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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
May 2023
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:
Socio-Legal Studies, Criminology, Law, Sociology

Book description

Policing is legitimized in different ways in authoritarian and democratic states. In East and Southeast Asia, different regime types to a greater or lesser extent determine the power of the police and their complex relationship with the rule of law. This volume examines the evolution of the police as a key political institution from a historical perspective and offers comparative insights into the potential of democratic policing and conversely the resilience of authoritarian policing in Asia. The case studies focus on eight jurisdictions: Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. The theoretical chapters analyse and explain the links between policing and society, the politics of policing and recent police reforms. This volume fills a gap in the literature by exploring the nature of authoritarian policing and how it has transformed and developed the rule of law throughout East and Southeast Asia.


‘A comprehensive, in-depth and insightful study of policing and its political context in East and Southeast Asia, including the relationship between authoritarian and democratic policing and democratization.’

Albert Chen - Cheng Chan Lan Yue Professor and Chair of Constitutional Law, The University of Hong Kong

‘The case studies of diverse East Asian societies make clear that an independent legal system and police professionalism can do much to protect citizen rights and wellbeing, even with dictatorial leaders and colonial and authoritarian pasts. This volume is essential reading for those committed to democracy and decency in government. The realism and knowledge the book provides with its’ attention to paradoxes and ambivalences in a rich, nuanced, interdisciplinary tapestry significantly expands understanding. It sets a high standard for comparative international studies of policing and democracy and will become a classic.’

Gary T. Marx - Professor Emeritus, MIT

‘In exploring the complex commonalities and divergences of policing in Asia, Chen and Fu have produced the very best kind of edited volume. It brings together a range of great scholars on a novel question, and collectively moves our knowledge forward. Highly recommended!’

Tom Ginsburg - Leo Spitz Distinguished Service Professor of International Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar, Professor of Political Science, The University of Chicago

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