In the News


Stanley Lubman in the news:



In sharp words from Xi, ominous implications for China’s legal reforms

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2015

The most recent message is chillingly clear: The grasp of the Party will not be loosened, and as a result, changes needed for deep reform of China’s legal system will remain out of reach.


Why scrapping quotas in China’s criminal justice system won’t be easy

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, January 30, 2015

It remains to be seen whether the work of judicial reform can increase the relative independence of the courts by reducing the influence of local government and party organizations over them without being regarded as a threat to party dominance.


A new ray of hope in China’s fight against pollution: lawsuits

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2015

If the authorities use the new legislation to genuinely punish polluters and officials who conspire with them in the battle for China’s environment, citizens may be encouraged to support the use of law and courts to combat not only pollution, but other social ills as well.


What it will take for China’s anticorruption drive to succeed

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2014

If China’s leadership is genuine about wanting to clean up the party, it should explore the possibility of moving the power to investigate and adjudicate cases of corruption from the party’s internal disciplinary body to the same prosecutors who handle criminal wrongdoing by non-party members, or to a new government agency.


China’s corruption fight inseparable from economic reform

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2014

The campaign is intended to increase discipline within the party as well as to target corruption. Recent media reports suggest, however, that the anticorruption campaign is hampered by both bureaucratic resistance and the limited effectiveness in general of political campaigns in today’s China.


As China cracks down on dissidents, it also promises legal reform

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, November 28, 2014

There is no doubt that legal reform in China will be carried out under the control and leadership of the Communist Party—while the repressive crackdown on speech and conduct threatening party rule continues.


Key points in China’s flood of legal reform rhetoric

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2014

Both reports strongly reaffirmed the party’s control over law and legal institutions while alluding to pilot programs and reform plans intended to translate the leadership’s vague commitment to “governing the country according to law” into practice.


To stamp out pollution and corruption, China could start with legal reform

Stanley Lubman writes for Wall Street Journal Online, October 8, 2014

The campaigns against pollution and corruption should be clearly linked whenever possible to the current emphasis on raising the influence of the judicial system. The reverse holds true as well: improving legal enforcement would add weight and credibility to the drives against corruption and pollution.


Why Maoist show trials in China aren’t going away any time soon

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, China Real Time, September 10, 2014

The importance to the leadership of both the campaign against corruption and the crackdown on dissent strongly suggests that whatever measures are planned to carry out legal reform, the use of public confessions and “open trials” like that of Bo Xilai’s are likely to continue.


Arrested, detained: A guide to navigating China’s police powers

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2014

Headlines about China are filled with reports of Chinese citizens—some well-known, some less so—who have been detained, arrested or indicted…. The array of terms used to describe the different powers and tactics available to the Chinese police is enough to make both readers and journalists struggle.


A key move to protect courts in China

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, July 30, 2014

Local protectionism is a systemic defect in China’s governance that has been difficult to control because it exists from the provincial level on down. It is so pervasive that it is not possible to know how provincial officials will respond to the reform, or whether they will encourage, or impede, lower-level reforms.


‘Picking quarrels’ casts shadow over Chinese law

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, China Real Time blog, June 30, 2014

On top of prosecutions for vaguely defined crimes such as “picking quarrels,” the rules for journalists and lawyers restrict public expression of views by the two groups who should be most involved in interpreting party-state policies and actions. Ordinary citizens who might contemplate taking their grievances to the streets can’t discern a “line” other than one that suggests that they should keep their dissatisfactions to themselves.


Labor pains: A rising threat to stability in China

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, Real Time Blog, June 10, 2014

The agencies of the party-state are always watching for stirrings of unrest. If they detect growing strength — especially if it reflects increasing links among labor unions, NGOs and social media — there will be efforts to suppress it.  Moreover, concern about worker unrest cannot be separated from the party’s unrelenting focus on stability.


The deadly tent fire that China doesn’t want people to talk about

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, May 14, 2014

A grisly crime arising out of a clash over land rights in eastern China’s Shandong is the latest illustration of a critical disconnect among farmers, local village authorities and the central government, which has pledged land reforms that have not yet been enacted.


Why China can’t clean up corruption

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, China Real Time blog April 9, 2014

China’s current campaign against corruption, which has targeted very high-level officials, demonstrates both the extent of the corruption in China and the Party-state’s failure to prevent its spread. The Party has tough choices ahead: It clearly recognizes the danger corruption poses to its own mandate to rule, but meaningful reform would weaken the very power that the Party seeks to strengthen.


Wukan: New election, same old story

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, March 27, 2014

The Chinese Communist Party is reasserting control, stifling local protests and handing out money to the village in the interest of “stability maintenance.” The villagers, meanwhile, are disillusioned by their failure to regain most of the land that the former village government illegally seized. Since the 2012 election, there has been no progress on the land claims, and hopes that “democracy” might change the situation have faded.


An encouraging sign for (limited) legal reform

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, February 25, 2014
China’s new leadership has signaled that fundamental changes to the country’s legal system are not on the table. But a brief document, largely ignored in the English-speaking world until recently, suggests high-level support for limited, but important, reforms.


China’s rubble-strewn path to land reform

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, February 7, 2014
The need for real reform of rural land law, not just promises from the central government, is illustrated by the highly publicized case of Wukan, a fishing village in Guangdong Province that had once fueled hope for change but which now languishes as an example of the intractable difficulties faced by China’s farmers in defending their rights.


Anxiety trumps law in Party’s crackdown on activists

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, February 4, 2014
There is an ironic twist in the fact that Xu and President Xi Jinping have both been campaigning against the same problem in Chinese society: the pervasiveness of official corruption.  But while Xi has focused on the lifestyles of officials, Xu has sought to go deeper by insisting that officials be required to disclose the sources of their wealth.


Riding the tiger: China’s struggle with rule of law

Stanley Lubman writes for the Wall Street Journal China Real Time blog, December 18, 2013

Although relative freedom has become possible in the growing private sector of the economy, the Party’s version of the rule of law continues to control legal institutions. Meanwhile, public discontent has grown, fed by widening economic inequality, widespread corruption, official arbitrariness, land theft by local governments, looseness of Party discipline, the rise of privileged elites and a persistent lack of protection for private rights.