China Law – 6890
This course will take a comparative law approach in discussing the development of legal discourse, and the ever increasing influence of Western jurisprudence, in modern and contemporary China. We will discuss at length the formation of “Rule by Law” as a “grand narrative” in its historical context, the controversy around different interpretations of “Human Rights,” and the burgeoning civil rights movements in the Mainland.
The course begins with study of legal traditions and core assumptions underlying the role of law in China, followed by comparative analysis of respective legal conventions and beliefs in China and in Western countries. One full session will be devoted to the legal system of the People’s Republic of China, looking at the law promulgated in the 1950s, the abolishment of the legal system during the years of the Cultural Revolution, the renewed emphasis on codification of law since 1979, new areas and issues after China’s accession to the WTO, and the recent environmental law and civil rights movements. The seminar will introduce contemporary legal and political institutions, the law-making process, interpretation and implementation of law, dispute resolution, and public awareness of and attitudes toward law. The seminar will examine in detail contemporary China’s approach to human rights law, focusing on how Chinese authorities and academia interpret and address key principles and doctrines of international human rights law, including the following specific issues: 1) the traditional relationship of the individual to the state; 2) rule by law vs. rule of law; 3) judicial independence and judicial integrity; and 4) due process.