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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Revolutionary continuity in China: temporary dislocations or terminal hemorrhaging? : Exposing recent legal reforms as ideological conformity MacMull, Joel Geoffrey


Over the past two and half decades, much has been written about China's ongoing economic reforms. It is now widely accepted that China's current economic course has displaced Marxist-Leninist-Mao Zedong-Thought and, in the process, has served to undermine the ideological legitimacy of the regime. As a result, many commentators have spoken of the inevitable collapse of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) authoritarian hold of the country. However, far fewer questions have been asked about the degree to which the CCP may maintain control of the country by utilizing a byproduct of its economic exuberance, namely, law. Since the end of the Maoist era law has become a ubiquitous force in Chinese society, growing as both a condition precedent to and as a consequence of various development policies. This thesis examines the modern interplay of ideology and law in China in the context of international expectations, and the resulting challenges to the regime's legitimacy that arise directly from these tensions. By examining the manner in which the CCP is using law as a vehicle to entrench its long-term sustainability, this thesis attempts to explain how China's continued revolutionary trajectory is being pursued. I hold that paying attention to current developments and interpretations of law in China can have salutary benefits for other Sinologists whose perspectives stand outside of the legal realm.

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