Chapter

Challenging Authoritarianism through Law

Fu Hualing

in Liu Xiaobo, Charter 08, and the Challenges of Political Reform in China

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9789888139064
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9789882209732 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5790/hongkong/9789888139064.003.0010
Challenging Authoritarianism through Law

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This chapter provides a historical background discussion of the legal rights-based weiquan movement in China, traces the tension between the supply and demand of rights, and explains an institutional failure in meeting the increasing demand for rights and the social consequences of that failure. Armed with legal rights, citizens of different social and economic backgrounds have started to assert these and engage in a movement of rightful resistance. Gradually, law has become a rallying point for aggrieved people, and lawyers have become organizers of an emerging social movement. However, the brutal social changes and acute conflicts are often beyond the capacity of legal norms and institutions to grasp. As a result, the legal system has failed to serve as a governing tool for the Party-state and to provide remedies for citizens seeking justice — both are giving up on law and resorting to extralegal and illegal measures to settle the score.

Keywords: Charter 08; Liu Xiaobo; Human rights; China; Constititutionalism; Political reform; Weiquan

Chapter.  7457 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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