This paper begins with a description and an assessment of China’s 40 years’ construction of the rule-of-law. Section I discusses the conceptual framework I use to describe and evaluate China’s rule-of-law construction, and then offers a brief account of the past 40 years of China from the perspective of the rule of law. Despite the remarkable achievements that have been made towards the rule of law, China still faces many problems, especially as regards reining in arbitrary power. Four deep structural causes of law’s partial failure in China are then analysed, which include: “The habit of ruling by means of war-like and populist campaigns”; “The Party’s legal status and its efficacy”; “The conflict of officials’ recognitions”; “Toothless laws and the ascendancy of democracy”. Ultimately I conclude that democratic constitutional reforms and the rule of law construction are inseparable.
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