CCCH9009 Reflective Essay

Topics: Law, Communist Party of China, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 Pages: 6 (2051 words) Published: April 17, 2015
CCCH9009 Protests, Rebellions and Revolutions in Modern China Reflective Essay

Name:

CHAN Chun Ho, Goofy

UID:

3035071486

Tutorial:

Friday 10.30 – 11.20
CCCH 9009 Protests, Rebellions and Revolutions in Modern China Reflective Essay

Introduction
Ian Johnson’s Wild Grass presents three stories that vividly reflect the social and political problems in the contemporary Chinese regime. Featuring three groups of protagonists, namely the ‘peasant champion’ who filed class-action lawsuit against the government for over-taxing, the Beijing citizens whose residence were destroyed for property development, and the daughter whose mother was killed in the suppression of Falun Gong, the book not only has envisioned me on some of the most controversial issues in China, but also has directed me on how to re-examine the nation in alternative perspectives. The ‘peasant champion’: shedding lights on rule of law in China As a law student, I hold a strong belief that law primarily functions to achieve justice. The notion of ‘everyone is equal before the law’ means that everyone is to be treated equally regardless of your background, wealth and power. Unfortunately, in an authoritarian state like China, rule of law does not seem to play out its ideal role. The story of Ma Welin, the ‘peasant champion’, has precisely portrayed such fallacy in the Mainland nowadays. Firstly, there is a lack of effective checks and balances on government power and authority. The Chinese government essentially enjoys immunity from a majority of lawsuits. For instance, one cannot sue government censors for violating one’s right to free speech. (Johnson, 2004) Interestingly, the freedom of speech is guaranteed in PRC’s constitution. This leads to an awkward result in that people are unable to vindicate their legal rights through litigation, despite they, in theory, are supposed to enjoy such rights. It is therefore hard to expect that the Chinese legal regime, as a figurehead of the authority, can achieve much in limiting the rulers’ power, not to mention in protecting people’s freedom and rights.

1

CCCH9009 Protests, Rebellions and Revolutions in Modern China Reflective Essay

Moreover, the intervention from the executive and administrative branch also creates a substantial obstacle for the actualisation of rule of law in China. For instance, it was known from the story that the central government can actually issue orders instructing courts to reject particular cases. (Johnson, 2004) With such influence, it is foreseeable that the judiciary is subject to enormous political influences when trying court cases. Judges are thus unable to make impartial and independent decisions. Law, therefore, is degraded to a mere tool for those in power to legitimise their authority.

There is also widespread manipulation of the legal system by officials. It is mentioned in the story that local governments leveraged a range of unreasonably high taxes on peasants. Although the central government has passed law limiting the amount of taxes charged to be no more than 5% of farmers’ monthly income, officials nevertheless were managed to get around the rule and charged ‘special taxes’ to profit out of the pockets of poor peasants. (Johnson, 2004) It was appalling to know how supercilious these officials were, who totally disregarded the existence of relevant law and did what they want for their own benefits. This, in my view, is one of the most deeply set hurdles for the promotion of rule of law in China. From a more theoretical standpoint, the fact that courts are not bound by the precedents of previous cases creates a loophole for the authority to abuse the legal system. In the absence of binding precedents, courts in China often make rulings that completely ignore the fact that other courts have ruled differently in similar cases. (Johnson, 2004) The story of Ma was such an example. It is contended that without appropriate control on the authority’s...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Reflective Essay
  • Reflective Essay
  • Reflective Essay
  • Reflective Essay
  • Reflective Essay
  • Reflective Essay
  • Reflective Essay
  • Reflective Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free