Just last week, the Chief Justice of China's Supreme People's Court, Zhou Qiang, drew widespread attention for denouncing Western "independence of the judiciary" in a speech to provincial judges. Over the past two years, however, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Zhou has spearheaded a number of judicial reform measures that would seem, on their face, to point to enhanced judicial authority across the board -- both for frontline adjudicators within the court system, and for courts vis-à-vis other institutions of the Chinese government. Drawing on recent fieldwork throughout China, this presentation will report on the implementation of announced judicial reforms in various local jurisdictions, and seek to contextualize Chief Justice Zhou's reported comments in light of those reform efforts.
Neysun A. Mahboubi is a Research Scholar of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China. 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.