Lack of Rule of Law in China

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Aristotle once stated, “The rule of law is better than that of any individual.” The essential characteristics of rule of law are: the supremacy of law, meaning both the government and individuals are subject to the law; a concept of justice that emphasizes interpersonal adjudication, based on importance of standards and procedures; restrictions on discretionary power and exercise of legislative power by the executive; independent judiciary, judicial precedent and common law methodology; prospective, not retrospective legislation; and underlying moral basis for law. (Cooray) In China, the justice system has been based on rule “by” law, also known as “rule of men” instead of rule “of” law. In other words, law has been an instrument of the government, which holds itself above the law as opposed to law being supreme. The goal of laws here are to protect the interests of the state, not the individual, and to keep stringent social control. China’s leaders are beginning to realize that establishing the “rule of law” is critical to China’s ability to sustain its rapid economic growth. The lack of legal knowledge and transparency, the complex judiciary and legislative system and cultural barriers rooted deeply in society are just a few main reasons responsible for an inadequate rule of law in China. Due to the lack of tradition of rule of law and the Chinese Communist Party rejection of the kind of liberal democratic government associated with it faces multiple challenges in its establishment. Understanding the importance of modernizing Chinas culture has had leverage on the political and economic level have substantially increased the progress of reform towards the use of rule of law.

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