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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.
This chapter examines the role of lawyers in providing legal services to indigent persons and facilitating access to justice in China. The chapter explores the degree to which access to justice in China is different from other countries, and addresses whether those differences are related to China’s political and legal system or China’s status as a middle-income country with a low level of GDP per capita. Under current Chinese law, the provision of legal services to the poor is both a government responsibility and a duty of practising lawyers. The principal argument of the chapter is that legal aid has reduced the scope of non-professional representation, and that increased legal aid funding has commercialized legal aid in China and hollowed out public interest among lawyers in general. However, as the legal profession grows, a public interest spirit has started to develop outside the official legal aid system, with some lawyers volunteering their services to assist those in legal need and promote public interest.
This article presents the findings of original research on “judge quota” reform. The reform's agenda was essentially aimed at professionalization: by edging out a given percentage of judges, only the better qualified judges would be re-appointed to create a more professionalized judiciary. A key component of the reform was to reduce the level and the intensity of both political and bureaucratic control over judges in adjudication and to decentralize judicial power to the rank-and-file judges, restoring individualized judging while enhancing judicial accountability. This article critically examines the potential and limits of the judge quota reform in the context of incremental legal reform in a party-state.
One great fallacy in the study of law in authoritarian countries is to treat legality as the rule of law, and to then assume a linear development from the rule of law to democracy. In reality, we have seen jurisdictions with a high level of the rule of law but without democracy, as well as authoritarian regimes that resort to legality for strategic purposes but treat legality as a mere tool to strengthen authoritarian rule. In other words, legality without the rule of law, and the rule of law without democracy, are common. This is particularly true in Asia, where authoritarian regimes embracing the idea of the rule of law usually enjoy sufficient levels of legitimacy in that the majority of the population in the respective countries view the political system as appropriate or that it should not be opposed. As such, “authoritarian legality” constitutes a conceptual space where legality, authoritarianism, democracy, and legitimacy are intertwined and cause a great deal of ambiguity, coupled with divided views and competing evaluations of its operation.
Authoritarian legality can be defined narrowly to mean legal norms of authoritarian states and the process in which those legal norms are implemented. It is common ground that, in authoritarian states, there is no formal mechanism for meaningful competition for political power and that authoritarian leaders monopolize political power and are ready to use repression, co-optation, and other means to ensure regime survival.