The Future of Legal Reform

China’s Leadership Transition at the 18th Party Congress

Carl Minzner, Professor of Law at Fordham University, talks here about the ways China’s legal reforms have ebbed and flowed, speeding up in the early 2000s, but then slowing down again after legal activists began to take the government at its word, attempting to use the letter of the law, the Chinese Constitution, to push the envelope for change.

A distinct rollback of earlier legal reforms is easily seen, Minzner says, in the cases of two activist lawyers, Chen Guangcheng, who fled to the United States in mid-2012, and Xu Zhiyong. Whereas both men were able to advocate freely for those in need in the early 2000s, both have since had their wings clipped.