The Politicization of the Chinese National Judicial Examination (2007-2012)
Modern China, Vol. 44, 2018, 208-240
39 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2016 Last revised: 5 May 2018
Date Written: November 18, 2016
The introduction of a unified judicial examination marked an important step towards legal professionalization in China. Following a conservative turn of judicial reforms between 2007 and 2012, political content was included in the exam. On the basis of exam texts, model answers and relevant legal and other documents, this study investigates the contents of political questions of the judicial exam. The analysis of exam questions reveals the party-state’s perception of the law-politics nexus and the significance of political content of the exam for aspiring legal professionals. Candidates learn that they have to grasp the current party ideology in order to be able to deliver the correct interpretation of the law for serving the “overall political situation.” The study argues that the examination questions imply that political guidelines are serving as an instrument of fine-tuning the application of law according to new policy aims as well as social and economic change.
Keywords: Judicial reform, national judicial examination, legal professionalization, politics and law, party ideology, socialist rule of law
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