China Eliminates “Western Misconceptions” From Legal Education

BEIJING (AP) — China has mandated stricter compliance with the dictates of the ruling Communist Party and leader Xi Jinping in legal education, demanding that schools “oppose and resist Western fallacies” such as constitutional government, separation of powers and judicial independence.

The order was dated Sunday, a week before China’s ceremonial parliament begins its annual session, and reaffirms the leading role in the ideology assumed by Xi, who is named no fewer than 25 times in the document. Already China’s most powerful leader in decades, Xi was granted a third five-year term as party leader last year and the presidency’s term limits were lifted, allowing him to rule for virtually life.

Similar guidelines have been issued in the past, encouraging students to report on professors who speak favorably of Western concepts of governance.

Despite the intertwining of China’s and the global economy, Xi has sought to remove liberal Western concepts from the education system and has mandated that foreign religions be “sinicized” to operate in China. He has also attempted, with limited success, to restructure popular culture in more conservative directions, even going so far as to ban “feminine” men from state broadcasters.

The legal profession was a particular target, and in the early hours of July 9, 2015, three years after Xi’s first term as party general secretary, a nationwide series of raids led to the arrest of about 300 human rights lawyers and activists close to them. Under such unrelenting pressure, activist advocates were intimidated and silenced, effectively preventing the emergence of dissenting voices and public intellectuals independent of the party.

Such approaches are consistent with Xi’s more vigorous foreign policy aimed at challenging and potentially replacing the American-led international order that champions multiparty democracy, civil society and human rights.

The executive committee’s directive states that law teachers, students and legal theorists must be guided to “take a clear position and take a firm stance in the face of fundamental issues and important questions of right and wrong.” The General Office circulates information within the 96 million-member party, including drafting policies and memos.

In a section entitled “Holding the Right Political Direction,” the directive states that teachers and students “must comprehensively implement the Party’s educational policy, insist on educating people for the Party and the country, and focus on it , to train builders and successors of the cause of the party socialist constitutional state”.

“Resist and resist Western errors such as ‘rule of law government’, ‘separation of the three powers’ and ‘independence of the judiciary,’ it says.

While China’s constitution pays lip service to ideas such as freedom of expression and worship, it puts the interests of the party above all else. Previous attempts to promote even grass-roots democracy at the village level have stalled given the party’s overwhelming power and the authorities’ willingness to use force and coercion to achieve desired results.

Except for a tiny and beleaguered dissident community, the Chinese public was largely willing to accept total party control in exchange for a steady improvement in the quality of life. However, that agreement has at times been called into question amid a sharply slowing economy, a crisis in local government finances and stubborn enforcement of COVID-19 containment measures, which have sparked rare public protests.

Criticism of party and government policies is much more alive online, despite censorship and threats of punishment for those who create and disseminate them.

The annual session of the National People’s Congress, made up of 2,977 hand-picked members, will open on Sunday with an annual report on government work, presented by outgoing Premier Li Keqiang.

The chairman of the body is also to publish a report that in recent years has also contained commitments to renounce Western political governments such as separation of powers and an independent judiciary. China Eliminates “Western Misconceptions” From Legal Education

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