Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Lawless China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on February 12, 2011

This truly describes how China is, especially the laws.

Excerpt from “Looking for Law in China”- Stanley Lubman
“…While there is a lack of eagerness to promote reform from above, there are signs that from below, from Chinese society itself, citizens’ attitudes toward the law are evolving. I offer an illustration from my own experience: For over 35 years I have been traveling to China, and when I tell Chinese that I have been specializing in Chinese law for over 40 years, they often laugh because they think there is little to study. One day I had that kind of conversation with a taxi driver, who repeatedly exclaimed, “We don’t have any real law.” Our discussion continued during a lengthy ride to China’s largest law school, and when we reached my destination, I asked him to wait while I went inside. When I returned to the taxi, he remarked that I had been gone a long time, more than an hour. When I reminded him that I had told him I would be gone that long, he said, “Yes, I knew I would have to wait, that’s not a problem. My question is, since our country has so little law, how could you find enough to talk about for an hour?” We continued to talk, and at one point he said, “You don’t understand. Do you know about campaigns?” Yes, I said; there were often campaigns to enforce specific laws more strictly. “No,” he said, “you still don’t understand. I am a taxi driver. If I steal from my company I should be punished. This month, the month of March, there is a ‘Strike Hard’ campaign going on to punish crime heavily. If I stole in February, before the campaign, I would have received a certain punishment. But if I steal this month, I would be punished more severely. That’s not fair. The law should be the same in March as it is in February.” This taxi driver understood some basic concepts of the rule of law, and I have heard his sentiments echoed by many other ordinary citizens. Peasants and workers who have increasingly protested against arbitrary official behavior in recent years have often invoked published laws as the basis for their protests. Some Chinese legal scholars, officials and intellectuals have called for a truly national and autonomous judiciary that applies standards of procedural fairness. Some businesses in the nonstate sector desire stronger protection of their transactions and property through rules enforced meaningfully and consistently by the power of the Chinese state. The Chinese media often discusses significant court cases and issues related to the law; there are also considerable influences from abroad conveyed by the foreign and domestic media, the Internet, and foreigners doing business. “

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