East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

November 14, 2018
by baikjongyoon
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Nov 21, Tom Ginsburg | “Legality in Contemporary Chinese Politics”

EAST ASIA WORKSHOP: POLITICS, ECONOMY & SOCIETY

 

“Legality in Contemporary Chinese Politics”

 

Tom Ginsburg

University of Chicago Law School

 

Nov 21, Wed 12:00-1:30 pm

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

Pizza will be provided

About the Presenter

Tom Ginsburg is the Leo Spitz Professor of International Law at the University of Chicago, where he also holds an appointment in the Political Science Department.  He holds B.A., J.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. He currently co-directs the Comparative Constitutions Project, an NSF-funded data set cataloging the world’s constitutions since 1789, that runs the award-winning Constitute website.  His latest book is How to Save a Constitutional Democracy (2018, with Aziz Huq), and his other books include Judicial Reputation: A Comparative Theory (2015) (with Nuno Garoupa); The Endurance of National Constitutions (2009) (with Zachary Elkins and James Melton), which won the best book award from Comparative Democratization Section of American Political Science Association; and Judicial Review in New Democracies (2003), winner of the C. Herman Pritchett Award. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Before entering law teaching, he served as a legal advisor at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, The Hague, Netherlands, and he has consulted with numerous international development agencies and governments on legal and constitutional reform.  He currently serves a senior advisor on Constitution Building to International IDEA.

Abstract

The picture of Chinese law that many Western scholars and commentators portray is an increasingly bleak one: since the mid-2000s, China has been retreating from legal reform back into unchecked authoritarianism. This article argues that, much to the contrary, Chinese politics have in fact become substantially more law-oriented over the past five years. The Chinese Communist Party under Xi Jinping has indeed centralized power and control to an almost unprecedented extent, but it has done this in a highly legalistic way, empowering courts against other state and Party entities, insisting on legal professionalism, and bringing political powers that were formerly the exclusive possession of the Party under legal authorization and regulation. In fact, nowhere is this “legalism” more powerfully expressed than in the 2018 amendments to the Chinese Constitution, which show that, even if China is indeed deepening its dictatorship, it is nonetheless doing so through harnessing the organizational and legitimizing capacities of law, rather than circumventing it.

We argue that both top-down political considerations and bottom-up social demand are driving this recent turn towards legality: first, as a purely instrumental matter, governing China in a centralized, top-down manner requires a strong commitment to bureaucratic legalization. The sheer size of the country and its population creates severe principal-agent and resource allocation problems that force central authorities to either recognize some version of de-facto federalism, or to combat local corruption and abuse through rigorous law enforcement. With the recent political turn away from decentralized administration, the Party leadership must pursue the latter strategy of investing in legality. Second, and perhaps more interestingly, the Chinese population increasingly seems to attach significant amounts of sociopolitical legitimacy to law and legality. As a result, empowering legal institutions and positioning the Party leadership as a champion of legality against traditional bureaucratic corruption has been a major source of both personal status and popular political legitimacy.

 

* Subscribe  to our workshop mailing-list at: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/east-asia
* Abstract or description of each presentation will be posted on our website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia
* Questions and comments can be addressed to the student coordinators Jongyoon Baik: baikjongyoon@uchicago.edu and Ji Xue: jixue@uchicago.edu
*Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinators in advance.
The East Asia Workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences.

November 7, 2018
by baikjongyoon
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Nov 13 (TUE) Peter Lorentzen, “Personal Ties, Meritocracy, and China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign”

EAST ASIA WORKSHOP: POLITICS, ECONOMY & SOCIETY

 

“Personal Ties, Meritocracy, and China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign” 

Peter Lorentzen

University of San Francisco

Nov 13, TUE 12:30-1:50 pm

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

Joint Session with the CPW

A light lunch will be provided

 

About the Presenter

Peter Lorentzen is an assistant professor in the Economics Department of the University of San Francisco. His research primarily concerns the politics and economics of development and governance, with a focus on China. His articles have been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the China Quarterly, Genetics in Medicine, the Journal of Economic Growth, the Journal of Politics, the Journal of Theoretical Politics, Modern China, the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, and World Development. He received his PhD in Business Administration from Stanford University. His webpage is www.peterlorentzen.com.

 

Abstract of the Paper

We examine empirically the targeting and motivations of the first phase of China’s anti-corruption campaign under Xi Jinping (2012-2015). Combining data on officials’ personal networks revealed during the campaign with biographical and economic data, we find evidence that the campaign indeed targeted corruption. In addition, individuals, networks, and geographic regions that departed sharply from meritocratic governance practices appear to have been a primary target, with higher rates of indictment. This is consistent with the party’s own claim that the crackdown was designed to reduce corruption and strengthen party-led meritocracy. However, individuals with personal ties to Xi Jinping appear to be exempt from investigation while, individuals with ties to the other six members of the Politburo Standing Committee had no special protection. These findings supporting the perception that the crackdown was also intended to consolidate political power in Xi’s hands.

 

* Subscribe  to our workshop mailing-list at: https://lists.uchicago.edu/web/info/east-asia

* Abstract or description of each presentation will be posted on our website: http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/eastasia

* Questions and comments can be addressed to the student coordinators Jongyoon Baik: baikjongyoon@uchicago.edu and Ji Xue: jixue@uchicago.edu

*Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinators in advance.

This event is sponsored by the University of Chicago Center for East Asian Studies
The East Asia Workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences 
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