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The Economist – September 30th

CHINA

Legal system

The common people have been recently clashing with state agents frequently in courts. Many human
rights activists and lawyers have been harassed and placed under tighter surveillance. Xi Jin Ping’s anti-
corruption campaign never focused criminal law, despite 99% of its verdicts being guilty – judicial
independence being a false Western ideal.

Although in political matters, the party shaped the law (according to Mr. Xi’s stance), in economic affairs
the justice system has undergone several reforms and modernizations to make it fairer. E.g. holding
government officials accountable in certain cases. Administrative litigation doubled this year, regarding
land, housing, pension benefits, traffic tickets etc. This had become normal. In commercial law, disputes
regarding IP have boomed, benefiting foreign firms receiving awards from trademarks. Antitrust laws
are being enacted as well, since the court ruled against the government for the first time.

China is raising legal awareness by hiring legal advisors and in-house counsel with sound opinions in
disputes and political matters. Before, courts could reject these lawsuits against the government, but
since 2015 they are required to hear your case as long as you’re sane. Proceedings have also become
more transparent. Any juvenile case involving state secrets are not so open.

The aim is to reinforce the party’s grip by locking up dissidents and simultaneously becoming fairer in
commercial laws. By allowing citizens to challenge the government without protesting or riots social
stability is reached. However, no one challenges the government in political cases – too risky.

Students with guns

University students have to go through military drills, since training is compulsory for freshmen. Seniors
and juniors in high school also take this course of 2-3 weeks. The government, in the guise of imbuing
patriotic enthusiasm, has tried to prevent student-led protests by introducing military discipline.

Many students are forced to train at grim camps with humiliating communal baths. Weapons training is
meagre, while students chant choruses of revolutionary songs.

People supporting this policy argue to toughen up the lives of spoiled brats, to show them how ruthless
the real world is, boot camps are perfect. People against complain about the parents’ anxiety regarding
the child’s well-being and the child’s dissatisfaction regarding the training. The army may complain that
courses are becoming cushier, but with bullying and brawls breaking it out here and there, life has
become hard for teenagers.

Occasionally some students form long lasting friendships with their comrades. However, the
government’s true purpose is always to keep the Communist Party in power, and by tightening
ideological control on campuses to reduce the spread of liberal values, the Chinese army are doing a
wonderful job.