The Path to the Rule of Law—An Overall Review of Legal Reform, Crime and the Judicial System During the Transition Era in China

Date01 January 2020
DOI10.1177/2322005819881101
Published date01 January 2020
Article
The Path to the Rule of Law—An
Overall Review of Legal Reform,
Crime and the Judicial System
During the Transition Era in China
Ziwei Qi1
Abstract
In order to understand crime and the legal system in the People’s Republic of China (P.R.C.), it is
necessary to understand the components of a crime and the structure of the judicial system in the
P.R.C. By examining the elements of crime from the written criminal code and by analysing the structure
of the judicial system, we will find some procedural and substantive challenges to appeal, which might
contradict the philosophy of unbiased judicial principles. The article also explores possible social and
political forces that might affect the direction of legal reform in China. The author aims to provide the
readers with a basic overview of the judicial system in China and the social forces behind the current
legal reform towards the rule of law.
Introduction
The rule of law refers to a system that is able to impose meaningful restraints on the state and individual
members with three primary principles: (a) a government of law; (b) the supremacy of the law;
(c) equality of all before the law.2 The rule of law can also be further divided into two types: thin and
thick. A thin theory of law indicates a legal system with formal and instrumental definitions of what are
regulated in the legal statutes. A thick theory of law, on the other hand, not only addresses the thin aspects
of the law, but also incorporates elements of political morality, including economic arrangements
(e.g., free market), forms of government (e.g., democratic) and concepts of human rights (e.g., liberal).3
Accordingly, to understand the path of the rule of law, it is necessary to understand the socioeconomic
and political reforms of the past two decades.
The economic reform in China has created profound social changes and unprecedented economic
growth in the last three decades. Between 1990 and 1998, China’s gross domestic product (GDP)
1 Department of Criminal Justice, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS, USA.
2 P. Randall, Chinas long MaRCh TowaRd Rule of law (Cambridge University Press, 2002). Available from: ProQuest Ebook
Central. (23 August 2019).
3 Id. Supra note 1. at 3.
Asian Journal of Legal Education
7(1) 46–56, 2020
© 2019 The West Bengal National
University of Juridical Sciences
Reprints and permissions:
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DOI: 10.1177/2322005819881101
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Corresponding author:
Ziwei Qi, Department of Criminal Justice, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS 67601, USA.
E-mail ID: z_qi5@fhsu.edu

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