This article reviews the development of three important themes in the Chinese Communist Party’s (ccp’s) description of the rule of law since China’s opening up and reform began in December 1978. It expands upon key Party documents that frame the meaning of the rule of law in ccp doctrine. It sets out the doctrine, identifies significant changes, and considers what they might mean for the Party’s present stance toward law and legal construction. It builds upon a broad literature that explores those documents and that doctrine, focusing on three connected points of tension in the Party’s articulation: the relationship between rule of law and rule by law, the relationship between the rule of law and Party leadership, and the relationship between the rule of law and Party discipline.

In: China Law and Society Review