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Building a Chinese Rechtsstaat

HONG KONG – A consensus is rapidly emerging within China that the rule of law is the single most important precondition for inclusive, sustainable, and long-term peace and prosperity. So it is worth considering how the rule of law differs from China’s current institutional arrangements.

The rule of law has been defined in a variety of ways, but most authorities agree on certain key characteristics. As Kenneth W. Dam of the University of Chicago formulates it in his book The Law-Growth Nexus, the rule of law excludes secret law and legal impunity, while protecting individuals from legal discrimination and enforcing rules that favor them to their benefit.