What Direction for Legal Reform under Xi Jinping?

Carl F. Minzner, Professor of Law, Fordham University Law School;  Neysun A. Mahboubi, Research Scholar, Center for the Study of Contemporary China, and Lecturer-in-Law, University of Pennsylvania;
Moderated by: Jacques deLisle, Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law & Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania    
| CSCC Conference Room, Fisher-Bennett 345

After the “turn against law” that many perceived under the administration of Hu Jintao, the Chinese Party-state under Xi Jinping has appeared to place a new emphasis on formal law and legal institutions, to address various and mounting governance challenges.  Apparent in personnel appointments, legislative revisions, and support for judicial reform, this new policy emphasis was expressed most clearly in the Decision of the Fourth Plenum of the CCP’s 18th Central Committee in October 2014.  At the same time, escalating repression of “rights defense” (weiquan) lawyers and other human rights activists, tightening space for civil society, and increased limits on free speech, under the current administration, demarcate an overall political environment which may seem inconsistent with the development of a robust “rule of law” in China.  This policy roundtable will explore the specific contours of this evolving story, and its attendant tensions, with a view towards appraisal of the possibilities for legal reform in the near future.

Carl F. Minzner is Professor of Law at Fordham University Law School, where he specializes in Chinese law and governance. He has written extensively on these topics in both academic journals and the popular press, including op-eds appearing in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, and Christian Science Monitor. Representative academic works include  Cmd+Click or tap to follow the link">China After the Reform Era, in the Journal of Democracy (2015);  Cmd+Click or tap to follow the link">The Rise and Fall of Chinese Legal Education, in the Fordham International Law Journal (2013); and  Cmd+Click or tap to follow the link">China's Turn Against Law, in the American Journal of Comparative Law (2011). Prior to joining Fordham, he served as Senior Counsel for the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, International Affairs Fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations, and Yale-China Legal Education Fellow at the Xibei Institute of Politics and Law in Xi'an, China.

Neysun A. Mahboubi is a Research Scholar of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a Lecturer in Law at Penn Law School. His primary academic interests are in the areas of administrative law, comparative law, and Chinese law, and his current writing focuses on the development of modern Chinese administrative law. He is co-chair of the international committee of the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, has advised both the Asia Foundation and the Administrative Conference of the United States on Chinese administrative procedure reform, and moderates the Comparative Administrative Law Listserv hosted by Yale Law School. Occasionally, he comments on Chinese legal developments for CCTV America.