Saturday, October 16, 2010

Manuél Delmestro on Judicial Reform in China

ACPSS (美国华人人文社科教授协会) is an academic organization founded in 1995 with its first annual international conference held at the University of Maryland at College Park. Since its inception, the ACPSS has adhered to its mission of vigorously promoting innovative idea exchange and engaging itself in research projects on China studies involving interdisciplinary collaboration among interested scholars across the world. The Harvard-Yenching Institute (HYI) was founded in 1928 with funding provided solely from the estate of Charles M. Hall "to conduct and provide research, instruction and publication in the culture of China and/or elsewhere in Continental Asia”. The institute is an independent foundation dedicated to advancing higher education in Asia in the humanities and social sciences, with special attention to the study of Asian culture. Today, HYI is one of the top research institutes focusing on China and other Asia countries. Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center was established in 2003. It advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. The mission of United Societies of China Studies (USCS) is primarily that of promoting academic information sharing, consultation, and coordinated projects of China studies among the member organizations in the United States as well as around the world. The USCS is composed of 5 member organizations (Association of Chinese Professors in Social Sciences, Chinese Communication Association, Chinese Historians in the United States, Global Forum of Chinese Political Scientists, Association for Information Systems) and 5 affiliated institutions (Center for Asian Studies at the American University, Center for Asian Democracy at the University of Louisville, Center for International Strategic Studies at Peking University, School of International Studies at the People University of China, China Program at the Carter Center)

The theme of the conference, “Engaging China: Sino-American Relations, Sustainable Development, and Beyond”, is aimed to bring together a broad cross-discipline of scholars from the field of social sciences and humanities, to address the world’s most important, yet rather complex and multi-faceted, bilateral relationship of the 21st century that not only affects these two countries in almost every aspect of their domestic and diplomatic affairs but also the world as a whole in its sustainable economic, political, cultural, and environmental developments.
ACPSS, Conference website.

Manuél Delmestro of Fujen University, Taiwan will be presenting a very interesting paper on the relationship between the Chinese Communist Party and judicial reform within China.  A summary of that paper is provided below.
Holding the Balance Properly: Environment, Strictures and Hypotheses for a
Judicial Reform in China
Manuél E. Delmestro
Fujen University (Taiwan), Dep.t of Italian Language, Assistant Professor
National Taiwan University, Dep.t of Foreign Languages, Assistant Professor

- Virtually every step of political and legal reform in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is made under the watchful and careful eye of the Communist Party of China (CPC, the Party), and those in the field of judicial reform are among the most closely watched and measured.

The notion of Party leadership over governance is known; less apparent are the actual ways through which that guidance is exerted over the formally independent judicial branch of government, simultaneously managing to uphold the ever-advertised slogan of “Ruling the Country in Accordance with the Law”. Behind and beyond the framework of Supreme People’s Court (SPC), Supreme People’s Procuratorate (SPP) and lower levels lies a system of Party Political-Legal Affairs Committees (PLC) that oversees the Judiciary at large and public security agencies. The pinnacle of this system is the Central Political-Legal Affairs Committee (CPLC), a panel presided over by a member of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC).

- This paper provides an outline of the PLC apparatus and its collocation within the all-catching guikou guanli managing system of the PRC and tries to clarify how the political principles and practices of Democratic Centralism, Dual Dependence, Nomenklatura etc impact the development and the often advocated reform of the Judiciary and the Legal System in general.

How could this system be conceivably reformed in the foreseeable mid-term? What political and institutional arrangements should or could be devised?

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