The Path to Legal Reform Without Revolution

At China Real Time Report, Berkeley law professor Stanley Lubman reviews In the Name of Justice: Striving for the Rule of Law in China by legal scholar He Weifang. The book contains articles and lectures on judicial independence, constitutionalism, free speech and human rights, and outlines He’s proposals for achieving legal reform peacefully.

As China’s new generation of leaders surveys the work ahead of them, one of the most difficult questions they face is how to narrow the wide chasm between rhetoric and reality when it comes to rule of law. Few people have pushed for the narrowing of that gap as persuasively or courageously as He Weifang, an outspoken and well-known legal scholar at the Beijing University Law School who has been urging legal reform for almost 15 years through journals, the media and public lectures. Now, for the first time, English speakers have the pleasure of being able to access He’s work in a single, carefully translated volume.

[…] In the face of the current authoritarianism of the CCP’s rule, He may seem to be an optimistic visionary. But both in his writing and in person, he is temperate while asserting powerful ideas and deeply insightful views about the cultural and political barriers to meaningful legal reform. As He pursues his personal crusade with determination, he exudes a remarkable cheerfulness and presents an inspiration to his students and the public at large. His book provides a persuasive and clearly written guide for foreigners who are willing to try to understand China through the lens of Chinese law.

He discussed the book in a 90-minute video available at C-SPAN, also featuring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and former U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman. See also a short biography of He Weifang at The China Story.


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