Professor Albert Chen’s forthcoming fifth edition on China’s legal system and my Foreword on Xi Jinping’s “ruling the country in accordance with law”

Dear Friends,

Professor Albert Hung-yee Chen of the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law is going to publish the 5th edition of his outstanding book, An Introduction to the Legal System of the People’s Republic of China (link to 4th ed.). I highly recommend it to students of the Chinese legal system.

I have written a Foreword for this new edition to offer a brief reference to the current depressing legal scene under Xi Jinping’s rule. My Forewords for three previous editions, as early as 1992, discussed the then developments of Chinese law. Read together, these remarks sketch out a trajectory of more than two decades.



Why China chose the German instead of English legal system: the role of Japan

Here is an interesting op ed that paints with a very broad but interesting brush on "Why China chose the German instead of English legal system".

Photo by  Photopin

Photo by Photopin

It omits any reference to the intermediate role of Meiji Japan, which chose Germany as a model over France and England in large part because of the allure of the Bismarck model. Many Chinese reformers were influenced by Japan at the end of the Qing, As the greatest law reformer of the era, Shen Jiaben, put it: “When we use Japan as a mirror and look correctly, then there can exist no doubt or hesitation”. Shen held manyimportant positionsbefore the Qing fell and became Yuan Shikai’s Minister of Justice in 1911, but did not continue in office after establishment of the Republic and died soon after. Japanese law teachers and other legal experts played an important role in China both immediately before and after the Revolution. Japan was admired because it was seen to have built its impressive power on the strength of its modern legal system, which was given a good deal of credit for enabling it to defeat not only imperial China in 1895 but also a perceived “Western” nation, imperial Russia, a decade later.