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In: China Law and Society Review
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Abstract

The social credit system (scs) has become a cornerstone of China’s drive toward informatization in pursuit of its governance goals. Its definition and scope, two decades in the making, have evolved dramatically over time, however. What began as a financial tool for the stimulation of market-based activity has been applied in a broader regulatory context as well as in the propagation of a state-arbitered moral-legal agenda. Layered on top of these sometimes conflicting ambitions has been a persistent tension in central-local implementation, further complicating rollout of the system. Domestic criticism of the scs in policy and academic circles has led to a clamor for reform, culminating in the publication of a number of clarificatory documents, including a draft version of a Social Credit Law in November 2022. This article provides a genealogy of this new law, exploring the origins and evolution of the scs and its governing legal logic.

Open Access
In: China Law and Society Review
Author:

Abstract

Cybersecurity has become a key regulatory area in China’s rapidly digitizing society, economy, and state. The leadership deems it critical in providing adequate security guarantees for the realization of the ambitious “informatization” policy, symbolized by the passing of the Cybersecurity Law in 2016. Cybersecurity has also become integrated with overall national security, at a time when Chinese policy has become increasingly securitized. What, then, does this mean in practice? How do authorities conceive of cybersecurity and attempt to retrofit regulatory frameworks into an already well-established digital environment. This paper reviews the various components of the cybersecurity regime established by the Cybersecurity Law. It discusses how external circumstances have facilitated or obstructed the advance of regulation and implementation and demonstrates how cybersecurity is embedded in the broader processes of reform led by the Chinese Communist Party.

Open Access
In: China Law and Society Review

Abstract

The belief in quantitative indicators based on standardized data as an effective tool has become more entrenched than ever before, in both public and corporate governance, because of a drive to achieve more efficiency and accountability. The power of automated computation systems and the ubiquitous availability of big data have magnified the potential and capacities for quantification. The People’s Republic of China (prc) has enthusiastically embraced these advanced technologies. The rapid digitization and automation of social governance in China, called “smart governance,” entail new approaches to social and political control, driven by innovations in algorithmic systems, big data analytics, and artificial intelligence. This article seeks to reveal the ideological foundations of the prc’s push for the digitization and automation of social governance. Drawing on international scholarship on Chinese Marxism and Leninism, it argues that the positivist organizational and ideological principles of Marxism-Leninism help explain why technology and automation are embraced so enthusiastically by the Chinese party-state: they provide a way to achieve the dream of rational Marxist governance. Through an empirical analysis of 120 articles from 2014 to 2021, this article illustrates that these ideas are, or may be, a vital part of shaping academic discourse around smart governance in China today. An analysis of Chinese academic discourse is an essential part of understanding the ideological foundations of Chinese Communist Party (ccp) governance and statecraft and how these commitments shape the embrace and deployment of smart technologies. The way in which scholars discuss the transformative power of smart technologies demonstrates a similar ideological understanding of social governance.

Open Access
In: China Law and Society Review

Abstract

While much has been written about the impact (or not) of Western intervention in the latter stages of the Taiping Rebellion (1851–1866), comparatively little attention has heretofore been directed towards the impact of the riverine campaigns and the combined land-river operations whereby the Qing steadily reduced the scope of Taiping control and tightened the cordon around their heavenly capital at Nanjing. Strategists such as Hu Linyi and Zuo Zongtang recognized the importance of riverine warfare and sought to build a Qing flotilla capable of meeting its military needs. Furthermore, the experience gained in riverine operations against the Taipings would later be applied in Zuo Zongtang’s campaigns in northwest China and Central Asia to great effect. Using Zuo’s personal accounts, contemporary newspaper reports, and other primary sources, this article highlights significance of rivers and riverine operations for the extension and maintenance of empire in late Qing China.

In: Journal of Chinese Military History

Abstract

In the less developed regions of China, except for cross-regional transfers to achieve horizontal poverty alleviation, which can increase peasants’ income to a certain extent in the short term, government-led rural residential land transfer does not significantly increase peasants’ income and may even reduce it. In developed regions, because peasants do not primarily depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, and because local governments have relatively ample financial resources to provide adequate compensation for rural residential land transfer, government-led rural residential land transfer can indeed raise the income of the poor to a certain extent. Essentially, the income from the transfer of rural residential land depends on the unit price and the area of rural residential land available for transfer, which should be used as the basis for determining rural residential land policies in such a way as to protect the vital interests of the greatest number of peasants.

In: Rural China

Abstract

The “origin” narrative of left-wing rural literature, especially the “revolution” narrative, has by and large not received sufficient historical reflection and specific intertextual discussion. In the early left-wing rural novels composed from 1928 to 1932, what changes did the “revolution” bring about in rural society? How was the configuration of power reformulated? How did the revolutionaries image the ideal post-revolution society? The historical discussion of this complex process in the early left-wing rural novels is closely related to the historical facts of the rural areas, the subjective experiences of the peasants themselves, and the review of the writer’s narrative style. Revisiting this historical topic, we can see that the structural relationships contained in literary trends, such as the entanglement between literature and history, ideals and practices, truth and fiction, etc., last far longer than writers’ and readers’ imaginations. It may be the key to making the retelling of the rural “revolution” in the new century profound and far-reaching.

In: Rural China

Abstract

It was once believed that land rights in the Huaibei region were highly concentrated and that large ownership of land was extremely common. However, in recent years, more and more scholars have come to believe that there was no such tendency of serious land concentration in modern China. Republican-era statistics on land ownership in Huaibei are extremely rare. In contrast, the “Land and Real Estate Ownership Certificate Stubs” 土地房产所有证存根 collected by the Suixi County Archives in the early years of the People’s Republic provide detailed records on the land ownership distribution in this county. Using these materials, we calculate the Gini coefficient of land ownership distribution for each village. It turns out that most of the villages had a Gini coefficient lower than 0.35, which indicates only a moderate differentiation of land occupation. It shows that large landownership did not prevail in rural Suixi. Rather, it was a world of small-scale landowners.

In: Rural China
Free access
In: Rural China