(Non)legality as Governmentality in China

15 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2020 Last revised: 28 Jul 2020

See all articles by Xin He

Xin He

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law

Date Written: May 28, 2020


This essay proposes “governmentality” as an alternative to the paradigms of legality and stability maintenance to explain China’s legal developments since the founding of the People’s Republic. It argues that non-legalities, such as shuanggui, the rule of mandates, and the political-legal system, are the strategies, tactics, or programs by which the ruling Communist Party reins in the country and controls society. These strategies and tactics in China originated from its political structure, the Chinese revolution, and the experiences of the CCP. Their deployment is contingent on the CCP’s priorities in a given political and social context. This essay concludes with implications such a paradigm change would have on future research.

Keywords: China, Law, governmentality

Suggested Citation

He, Xin, (Non)legality as Governmentality in China (May 28, 2020). University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2020/035, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3612483 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3612483

Xin He (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong

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