滕彪文集
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·滕彪:维权、微博与围观:维权运动的线上与线下(下)
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·The Confessions of a Reactionary
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·A courageous Chinese lawyer urges his country to follow its own laws
·警方建议起诉许志永,意见书似“公民范本”
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·对《集会游行示威法》提起违宪审查的公开建议书
·滕彪访谈录:在“反动”的道路上越走越远
·因家暴杀夫被核准死刑 学界联名呼吁“刀下留人”
·川妇因反抗家暴面临死刑 各界紧急呼吁刀下留人
·Activist’s Death Questioned as U.N. Considers Chinese Rights Report
·Tales of an unjust justice
·打虎不是反腐
·What Is a “Legal Education Center” in China
·曹雅学:谁是许志永—— 与滕彪博士的访谈
·高层有人倒行逆施 民间却在不断成长
·让我们记住作恶的法官
·China’s growing human rights movement can claim many accomplishments
·總有一種花將會開遍中華大地/郭宏治
·不要忘记为争取​自由而失去自由的人们
·Testimony at CECC Hearing on China’s Crackdown on Rights Advocates
·Tiananmen at 25: China's next revolution may already be underway
·宗教自由普度共识
·"Purdue Consensus on Religious Freedom"
·Beijing urged to respect religious freedom amid ‘anti-church’ crackd
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·Speech during the June 4th Vigil in Victoria Park in Hong Kong
·坦克辗压下的中国
·呂秉權﹕滕彪赤子心「死諫」香港
·【林忌评论】大陆没民主 香港没普选?
·曾志豪:滕彪都站出來,你呢?
·June 2014: Remembering Tiananmen: The View from Hong Kong
·The Strength to Save Oneself
·讓北京知道 要甚麼樣的未來/苹果日报
·否認屠殺的言論自由?
·Beyond Stability Maintenance-From Surveillance to Elimination/Teng bia
·从稳控模式到扫荡模式
·為自由,免於恐懼越絕壑——記滕彪談中國維權路
·就律协点名维权律师“无照”执业 滕彪答德国之声记者问
·法官如何爱国?
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·郑州十君子公民声援团募款倡议书
·Politics of the Death Penalty in China
·What sustains Chinese truth-tellers
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·From Stability Maintenance to Wiping Out/Teng biao
·自由不是一個禮物,而是一個任務
·抱薪救火的严打政策
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China’s Empty Promise of Rule by Law


   A shorter version of the article appeared in Washington Post on December 28, 2014.
   http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/chinas-empty-promise-of-rule-by-law/2014/12/28/16dc04ec-8baf-11e4-a085-34e9b9f09a58_story.html
   
    Here is the full text.

    http://chinachange.org/2015/01/06/chinas-empty-promise-of-rule-by-law/
   
   I’m afraid that those of you who excitedly applauded the Communist Party’s rehashing of the term “governing the country according to the law” have forgotten the famous words of Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu, who once warned sternly, “Don’t use the law as a shield.” I don’t understand why some people only remember the pleasant words they speak and but forget their blatant opposition to universal values; why some people are always willing to believe what they say, but disregard all the things that they do. The Communists once boasted wildly about “liberty and constitutional democracy” before they violently seized political power and established a frightening totalitarian rule, but they have since opposed judicial independence, democratic elections, freedom of press and freedom of belief. They have not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and they refused to nationalize the military.
   
   It is not the first time they come out with the banner of “governing the country according to the law.” In 1997, “governing the country according to the law” was written into the Report Delivered at the 15th Congress of the Communist Party of China, in 1999 it was written into the Constitution. But it was in 1999 that they launched the savage oppression of the Falun Gong, with hundreds of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners illegally taken into custody and subjected to torture, with more than 3,700 people persecuted to death. Since Xi Jinping came to power, no fewer than 400 rights defenders and intellectuals have been thrown into prison for political reasons. Properties have been forcefully expropriated or demolished, free speech has been restricted, religion has been suppressed, women have been forced to have abortions, the judiciary has been fraught with scandals, and the incidence of torture has multiplied. These abuses have never stopped, but have grown in intensity. In Xinjiang and Tibet, the authorities have been perpetrating one shocking human right catastrophe after another.
   
   It turns out that the Chinese Communist Party’s “governing the country according to the law” is not the rule of law you and I understand. The essential element required for rule of law — using the law to limit the authority of the government–was exactly what the Communist Party opposes ideologically and in practice sternly guards against. The rule of law that they talk about in reality is “Lenin + Emperor Qin Shi Huang,” modern totalitarianism combined with the pre-modern Chinese “legalism,” which is nothing more than a tool to further control of society. Or in the Party’s own language, public security organs are the “knife hilt” of the Communist Party. In the “Resolution” of the Party’s recent Fourth Plenum, the term “Party’s leadership” appears at least 17 times. The rule of law is superimposed by the rule of the Party, and there is not a shred of doubt about this.
   
   In China, the legislative organs controlled by the Communist Party have promulgated volumes and volumes of statutes. The judicial organs, also controlled by the Party, are busy dealing with cases. The legal professions, including lawyers, have been developed. However, the question remains: Is the law at the center of the governing order? In the words of Professor Fu Hualing (傅華伶), in addition to China’s legal processes, there are a large number of extra-legal processes, such as re-education through labor, shuanggui (an extralegal system within the CCP for detaining and interrogating cadres), and media restrictions, and then there are the extra-extra laws, such as house arrest, black jails, etc., not to mention all the illegal methods of governance: secret police, chengguan (a para-police force that works with police across the country to help enforce minor city rules and regulations), illegal detentions, monitoring and spying on citizens, extra-judicial torture, forced disappearances, internet police, and gangs. Think about it. Without these tools, how long could the Communist Party continue to rule?
   
   Together with things such as the Three Represents and Harmonious Society, “governing the country according to the law” is Communist Party’s yet another attempt to address the crisis of legitimacy. These slogans have gone quite a way in reaching the Party’s goal of tricking people within China and the international community. However, legitimacy in contemporary politics can only come via the recognition given through free elections. But the Communist Party wants to cling to one-party rule, and it completely rejects general elections, even in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It’s not difficult to understand why that real rule of law would necessarily mean the end of the one-party system. This is the limitation on the legalization process that began in the late 1970s that cannot be overcome.
   
   I must admit that the term “governing the country according to the law” is different from other clichés in that it provides “rhetoric room” for citizens defending their rights “according to the law.” Over the past 10 years, I and other human rights defenders have consistently used existing laws to carry out our human rights work, and occasionally we’ve been able to achieve success in some legal cases. However, the limitations are obvious. The authorities have rejected any significant reform of the judicial system or democratization, and whenever they feel a threat from civil society, they suppress more and harsher. I myself have had my lawyer’s license revoked, have been expelled from my university, and have been kidnapped and disappeared several times. When the security police were torturing me, they shouted, “Don’t talk about any of this law stuff with us.”
   
   In enumerating progresses being made in China legal system, people pointed out the fallen number of death sentences, the new criminal procedure law, the abolishment of reeducation through labor, reform of the local court system, government’s willingness to provide information, and the ongoing anti-corruption campaign. To begin with, it is questionable whether or not most of the above are actually progresses in the legal system. Even if they are, the major driving force for these changes has been the people, each a result of the probing, pressure and paying price by rights lawyers, democracy activists, and the countless Chinese on the lower rungs of society.
   
   Xi Jinping once talked about locking up power in a cage, but this is not much different than a magician wrapping an iron chain around himself. In reality, what they would like to do, are doing and want to do, is to lock the people up in a cage. The APEC meeting that just concluded in Beijing has allowed people around the world to experience the power of “governing the country according to the law.” In Huairou, close to 9,000 homes were demolished, cars from outside the city were not allowed to enter Beijing, electric motor scooters were forbidden from being on the streets, stoves within a 5km circumference of the meeting center were prohibited, milk companies had to temporarily stop delivering milk, and express mail services were not allowed to deliver packages to Beijing. In Hebei, more than 2,000 companies were ordered to stop production, Tianjin cut off heating, street peddlers were driven away, a large number of human rights petitioners were detained, and even marriage registration offices of Beijing municipal government temporarily stopped operating, and crematoriums were ordered not to cremate the dead.
   
   From between the lines of Party documents, sycophants inside and outside China are able to imagine a “spring for rule of law” that doesn’t exist while ignoring human rights disasters suffered by Ilham Tohti, Xu Zhiyong, Cao Shunli, Gao Zhisheng, Uighurs, Tibetans, petitioners, Falun Gong adherents, and house churches. The kind of selective blindness has hindered Western readers and politicians from understanding the reality in today’s China. It’s no surprise that this type of seemingly even-handed wishful thinking has become the excuse for Western governments to adopt short-sighted policies of appeasement in dealing with autocratic regimes and for favoring trade over human rights.

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