Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Monday, January 23, 2017

More on China's judiciary

Don't expect China's judges to rule against the Party or the government anytime soon.

China’s Chief Justice Rejects an Independent Judiciary, and Reformers Wince
Zhou Qiang
Chief Justice Zhou Qiang, China’s top judicial official, is hardly a radical reformer. But to liberal-minded watchers of the country’s evolving court system, he has nonetheless been an encouraging figure.

In recent years, he has spearheaded an effort to make China’s judiciary, which is subordinate to the ruling Communist Party, more professional…

So when the chief justice used warlike language… to denounce the idea of an independent judiciary and other cherished liberal principles, warning judges not to fall into the “trap” of “Western” ideology, observers in China and abroad were shocked and dismayed…

The speech was widely seen as a bow to the strict political climate that President Xi Jinping has established in China, as a major Communist Party conclave approaches this year…

While his position is prestigious, Chief Justice Zhou is not a member of the Communist Party’s ruling Politburo…

Now he is showing his fealty to Mr. Xi, [Jerome A. Cohen, director of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at New York University]… said in a telephone interview. He said the speech appeared to be a bid for political survival before the Communist Party Congress set for late this year, which will determine who serves directly under Mr. Xi for the next five years.

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