Washington International Law Journal


In the last two decades, China organized political campaigns to fight corruption. Such campaigns led to an increased prosecution of high-profile cases involving high-level officials. Perceived corruption in China, however, has not decreased as a result, because the campaigns failed to address widespread lower-level incidents. China's political campaigns against corruption—the politico-legal campaigns—are an example of the use of political methods to enhance the legal system. China has organized several politico-legal campaigns to promote public awareness of legal issues and combat crimes, including illegal drug trade, copyright infringements, and environmental violations. The Chinese politico-legal campaigns show that China needs its effective laws to support government policies. A comparative analysis shows that there is a similar need for effective laws in the United States, especially in times of crises. Such effective laws usually come at the cost of sacrificing the formal-rational legal limits on governmental actions. Now that China is trying to establish the rule of law and the U.S. still faces crises related to drugs, crime, and terrorism, both countries face similar challenges in balancing their effective laws with the rule of law principle, and may learn from each other's experience.

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