Jerome A. Cohen is an NYU law professor and adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. From The International Herald Tribune:
Over the past 30 years, the Chinese Communist Party has adopted – albeit haltingly – many of the norms and institutions required for a formal legal system. These advances have contributed to a growing consciousness of their rights among ordinary people, rural and urban, who increasingly look to the legal system to resolve a broad range of grievances.
Moreover, the rapid economic and social development of the country – which has brought better education, more mobility, more reporting about the law, more TV and radio shows featuring legal dramas – has created a huge demand for formal adjudication of disputes.
But despite routine calls for strengthening the “socialist rule of law” and the demands of rapid economic and social development, the Party has so far avoided the bold reforms that a genuine rule of law would require. Such reforms would, at a minimum, demand that the Party surrender its power to dictate decisions in individual court cases and place the Party and government under the law, not above it. [Full Text]