Compte rendu : Chine. Les visages de la justice ordinaire

Guiheux, Gilles. [Compte rendu de] Stéphanie Balme, Chine. Les visages de la justice ordinaire : entre faits et droit. European Review of International Studies, vol. 4, n° 1, 2017, pp. 87-89. URL : https://doi.org/10.3224/eris.v4i1.07 (consulté le 12 septembre 2017)

Chinese justice, its working and transformations from the end of the Maoist period up to the present, is the subject of Stéphanie Balme’s book. The   result of ten years’ research, it is supported by a wide range of official documents – legal texts, formal reports or five-year plans – academic studies issued both in and out of China, as well as observations of the functioning of law courts. The idea is to draw the picture of Chinese law as it has become thirty years after 1978, when Deng Xiaoping announced the end of ‘government by men’ and the need to ‘govern the country according to law’. The very slogan was taken up more recently by the present General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, Xi Jinping. The buildingup of a modern legal system is actually a major source of legitimacy for the Chinese political leadership.

The introductory chapter deals with the drive to give more space to law. Similarly to the other areas of the reform, the transformations have taken place gradually, without any prior plan. Notwithstanding the publishing of numerous texts and an easier access to law for people subject to being tried,  numerous normative conflicts still remain. Chapter II moves from law to justice and indicates, again chronologically, the general outlines of the reforms, with a comment on the different projects from 1999 onwards. Chapter III takes up the organisation of the judiciary system – the number of affairs handled, the number of people on the staffs, and the part still played by the Party in the working of the system. The last three chapters deal with
civil, penal and constitutional law. That way, the book offers a comprehensive view of Chinese law.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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