By tracing the historical development of the relation between the Chinese Communist Party and China’s courts, this article finds that in order to subjugate the state as a whole to its superior power, the Party has confined judicial power to a ranking order which it has determined and administered. It follows that courts can compel compliance with the law by non-state actors or state actors of lower rank but not by state actors of equal or higher rank than theirs. These arrangements are essential for the Party to maintain its control over judicial affairs of political significance without preempting the capacity of courts to regulate social and economic activities of low or no immediate interests to the Party. Such arrangements also contribute to both the authoritarian and paternalistic roles that the Party has assumed in its relation with courts, which explains the puzzling nearly schizophrenic character that courts have displayed in the course of their activities.
To access, click here. Forthcoming in the American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 64 (1), 2016