Jiang Ping (江平): “China’s Rule of Law Is in Full Retreat”

The China Law Prof Blog has posted a translation of a recent speech by prominent legal scholar Jiang Ping: Strictly speaking, in the 30 years of reform what I did was call for private rights. I chose civil law and private rights because those areas were weak in China, or rather in a China with such strong public powers, private rights were always in a weak position. Private rights include the rights of private enterprise, of private property, and perhaps even broader personal rights. Today, I will just mention three issues, but these are not the same three you all just suggested. The first private right I will mention is the Shanxi coal mine problem [private coal miners were encouraged to invest then their mines were taken by the state at low or no compensation]. The Shanxi coal miners demonstrate a violation of the rights of private property and private enterprise, a brazen violation of constitutional guarantees. The second is the Li Zhuang case [the defense lawyer convicted of inciting false testimony in the Chongqing mafia crackdown]. When Wu Xiaoji brought over Li’s defense lawyer to talk to me, we chatted for a long time about what happened in court that day and the entire procedural history of the case. After hearing about it, I was furious. No matter what you think about it, from the most basic level, procedural justice was violated. The evidence was not brought out and many of the witnesses did not appear in court. From the perspective of evidence, that case had serious problems. The third is the Liu Xiaobo case. When I heard about the Liu Xiaobo verdict, I felt it was a crime of speech — a very dangerous thing. China has a long tradition of criminalizing speech, and if we let that ...
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