Law In Post-Mao China: Confucianism, Legalism, Imperial Traditions

1280px-great_hall_of_the_people_at_night

The Great Hall of the People, Beijing (photo by Thomas.fanghaenel, licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia Commons)

In the previous post we have described the similarities and differences between Maoism and Legalism, and in particular we have shown the parallels between Maoist and Legalist doctrines regarding the establishment of an autocratic, centralised state. Moreover, we have demonstrated that Mao Zedong rejected Confucian values, which he viewed as “reactionary”. In this post we will show how the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the post-Maoist era has preserved elements of Legalism, Leninism and of the imperial legal system; at the same time, however, it has also rediscovered Confucianism as a more humane and family-oriented ideology which helped the Communist state overcome the brutality and the excesses of Maoist class struggle. Beijing’s attempt at combining Legalism, Leninism, Maoism and ancient imperial traditions has created a state with ideologically inconsistent and weak foundations. Yet at the same time the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has succeeded in preserving power and consensus exactly because it draws upon such broad and various traditions.

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Girlfriend of Hong Kong Democracy Activist Joshua Wong Detained In Mainland China

On February 18 Tiffany Chin (錢詩文), a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, was denied entry into mainland China and detained at Kunming Airport. The 19-year-old Tiffany Chin is the girlfriend of Joshua Wong, the founder of ‘Scholarism‘, a pro-democracy student association that was at the forefront of last year’s Occupy Central movement. Joshua Wong soon became one of the most famous leaders of the demonstrations.

According to the mainland Chinese newspaper Guanchazhe (观察者网), Tiffany Chin, a member of Scholarism, which was one of the organisers of the “illegal” Occupy Central protests, was denied entry into mainland China upon arrival with her family in the city of Kunming, where they had travelled to visit relatives on Chinese New Year. She was stopped by the police who asked her whether she “had done bad things in Hong Kong”. She was not permitted to leave the airport. She had to spend the night at a hotel inside the airport and flew back to Hong Kong the following day.

On February 7 Tiffany Chin had participated in a session of a special committee of the Legislative Council (LegCo) that dealt with matters concerning the electoral system. Chin had boldly criticised Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, going so far as to personally insult him.

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok stated that the Hong Kong authorities had not aided their mainland counterparts in compiling a blacklist of people who had taken part in ‘Occupy Central’.