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Judicial Reform in China: Lessons from Shanghai

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Abstract:

The George W. Bush administration in September 2002 laid out in the "National Security Strategy of the United States" its strategy toward China: "We welcome the emergence of a strong, peaceful, and prosperous China, "During a trip to Asia in March 2005, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice adopted a similar phrase to welcome "the rise of a confident, peaceful, and prosperous China."

Implicit in Washington's message is its concern about the potential threat of China's rise. To ease such concern prevailing outside China and to respond to criticisms about the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) governance spreading across the country, Beijing has vowed to establish a "socialist harmonious society" that features, among other characteristics, the rule of law, fairness, and justice. Unfortunately, courts in China have yet to exemplify the rule of law, fairness, and justice. Understanding that its governance cannot be sustained by a dysfunctional justice system, Beijing has taken a series of actions to reform Chinaà ¢ s judiciary.

This study seeks to analyze whether fairness has been achieved in Shanghai and what this means to China as a whole, and it tries to accomplish this through extensive literary research as well as a survey and interviews in China, especially Shanghai. This study seeks to answer three questions: Are interference, intracourt and intercourt influence, and judicial corruption of a lesser magnitude in Shanghai than in other parts of China? If so, what measures has Shanghai taken to accomplish this? What lessons about judicial reform in China can be learned from Shanghai's experiences?