Jiang Ping (江平): A Rule of Law is My Sole Conviction

China Newsweek reporter Han Yong (韩永) writes about Jiang Ping (江平) — legal scholar and former president of China University of Political Science and Law — and his views on the rule of law. Excerpted here and translated by CDT:

In speaking on the process of the rule of law, Jiang Ping has made a famous assertion: “two steps forward, one step backward.” “That is to say, if you move forward too quickly, your [efforts] might be quashed by others. It’s only by going forward one step, compromising some; then going forward by one step, and again compromising some. It’s inconceivable for anything to be straightforward, to relentlessly move ahead — it’s impossible. Therefore, progress and compromise, revolution and compromise, these are all normal.”

According to Jiang Ping, the impetus of “progress’s two steps” primarily comes from the people. “However, the degree of their push still depends on their leaders’ recognition.”

He maintains that the path to China’s democracy must proceed orderly and within the current existing structure. “China is so large, that should extreme disorder occur, China will have a very difficult time knowing what direction it should take. If China walks down that road — perhaps it could take encroach on your bed, and then at the same time confiscate your property, the poor could once again start a revolution, property would again be distributed — I don’t think this can bring democracy, and would rather be a move in the opposite direction.”

Jiang Ping says that 60 years ago, he made a call for democracy and freedom. Now, 60 years later, this objective has not changed. “Fortunately, I am in a fairly good position, in that I get interviewed a bit more by the media. I want to fully use every opportunity to promote the ideals of a rule of law.”

Jiang Ping’s other stage is speech. “Compared to writing articles, I prefer sharing my ideas behind the podium,” he said.


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