Review of Mike McConville et al., Criminal Justice in China: An Empirical Inquiry
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In October 2011, China formally declared to the world that a socialist legal system with Chinese characteristics had been established (see State Council White Paper, Socialist Legal System with Chinese Characteristics, issued by the Information Office of the State Council on 27 October 2011, available http://news.xinhuanet.com/2011-10/27/c_111127507.htm (last accessed 27/10/11)). While it is, and will be for a long time, subject to debate what these ‘Chinese characteristics’ are in this socialist legal system, it is difficult to reject the claim that a legal system has indeed been established in China in terms of law-making and institutional building. In fact, progress and development in law-making and institutional building in post-Mao China have been remarkable, and certainly compatible with China’s phenomenonal economic growth.
However, having laws is one thing, having them properly implemented and enforced is another. Law makes sense and acquires its life only when it performs its...