chapter  4
12 Pages

The Rule of Law as Transition to Democracy in China

ByLarry Diamond

Over the past decade, there has been mounting evidence in China of what Pan Wei terms in the first chapter of this book, “the urgent necessity for substantial political reform.” It is not merely the dramatic rise in political and bureaucratic corruption, to which Pan Wei repeatedly alludes. Several factors combine to threaten the viability of the entire political system of Communist Party rule. Corruption and abuse of power are pervasive throughout China, breeding resentment and anger among Chinese in communities (large and small) that feel they have no institutional means of voicing or redressing their grievances or defending themselves against predation. Because of the paucity of legitimate channels for challenging unfair policies and expelling corrupt leaders from office, distressed people in China’s countryside and towns have increasingly turned to illegal and even violent protests. Expectations that competitive elections would move up from the (relatively inconsequential) level of the village committee at least to China’s townships and municipalities, and even before long to the county level, have essentially gone unfulfilled, deepening disenchantment with the political sclerosis.