus of their annual plenum for the first time. The plenum decision confirmed a shift away from some of the policies of the late Hu Jintao era, but liberal reforms still remain off the table. The top-down vision of legal reform developing under Xi Jinping’s administration may have more in common with current trends in the party disciplinary apparatus or historical ones in the imperial Chinese censorate than it does with Western rule-of-law norms.

This article attempts to do three things: (1) analyze how and why China’s legal reforms have shifted over the past two decades, (2) outline the direction of reform under Xi, and (3) sketch out the institutional considerations that are likely to steer state efforts in the legal field over the coming years.

Suggested Citation

Minzner, Carl F., Legal Reform in the Xi Jinping Era (July 16, 2015). 20 Asia Policy (2015). Available at SSRN:

Carl Minzner (Contact Author)

Fordham University - School of Law ( email )

140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States

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