Rawls Rejected, Ignored and Radicalised: Debating Procedural Justice in China
Forthcoming in Flora Sapio, Susan Trevaskes, Sarah Biddulph & Elisa Nesossi (eds.), Justice: The China Experience (Cambridge University Press)
21 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 26, 2017
This essay examines the reception of John Rawls’ theory on procedural justice in contemporary Chinese legal scholarship. The first part of this essay describes the rejection of Rawls’ scholarship by Chinese legal scholars on ideological grounds. Instead of the self-consciously thin conception of the good, promoted by Rawls, Chinese legal scholars adhere to a thick conception of the good or to a form of utilitarianism. The second part of this essay points out that even those Chinese legal scholars who advocate a thin conception of the good base their arguments on sources other than Rawls. The third and last part of this essay seeks to “radicalize” Rawls by adopting aspects of his political thought for a critical enterprise. This part of the essay demonstrates that the mainstream of Chinese legal scholarship embraces certain elements of Rawlsian procedural justice, which threaten the legitimacy of Chinese mainstream scholars’ substantive notions of justice.
Keywords: China, Legal Theory, Rule of Law
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