FECUND 热风 Julie Curates China

Julie curates China热风

Julie Curates China appears every Wednesday in Hoje Macau

Chinoiserie

此照片获中国新闻摄影奖

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“This patch of land belonged to my family during the Qing Dynasty. It was our family property during the republic time. It was still ours after the Little (Japanese) Devils came here! How come that our land suddenly became yours when you (communists) took over? I simply can’t follow your logics!”

In the wake of forced demolition and home rearrangement all over China, an old stubborn man has taken legal action against the local government three times. He won. The old man did not appoint a lawyer, but instead he decided to defend himself in the court. The picture shows the old man who walked to the front to face the jury and deliver his fiery speech. He wore rubber boots covered in mud. The photo received Photojournalism Award of the year (2015).

With its ample resonance both within China and internationally, the ‘rule of law’ (依法治国yifa zhiguo) is an expression that can justify the most disparate justice reforms. It is both a political value worth defending and a reason for consternation; it is an ideal that is inherently troubling and troubled by its interlocutors, advocates, and critics. For this reason, even the term ‘yifa zhiguo’ has been translated differently by different interlocutors, with ‘rule of law’, ‘rule by law’ and ‘ruling the country according to the law’ being the most frequent renderings in the English language.

While the rule of law has become a key component of the Chinese legal-political vocabulary since the onset of the reform period, under Xi Jinping’s leadership it appears to have increased in importance. Since Xi took the helm in 2012, he has chosen to adopt exactly this expression to shape his policy and justice agendas. But the authoritarian way in which the concept has been used thus far has, in many quarters, produced a palpable sense of surprise and dismay over the future of the Chinese legal system.

A number of basic elements of Xi’s ‘yifa zhiguo’ push may, in the future, become very helpful in improving greater transparency and accountability. But the concept of ‘yifa zhiguo’ will not promote an overall improvement in the relationship between the Party-state and society (or more precisely between the Party and ‘the people’). This is because the very purpose of ‘yifa zhiguo’ is to promote the idea that the law is a manifestation of the people’s will and interests, and that the Party exists in order to protect the people’s interests. Under the ‘yifa zhiguo’ ideology, the people cannot enjoy any rights and interests outside the leadership of the Party whose role it is to develop and protect (Party-initiated) rights and interests.

 

julie 超辣

Determined dreamer. Published author in English, Dutch, and Chinese. Former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) captain turned artist entrepreneur and screenwriter. She survived the Cultural Revolution as a baby. In the 1990’s she left for London and has lived and worked in free exile ever since. Her work covers a wide spectrum. As journalist, she creates content covering a range of topics on contemporary China from an insider perspective. In 2008, during the Beijing Olympics, she hosted a 5-episode talk show TV China for Netherlands’ national broadcaster and discussed China’s media landscape with media stars and experts from both China and the Netherlands. From 2013-2016 she was the Editor-in-Chief of the English/Chinese bilingual magazine XiN 新, focusing on today’s China shaped by consumerism. O’yang contributes a weekly column to Hoje Macau on contemporary Chinese art and culture. Her English language book titles include: Butterfly, a historical crime love story set in the Second World War. Since May 2016 O'yang has been collaborating with Flemish photographer Filip Naudts on an art project, which has resulted in the photo novel The Picture of Dorya Glenn. Julie works from the Netherlands and Denmark.

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