The Rights Defence Movement, Rights Defence Lawyers and Prospects for Constitutional Democracy in China

Chongyi Feng

Abstract


Contrary to the view that democratic aspiration has been utterly marginalised in China since the 1990s, the discourse of democracy continues to flourish via the Internet and other means of communication, and a budding “rights defence movement” (weiquan yundong) has emerged as a new focus of the Chinese democracy movement in China. The emergence of this rights defence movement foreshadows a new, more optimistic political scenario in which smooth transition to a stable constitutional democracy through constructive interactions between state and society may occur. This paper explores the social and political context behind the rise of the rights defence movement in China, assesses the role played by rights defence lawyers (weiquan lushi) in shaping the rights defence movement and speculates on the implications of the rights defence movement for China’s transition to constitutional democracy

Keywords


Rights; Rights Lawyers; Democracy; China

Full Text:

PDF

References


Angle, Stephen C. 2002, Human Rights and Chinese Thought: A Cross-cultural Inquiry, Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511499227

Brook, Timothy and B. Michael Frolic, eds.1997, Civil Society in China, M. E. Sharpe, New York.

Brzezinski, Zbigniew, et al. 1998, 'Will China Democratize?' Journal of Democracy, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 3-64.

Cai, Yongchun 2007, 'Civil resistance and rule of law in China: the defense of homeowners' rights, ' in Elizabeth J. Perry and Merle Goldman, eds., Grassroots political reform in contemporary China, Harvard University Press.

Carnes, Tony 2006, 'China's new legal eagles: Evangelical lawyers spur civil rights movement forward', Christianity Today, September, pp.106-110.

Chan, Anita 1998, 'Labour standards and Human Rights: The case of Chinese workers under market Socialism', Human Rights Quarterly, vol. 20, pp. 886-904. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/hrq.1998.0036

Chang, Gordon G. 2001, The Coming Collapse of China, Random House, New York.

Chinese Human Rights Defenders 2008, Silencing Complaints: Human Rights Abuses Against Petitioners in China, http://crdnet.org/Article/Class9/Class11/200803/20080314221750_8056.html

Dang, Zhiguo 2008, 'Dier ci geming de zhongda tupo: nongmin xuangao shouhui tudi suoyouquan' (A breakthrough of the second revolution: peasants announce that they will take back ownership of land), http://www.newcenturynews.com/article/gd/200801/20080107022732.html .

Davis, Michael C., ed. 1995, Human Rights and Chinese Values: Legal, Philosophical and Political Perspectives, Oxford University Press, Hong Kong.

Fan, Yafeng 2005a, 'Weiquan zhengzhi lun' (The politics of rights defence), http://www.blogchina.com/new/display/87613.html .

Fan, Yafeng 2005b, 'Zhengfa xi he zhongguo de xianzheng zhi lu' (The legal profession camp and China's road to constitutional democracy), http://www.sachina.edu.cn/htmldata/article/2005/10/466.html .

Feng, Chongyi 2001, 'Reluctant Withdrawal of Government and Restrained Development of Society: an assessment of the small government, big society" model in Hainan', China Perspectives, no.35, p25-37."

Feng, Chongyi 2003, 'The Return of Liberalism and Social Democracy in Contemporary China', Issues and Studies, vol. 39:no. 3 (September), pp.1-31.

Feng, Chongyi 2004, Xianzheng yu zhongguo (China and Constitutional Democracy), Hong Kong Press for Social Sciences.

Feng, Chongyi 2006, 'Marketization, Globalization and Democratization: Prospects for Civil Society in Hainan', in James Goodman, ed., Regionalization, Marketization & Political Change in the Pacific Rim, University of Guadalajara Press, Guadalajara.

Feng, Chongyi 2008, 'Democrats within the Chinese Communist Party since 1989', Journal of Contemporary China, vol. 17, no. 57, November, p.673-688. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10670560802253378

Foweraker, Joe 1995, Theorizing Social Movements, Pluto Press, Boulder Co..

Fu, Hualing 2006, 'When lawyers are prosecuted: the struggle for a profession in transition', Working Paper Series, University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law.

Gallagher, Mary 2006, 'Mobilizing the Law in China: Informed Disenchantment" and the Development of Legal Consciousness, ' Law & Society Review, vol. 40, no. 4, pp. 783-817." http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5893.2006.00281.x

Garnau, John 2008, 'The year of the peasants' revolt', Washington Post, January 5.

Goldman, Merle 2005, From Comrade to Citizen: The Struggle for Political Rights in China, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Guo, Guoding 2008, 'Lun zhengzhi an bianhu' (On defence of political cases), http://www.boxun.com/hero/200805/wqgc/26_1.shtml

Hu, Ping 2003, 'Huigu 2003 nian gongmin weiquan yundong' (Reflections on rights defence movement in 2003), http://www.bjzc.org/bjs/bc/129/03 .

Hu, Ping 2006, 'Weiquan lüshi: women shidai de yingqiong' (Rights defence lawyers: heroes of our times), http://www.crd-et.org/article/20060212115002_47.html .

Human Rights in China 2006, Weiquan online. China rights forum 3, http://hrichina.org/public/PDFs/CRF.3.2006/CRF-2006-3_Weiquan.pdf .

Human Rihgts Watch 2008, Walking on Thin Ice": Control, Intimidation and Harassment of Lawyers in China, Human Rights Watch, New York."

Ji, Shuoming & Wang, Jianmin 2005, 'Zhongguo weiquan lüshi: fazhi xianfeng (Rights defence lawyers in China: the vanguard of the rule of law), Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly), cover story, 19:52, 25/12/2005.

Kahn, Joseph 2007, 'Rivals on a Legal Tightrope Seek to Widen Freedoms in China', http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/joseph_kahn/index.html

Kingdom Law Firm 2008, 'Beida san boshi jingdian shangshu' (A classical petition by the PhD graduates from Beijing University, www.kingdomlawfirm.com/jdwc/2008/0510/article_20.html

Lao, Ma 2005, 'Zhengfa xi: yu gongmin shehui yiqi chengzhang' (The legal profession camp: growing together with civil society), http://www.folkchina.org/user1/42/archives/2005/714.html

Lee, Kin-kwan 2008, 'Guangdong Detains 14 as Strikers Protest Reported Death', http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china_strikes-20080313.html .

Li, Dun, 'quntixing shijian bushi hongshui mengshou' (Mass incidents are not fierce floods and savage beasts), http://www.newscenturynews.com/article/20090210132549.html

Li, Zhiying 2007, 'Dui falü weiquan de jidian renshi' (Some thoughts on rights defence by legal means), http://www.bjsjs.org/news/news.id=3361 .

Linz, Juan J. and Alfred Stepan 1996, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.

Liu, Lu 2006a, Weiquan lüshi, yige weixian de zhiye (Rights defence lawyers: a risky profession), Shenzhong shuju, Hong Kong.

Liu, Lu 2006b, 'Guanyu weiquan yundong de jidian sikao', (Several thoughts on the rights defence movement). http://www.chinaeweekly.com/viewarticle_gb.asp=4643 .

Liu, Sida 2006, 'Client Influence and the Contingency of Professionalism: The Work of Elite Corporate Lawyers in China.' Law & Society Review, vol. 40, no. 4, pp.751-782. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5893.2006.00280.x

Michelson, Ethan 2006, 'The Practice of Law as an Obstacle to Justice: Chinese Lawyers at Work, ' Law & Society Review, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 1-38. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5893.2006.00257.x

Michelson, Ethan 2007, 'Lawyers, Political Embeddedness, and Institutional Continuity in China's Transition from Socialism, ' The American Journal of Sociology, vol. 113, no. 2, pp. 352-414. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/518907

Mo, Shaoping 2008, 'Chishou xindi minzhu, fazhi, xianzheng guandian er fengyu qianxing' (Experience difficulties and meet challenges while keeping the values of democracy, the rule of law and constitutional government at heart), http://www.rq2007.cc/17/09/2008

Nathan, Andrew 2003, 'Authoritarian Resilience', Journal of Democracy, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 6-17. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/jod.2003.0019

O'Brien, Kevin J. and Lianjiang Li 2006, Rightful Resistance in Rural China, Cambridge University Press.

Ownby, David 2008, Falun Gong and the Future of China, Oxford University Press.

Pan, Yue 2006, 'Hexie shehui mubiao xia de huanjing youhao xing shehui'(Environmentally friendly society is congruous with the goal of building a harmonious society), July, http://www.eedu.org.cn/Article/epedu/florilegiums/panyue/200607/9018.html

Peerenboom, Randall 2002, China's Long March toward Rule of Law, Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511493737

Peerenboom, Randall 2006, 'Law and Development of Constitutional Democracy: Is China a Problem Case?', Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, vol. 603, p.192. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0002716205281505

Pei, Minxin 2006, China's Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.

Qin, Hui 2007a, 'Zhongguo jingji fazhan de di renquan youshi' (The advantage of poor human rights in China's economic development), http://www.cicus.org/info/artshow.asp=46041 .

Qin, Hui 2007b, 'Nongmin diquan liu lun' (Six commentaries on peasants' land rights), http://bbs.tecn.cn/archiver/tid-209368.html

Qiu, Feng 2003, 'Xin minquan xingdong nian' (The year of new rights movement), News Weekly, no.161, pp.52-53.

Scott, James C. 1985, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance, Yale University Press.

Shi, Ying 2008, 'Nongmin xuangao tudi siyou, dierci tudi geming baofa, ' (Claim of private land ownership and the second agrarian revolution), http://minzhuzhongguo.org/article/8/01/2008 .

Tang, Boqiao 2005, 'Gongmin weiquan yundong de huigu yu zhanwang' (Retrospect and prospects of the rights defence movement), http://www.ncn.org/asp/swginfo/da-kay.asp=1/13/2005 .

Teng, Biao 2006, 'Zhongguo weiquan yundong xiang hechu qu?' (Whither the rights defence movement in China), http://www.peacehall.com/news/gb/pubvp/200610172340.shtml

Teng, Biao 2007, 'Weiquan lushi yu zhongguo cifa bu duli wenti' (Rights defence lawyers and the problem of the lack of judiciary independence), http://www.tmd-news.blogspot.com/2007/06/blog-post_12.html .

Tao, Ye 2006, 'The need for a united front on rights defence', China Rights Forum, no.3, pp.27-31.

Wang, Xinyou 2005, 'Yingxiang xing susong: yi ge'an tuidong minzhu fazhi' (Influential litigations: promotion of democracy and the rule of law through individual cases of lawsuits), http://www.njrd.gov.cn/jcdt-mb_a200511221055.htm .

Wang, Yi 2003, '2003: Xin minquan yundong" de faren he caolian (2003: The origins and practices of the "new civil rights movement"), Guangcha (Observation), 19 December."

Wang, Yi 2006) 'Human rights lawyers and the rule-of-law camp, ' China Rights Forum, no.3, pp.21-26.

Weatherley, Robert 1999, The Discourse of Human Rights in China: Historical and Ideological Perspectives, Macmillan, Basingstoke. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9780333982976

Wei, Wei 2007, 'Beijing jidujiao jiating jiaohui huodong renshi huoyi' (Release of Christian family church activists in Beijing), http://www.voanews.com/chinese/archive/w2007-07-26-voa58.cfm,

Wu, Jinglian 2008, 'Zhongguo jingji zhuanxing de kunnan yu chulu' (Economic transformation in China: Problems and solutions), http://www.newcenturynews.com/article/gd/2008020205180502.html

Xian, Jianglin 2004, Quanli yuannian yu zhidu weiquan' (The first year of rights and institutional rights defence), http://www.article1.chinalawinfo.com/article_detail.asp"

Xu, Ben 1999, Disenchanted Democracy: Chinese Cultural Criticism after 1989, University of Michigan Press.

Ya, Wei 2006, 'Zhongguo weiquan renshi chengwei fengyun renwu' (Rights defence personages men of the hour), http//www.voanews.com/chinese/archive/2006-01/w2006-01-01-voa32.cfm

Yu, Jianrong 2006, Zhongguo gongren jieji zhuangkuang: Anyuan shilu (The plight of China's working class: a true record of Anyuan), Mirror Books, New York.

Yu, Jianrong 2007, Dangdai nongmin de weiquan douzheng: Hunan Hengyang kaocha (Rights defence struggles of contemporary peasants: an investigation into Hunan's Hengyang), Zhongguo wenhua chubanshe, Beijing.

Zhang, Xingshui 2008, 'Chongshang lixing, zhunxun fazhi de weiquan zhilu' (The road of rights defence in accordance with rationalism and the rule of law), http://www.chinesepen.org/article_200803180318034213.shtml.

Zou, Keyuan 2006, China's Legal Reform towards the Rule of Law, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Boston.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5130/ccs.v1i3.1076