Chinese Fazhi and the International Order: How Chinese Legal Rhetoric Undermines Rule of Law
39 Harv. Int'l Rev. (Fall 2018)
7 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 4, 2019
An effective rules-based international order requires that States accept the restraining power of the law. While China has acknowledged the importance of international law and observed legal norms when convenient, China’s cost-benefit approach to legal compliance ultimately rejects the supremacy and power of law as a restraining force. This view derives from its own conception of law as an expression of the Party’s will, nothing more. States that engage with China and those that consider China a reliable partner or fellow adjudicator in furthering the rules-based international order should understand its cost-benefit approach to the law and, consequently, how this influences its behavior. Of course, while undermining established norms and institutions that frustrate perceived interests may weaken respect for the rule of law over time, from the Party’s perspective it’s simply a matter of perfecting fazhi.
Keywords: Rule of Law, China, International Law, Cyber Space, Constitution
JEL Classification: K33
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