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This chapter focuses on the guiding case system, which is distinctive and cannot be simply explained by current case law theories. More specifically, it first explores the distinctiveness of the guiding case system in the specific context of China, as opposed to other types of case law in liberal democracies, then goes on to explain why the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) has been able to expand its judicial lawmaking authority in the sense of being able to interpret the law through guiding cases. Furthermore, it illustrates that the Main Points of Adjudication (caipan yaodian), as a part of a guiding case, has essentially become a form of statutory interpretation that enables the SPC to independently perform a legislative function to a certain extent without routine surveillance by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC). This stands in contrast to the previous practice, where the SPC performed the legislative function merely through having it delegated by the NPCSC. It is further suggested that, under China’s authoritarian regime, the effectiveness of the SPC’s lawmaking function through the guiding case system depends largely on the extent to which the courts could be independent in the context of China.
This chapter examines Supreme People’s Court (SPC)’s judicial interpretation, which has been formally legalized as a source of law for adjudication, as well as its relationship with various other statutes in China’s legislative system. It points out that the inner logic of China’s legislation with different hierarchical status, as distinct from those of democratically elected parliamentary systems, is determined by the de facto distribution of legislative power within its authoritarian regime, where the SPC has become a significant player in exercising legislative power in a way that has largely evolved beyond its constitutional settings. In particular, it investigates the unique inner logic of SPC’s judicial interpretations, which have become a de facto primary source of law for adjudication in practice.
This chapter explores the unique function and role of judicial documents – a significant form of informal state law, as distinguished from formal statutory laws – in China’s legislative enterprise. In particular, it examines why and how, with no explicit statutory delegation, the judicial lawmaking practice of producing judicial documents has become embedded in the adjudication of China’s courts. It accordingly proposes a twilight theory of China’s judicial documents that explains why the practice of judicial lawmaking through producing documents exists in a twilight zone between legal and illegal and is suitable for China’s politically resilient authoritarian regime. Moreover, it demonstrates how the judicial document can be referred to effectively by judges in adjudication. It further investigates the extent to which the judicial document has enabled the court, under the dual leadership of the superior court and the local Party committee, to efficiently and effectively respond to the subnational diversity and the differences of local politics.
This chapter proposes a theory of legal instrumentalism – contextually, a more explanatory framework than either Marxist or Confucian legal theories – to explain the function and role of law in Chinese society. This kind of instrumentalism, which differs from the debate over this theory in the Anglo-American tradition, is situated in China’s authoritarian regime, where a primary concern is the maintenance of political stability through strengthening authoritarian legality for the ruler. On this premise, economic development, as well as other social goals – such as efficiency of the government – for which the law can undoubtedly be placed in an instrumental position may become a priority in the ruler’s political agenda. When it comes to dispute resolution, the primary matter of concern is not the achievement of the formalist justice of Western tradition via either a formal or informal process but rather the settlement of disputes for which the law primarily plays a facilitative role as a tool, regardless of what strategies it may use. Instrumentalism of this kind, which is suitable for Chinese society both culturally and historically, shows that law is visible and does matter in China, although it cannot be completely understood through the lens of other legal traditions.
This chapter investigates judicial precedents in China’s instrumentalist legal system and finds that judges are generally reluctant to refer to a judicial precedent, including a guiding case, in the process of making a judicial decision. It further reveals that the guiding case system has effectively crystallized a bureaucratic system of judicial precedents with guiding cases at the top of the pyramid. A bureaucratic system of this kind is grounded primarily in the political hierarchy of the courts and a nationwide typical-case-selection movement, in which the lower courts are politically responsible for submitting a certain number of typical cases selected from within their respective jurisdictions to the Supreme People’s Court every year. Finally, it attempts to develop a bureaucratic theory of judicial precedents centred on guiding cases that fits into China’s authoritarian context and that differs substantially from any other type of case law in a liberal context.
This chapter discusses the background, thesis, significance and implications of researching the theme of the sources of Chinese law in both comparative and Chinese legal scholarship. It also identifies the significant components of positive law in China’s legislative system and provides a general overview of China’s legislative system, along with the theoretical claims and interdisciplinary analysis involved in the detailed discussion presented in the following chapters.
Colombia’s Partido Liberal (Liberal Party, PL) and Partido Conservador (Conservative Party, PC) are two of the oldest party organizations in Latin America. They both arose in the middle of the nineteenth century (in 1848 and 1849, respectively), and have participated in almost all national and subnational elections since then. Over their combined 170 years of history, they have managed to adapt and to survive changing conditions, both structural and circumstantial, and to maintain a substantial degree of electoral political power, although this has declined since the early 1990s. Even though both organizations are still able to win votes and elect candidates in popular elections, they do not always do so in a coordinated way. In addition, both parties have lost much of their ability to aggregate collective interests vertically. Therefore, this chapter argues that these organizations merit classifications as diminished subtypes. Taking into account their lack of vertical interest aggregation as well as their minimal degree of horizontal coordination, both the PL and the PC exhibit characteristics of the independent and uncoordinated party types (Luna et al. this volume). Both electoral vehicles still manage to compete in elections with relative success, but without representing a clearly defined electorate.
This article examines how violence against citizens affects their political attitudes and behavior in the long run, and how those effects vary over time. We construct and analyze a novel dataset on the victims of Taiwan's February 28 Incident, in 1947, with survey data spanning 1990 to 2017. Our empirical analysis shows that cohorts having directly or indirectly experienced the Incident are less likely to support the Kuomintang Party (KMT), the former authoritarian ruling party responsible for the Incident. They tend to disagree with the key conventional policy stand of the KMT (unification with mainland China), are more likely to self-identify as Taiwanese, and are less likely to vote for KMT presidential candidates. Taiwan's residents who were born in towns with larger number of casualties during the Incident are more likely to reject unification. Finally, the effects are found to vary over the period following democratization.
Chapter 8 studies the record of macroeconomic and financial crises, high inflation episodes, currency collapses, political crises, and collapses of democracy in Latin America and the financial crises and recession episodes in East Asian economies in the period 1970–2015. The chapter focuses on countries – such as Argentina and Venezuela – with high incidence of growth, inflation, and political crises, and also examines the cases of Chile and Mexico. The chapter examines the effects of the East Asian crisis of 1997–98 on Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia (the Asia-5 countries) and compares its impact on China, Vietnam, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The chapter offers a discussion on a wide variety of crisis and stabilization occurrences in a comparative perspective, highlighting economic and political economy factors.
What role do emotions play in state repression? Building upon ethnographic observation in one Beijing petition bureau, this paper explores the emotional labour performed by grassroots officials to demobilize social dissent. The petition system serves as an official channel through which the Chinese government receives complaints and grievances from citizens. Notwithstanding its institutional inefficiency in addressing petitioners’ requirements, this system plays a critical role in maintaining social stability. I investigate the process by which frontline petition officials manage petitions. I argue that channelling petitioners’ emotions has become one of these officials’ core functions. Petition officials have developed three types of emotional strategies – emotional defusing, emotional constraint and emotional reshaping – to absorb petitioners’ complaints. This study of emotional repression offers a fresh perspective on the affective dimension of contentious politics and also contributes to the theoretical discussion on how authoritarian regimes deal with dissent.
A key finding in the literature on authoritarian regimes is that leaders frequently rely on ruling parties to stay in power, but the field lacks systematic ways to measure autocratic party strength. As a result, it is not clear how often ruling parties are actually strong and capable of carrying out important functions. This article demonstrates that strong ruling parties are much rarer than is typically assumed. Using a global sample of dictatorships from 1946–2008, the author shows that most ruling parties are unable to survive the death or departure of the founding leader. This is true even of many ruling parties that have been coded as leading single-party regimes. While strong parties may be key to durable authoritarianism, relatively few parties are truly strong.
The positive influence of foreign direct investment (FDI) on host countries' economic growth has been widely debated. Given the mixed empirical evidence, scholars have sought to find the economic preconditions under which FDI spillovers are likely to occur and facilitate economic growth in the host countries. Those preconditions are not exogenously dictated but largely shaped by governments' policy preferences. Particularly in autocracies, an autocrat's policy preferences are the driving force that determines whether a host country is likely to be equipped with growth-friendly institutions and policies. We argue that such economic institutions and policies are dependent on the time horizons of autocrats in power. Our empirical analysis covering 64 autocratic countries from 1970 to 2005 supports our main argument that FDI has a positive effect on growth when autocratic time horizons are sufficiently long, and positive FDI spillovers mainly occur through the protection of property right institutions.
Whilst much of the contemporary debate on regime change remains concentrated on transitions to and from democracy, this paper focuses on autocracy-to-autocracy transitions, a relatively understudied but particularly relevant phenomenon. Building on an updated typology of non-democratic regimes and through a qualitative case-by-case assessment, the present paper identifies 21 transitions from one dictatorship to another, out of 32 cases of autocratic breakdown during the 2000–15 period. Hence, after the fall of a dictatorship, the installation of a new authoritarian regime was almost twice as likely as democratization. Accordingly, the paper focuses on the 21 recorded autocracy-to-autocracy transitions and examines in which non-democratic regimes a transition from an autocracy to another is more likely to occur, which peculiar forms of authoritarian rule tend to be installed, and the specific ways in which the dismantling of the previous existing authoritarian rule is achieved.
The 2010–11 Arab uprisings continue to prompt a great deal of discussion. By focusing specifically on Tunisia and Egypt, this article aims to present a more dynamic account of revolutionary moments in these countries. It does so in two ways. First, the changing nature of structures and mechanisms of authoritarian domination over time is explored. Second, the convergences of different social classes and political forces during the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt are not treated as unique and static occurrences. By showing how the two revolutionary networks gradually emerged and enlarged, a truer picture is thus provided. By doing so, this article aims to contribute to a more nuanced interpretation of the two revolutionary outbursts and to the development of the fourth generation of revolutionary studies.
Using evidence from China, this study proposes the conflict expansion model to explore how pressure for policy change can build up to overcome resisting force and stimulate a response from decisionmakers in an authoritarian context. Tracing the policy change processes of four national policies, this study finds that the social pressure mobilised by media reports focused on specific events is a major force for facilitating policy change in China. However, owing to institutional constraints, the influences of societal actors are sporadic, incident-based and varied by population. The policy change process is protracted and difficult when it encounters resistance from state actors who have multiple institutional access channels for influencing the decision-making process. The power distribution between the facilitating and resisting forces determines whether policy change proceeds quickly or arduously.
This article explores the example of Cuba in order to understand how a contentious politics has evolved since the 2000s and especially after the semi-liberalisation of internet access in 2008. My aim is to analyse how use of new technologies impact the fragmented arenas of contention that already existed in Cuba. My argument is that they have reinforced existing dynamics, while creating new channels of expression and linkage, between contentious spaces within Cuba and with specific segments of the Cuban diaspora. Those dynamics have in turn allowed for the emergence of a transnational Cuban public arena and a more intricate contentious space in Cuba itself.
Given their critical influence on society and politics, university students are one of the key target groups for authoritarian political control around the world. To further our understanding of the endurance and resilience of authoritarianism in post-Deng China, it is necessary to examine one of the Party-state's most crucial control frameworks: the institutional mechanism through which it preserves social stability in the nation's 2,358 university campuses, and maintains control over its more than 22 million college students. Drawing upon intensive field research conducted in 2011, this article attempts to map out the structures and measures deployed by the post-Deng regime to nurture political compliance and consolidate its domination of university campuses. By deciphering an essential component of the state's political control apparatus, this article aims to shed new light on the internal operations of the authoritarian system that is running China today.
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