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North Castle Books

Debating Political Reform in China: Rule of Law vs. Democratization
Edited by: Suisheng Zhao

Cloth ISBN: 978-0-7656-1731-6 Paper ISBN: 978-0-7656-1732-3
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Available to all countries
Information: 312pp. Index
Publication Date: July 2006.   Asian studies


Description: The growing disconnect between China's market-oriented economy with its emerging civil society, and the brittle, anachronistic, and authoritarian state has given rise to intense discussion and debate about political reform, not only by Western observers, but also among Chinese intellectuals. While some expect China's political reform to lead to democratization, others have proposed to strengthen the institution of single-party rule and provide it with a solid legal base.

This book brings the ongoing debate to life and explores the options for political reform. Offering the perspectives of both Western and Chinese scholars, it presents the controversial argument for building a consultive rule of law regime as an alternative to liberal democracy, provides several critiques of this thesis, and then tests the thesis through empirical studies on the development of the rule of law in China.

Selected Contents:

Introduction, Suisheng Zhao

1. Toward a Consultative Rule of Law Regime in China, Pan Wei
2. Political Liberalization Without Democratization: Pan Wei's Proposal for Political Reform, Suisheng Zhao
3. A Government of Laws: Democracy, Rule of Law, and Administrative Law Reform in China, Randall Peerenboom
4. The Rule of Law as Transition to Democracy in China, Larry Diamond
5. A Comparative Politics of Democratization in China, Edward Friedman
6. Pan Wei's Consultative Rule of Law Regime: Reforming Authoritarianism in China, Gunter Schubert
7. Toward the Rule of Law: Why China's Path Will Be Different from the West, Baohui Zhang
8. The People's Court in Transition: The Prospects for Chinese Judicial Reform, Qianfan Zhang
9. State Power and Unbalanced Legal Development in China, Yongshun Cai and Songcai Yang
10. Law and Labor in Post-Mao China, Yunqiu Zhang
11. The Internet and Emerging Civil Society in China, Guobin Yang
12. The Internet and Single-Party Rule in China, Tamara Renee Shie
13. Toward a Rule of Law Regime: Political Reform under China's Fourth Generation of Leadership, Suisheng Zhao
14. Reflections on "Consultative Rule of Law Regime": A Response to My Critics, Pan Wei

About the Editor and Contributors

Comment(s): " Debating Political Reform in China represents the type of volume that, ideally, will become far more common in the future. Prominent Western and Chinese scholars respond to a provocative essay on the relationship between democratization and the rule of law in China's political transition by a leading China-based political scientist. Assuming that some form of democratization is inevitable, the key question is whether it can be accomplished while maintaining the current single-Party system as Pan Wei's 'consultative rule of law' model advocates -- or whether a multi-Party electoral democracy is essential in the long run. By providing both theoretical and empirical chapters, the latter based on surveys and interviews with such social groups as lawyers and workers, this volume is certain to stimulate debate and would make an excellent text for classes in Chinese politics or comparative democratic transitions." -- Stanley Rosen, Director, USC College East Asian Studies Center

"One of the key questions confronting world politics is the nature of China's future government. This interesting, important and unusual edited volume, presenting a diversity of theoretical and empirical approaches, goes a long way toward enhancing our understanding of the range of prospects and their implications. Surely no one concerned with the evolution of democracy, the rule of law and effective government in China can afford to miss it." -- Jerome A. Cohen, NYU Law School and Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia, Council on Foreign Relations

"This book deepens the debate about China's governance by a single party that rejects Western-style democracy but also simultaneously proclaims its adherence to the rule of law. The attempt by a prominent Chinese intellectual to reconcile Communist Party rule with legality has provoked this edited volume. It will add dimension and nuance to discussion about the possible future paths of China's political reform and legal development." -- Stanley Lubman, University of California (Berkeley) School of Law, author of Bird in a Cage: Legal Reform in China After Mao

Review(s): "This thought-provoking volume offers intriguing, in-depth discussions of the connection between the rule of law and democracy in China's reforms. ... Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty." -- Choice

"...Zhao, who has done so much to promote discussion among Western and Chinese academics over the issues surrounding political reform in China, deserves credit for this excellent book project." -- Pacific Affairs

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