chapter  8
25 Pages

Crime and Punishment

The Legal System of the PRC
ByJune Teufel Dreyer

This chapter discusses the reasons the CCP was initially suspicious of law; introduces the competing societal and jural models of legal systems and the vacillation between them in the first few decades after the founding of the PRC; the reinstatement of a legal system under Deng; discusses the need for the law in commercial transactions that were critical to China’s economic development; and distinguishes competing views of natural rights versus instrumental rights. The trial process, penal system, and role of mediation are described, as are petitions; reform through labor; “black jails” and “sheltering for examination” (shoushen), the latter now theoretically abolished; and “dual detention” (shuanggui) for party members. Professional standards in courts have improved, but local protectionism is widespread in the legal system, as is corruption. Laws are often not obeyed. Effects of the “strike hard” and anti-corruption campaigns are discussed. The CCP remains above the law.