Chinese Journal of Comparative Law
The rule of law is a philosophical concept, an ideal against which any legal system can be measured. Whether China adheres to the rule of law is critical not only to people in China but also to other nations that look to China for leadership. Serious questions can be raised about whether the recent Chongqing da hei fell short of compliance with the rule of law in the criminal law field. This article considers the Li Zhuang case from a comparative perspective rooted in legal principles that resonate cross-culturally. The article recounts the recent development of a new Chinese legal profession, the obstacles faced by criminal defence lawyers, and the key facts of the Li Zhuang case. It concludes that, judged in terms of what the rule of law requires, there were many shortcomings in the Li Zhuang prosecution. The authors argue that the Li Zhuang case should be debated in Chinese law schools, discussed within the Chinese legal profession, and long remembered. A careful re-examination of the many issues that the case raises and of the demands of the rule of law can be the basis for improvements in the Chinese legal system.
Vincent R. Johnson and Stephen C. Loomis, The Rule of Law in China and the Prosecution of Li Zhuang, 1 Chinese J. of Comp. L. 66 (2013).