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

See all articles by Eugene (John) Gregory

Eugene (John) Gregory

United States Military Academy, West Point

Ronald T.P. Alcala

United States Military Academy, West Point

Shane Reeves

United States Military Academy, West Point

Date Written: January 4, 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Gregory, Eugene and Alcala, Ronald and Reeves, Shane, Chinese Fazhi and the International Order: How Chinese Legal Rhetoric Undermines Rule of Law (January 4, 2019). 39 Harv. Int'l Rev. (Fall 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3313017

Eugene Gregory

United States Military Academy, West Point ( email )

600 Thayer Rd
West Point, NY 10996
United States

Ronald Alcala

United States Military Academy, West Point ( email )

600 Thayer Rd
West Point, NY 10996
United States

Shane Reeves (Contact Author)

United States Military Academy, West Point ( email )

600 Thayer Rd
West Point, NY 10996
United States

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