The Intersection of Chinese Law and Politics

China’s legal system is much derided and poorly understood, but its development has, in many ways, been one of the defining features of the reform and opening-up era. Rachel Stern, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Berkeley, has researched the contradictions, successes, and failures of China’s changing approach to governance and legal oversight of society. She has also written a book, Environmental Litigation in China: A Study in Political Ambivalence, which examines the intersection of Chinese authoritarianism, pollution, and the nation’s laws.

In this podcast, Rachel talks with Kaiser and Jeremy about her recent research, the Chinese bar exam and its politicization, the ways in which environmental litigation works (or doesn’t), and the anxious uncertainty behind much of the self-censorship in media.