China’s Legal Awakening

Legal Theory and Criminal Justice in Deng’s Era


Carlos Wing-hung Lo

ISBN : 978-962-209-342-3


July 1995

402 pages, 6.5″ x 9.5″

  • HK$220.00

Also available in Hardback HK$290.00

After decades of nihilistic rule under Mao Zedong, can legal order be restored in China? How successful is Deng Xiaoping’s initiative in developing a socialist legal system? Where is China on its road to the ‘rule of law’?

This book illustrates—through the analysis of more than two hundred criminal cases selected from Minzhu yu fazhi (Democracy and the Legal System) in the period 1979–89—that the establishment of a formal criminal justice system and the development of an embryonic socialist theory of law in China reflect a genuine and widespread legal awakening. A rudimentary legal culture has taken hold among Party leaders, cadres, judicial personnel, intellectuals and the general public. Nevertheless, the contradiction between legal order and Party supremacy remains, as demonstrated by the June Fourth incident in Beijing and the ensuing trials of the 1989 dissidents.

Carlos Wing-hung Lo is an associate professor of the Department of Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is currently researching on administrative law and environmental management in China and Hong Kong, and the alternative delivery systems of public services in Hong Kong.

“He [the author] has obviously spent a great deal of time and effort to select, translate, and explain case materials from the journal of Minzhu yu fazhi. . . . This alone constitutes a useful contribution to the field. Moreover, he writes with clarity and a commendable understanding of the legal development in post-Mao China.” —Shao-Chuan Leng, Compton Professor of Government, University of Virginia

“This study examines the critically important question of legal reform in the PRC in the 1980s. . . . The author has marshalled his evidence and data and argued the validity of his hypothesis effectively and convincingly.” —Professor Colin Mackerras, Griffith University