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Law studies in the sights of power
Since coming to power, Xi Jinping often insists on building a “government by law” (fazhi). The word is confusing : there is of course no question of a rule of law, controlling the powers of the government. Law in China plays a role of institutionalizing relations between the different actors of society, without becoming binding for the Party. In this context, the authorities are vigilant about the risks of a more Western study of law. Sunday, the Communist Party Central Committee and the State Council published set of legal education and theory regulations. This very long document takes existing elements and combines them to form a powerful reminder to the legal community. The key idea of the document is twofold : on the one hand continue to train competent jurists or lawyers, paid in the different forms of rights (civilians, penal, business but also international law) while reaffirming – and this is the heart of the document – the superiority of Chinese socialist law over “Western” law. To give the content of the text, we choose to reproduce a translated extract : [It's necessary] Steadfastly following the path of the socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics, adhere to the organic unity of the Party leadership, the people being the master of the country, and govern the country according to law. [Must therefore] guide teachers, students and legal theorists in law schools to take a clear and firm position on matters of principle , and resolutely oppose and resist erroneous Western views such as the “constitutionalism”, the “separation of powers” et “the independence of the judiciary”. This opposition to the cardinal principles of Western law is not new, this new turn of the screw is nevertheless significant in a context of strengthening of the regime. This campaign against the legal sector should not be seen as proof of “fear of leadership”, but on the contrary an additional proof of his unequaled assertiveness and his determination to anchor even more the supremacy of the Party on the State and the society.