Depoliticization, Politicization, and Criminalization: How China Has Been Handling Political Prisoners since 1980s
- 104 Downloads
By exploring the CECC’s political prisoner database and employing three ARDL times series models and two OLS models, the paper finds that China’s party-state has been dealing with political cases through depoliticization, politicization, and criminalization within and without the judiciary. The author argues that these strategies employed by China’s party-state are a function of China’s modernization, domestic conflicts, and the urgency to sustain political stability. Unlike what happened in the Western history where depoliticization was usually followed with democratization, China’s depoliticization has been strategically utilized to justify the Party’s rule over China mainly through its judicial system. China’s politicization, as a fundamental political strategy, has been often applied to handle those political threats such as Falun Gong practitioners and political/civil rights fighters, who are unable to be publicly criminalized and trialed but can be penalized with covert judicial and/or extra-judicial means by the Chinese government.
KeywordsChina Political prisoners Depoliticization Politicization Criminalization
I would like to thank Dr. Martin Dimitrov who encouraged me to continue this study while I was studying at Tulane University. I am also very grateful for Dr. Aie-Rie Lee’s comments when I presented this study at 2016 Southwestern Social Science Association Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. I really appreciate three anonymous reviewers who provided valuable suggestions to improve this paper. Special thanks to Dr. Dennis Patterson who supports me to do China studies in comparative politics. All errors are mine.
- 1.Hay, Colin. 2007. Why we hate politics. Polity.Google Scholar
- 2.Zajak, Sabrina. 2017. Transnational activism, global labor governance, and China. Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- 3.Lee, Grace. 2003. The political philosophy of Juche. Stanford Journal of East Asian Affairs 3 (1): 105–112.Google Scholar
- 4.Lam, Willy. 2012. The Maoist revival and the conservative turn in Chinese politics. China Perspectives 2: 5.Google Scholar
- 5.Ellul, Jacques. 1979. Politicization and political solutions. In Kenneth S. Templeton, Jr. (Eds.). The Politicization of Society (pp.211–247). Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
- 8.Li, Xi, Xuewen Liu, and Yong Wang. 2015. A model of China's state capitalism. Available at: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2061521 .
- 10.Dimitrov, Martin K. 2013. Understanding communist collapse and resilience. In Why communism did not collapse: understanding authoritarian regime resilience in Asia and Europe, ed. Martin K. Dimitrov, 3–39. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- 11.Deng, Xiaoping. 1993. Selected works of Deng Xiaoping (volume 3). Beijing: People’s Publishing House.Google Scholar
- 15.Feng, Chongyi. 2012. Universal truth versus Chinese Exceptionalism: An ideological dilemma. Journal of East-West Thought 2 (3): 87–94.Google Scholar
- 16.Wen, Jiabao. 2007. 温家宝:关于社会主义初级阶段的历史任务和我国对外政策的几个问题 (Some Issues with regard to the historical tasks during the initial stage of socialism and foreign policies of our country). Available at: http://cpc.people.com.cn/GB/64093/64094/5418168.html.
- 18.Deng, Xiaoping. 1994. Selected works of Deng Xiaoping (volume 2). Beijing: People’s Publishing House.Google Scholar
- 19.Liu, Di. 2003. 虚拟现实主义方案:上街宣传共产主义 (A Visualized Realistic Plan: Advocating Communism in the Street). Available at: http://archives.cnd.org/HXWK/author/BUXIUGANG-Laoshu/kd030124-9.gb.html.
- 21.Hou, Qiang. 2013. China Focus: Bo Xilai sentenced to life in prison for bribery, embezzlement, power abuse. Xinhua News Agency, September 22.Google Scholar
- 22.Chen, Minglu., and David.S.G. Goodman. 2013. Introduction: Middle class China – Discourse, structure and practice. In Middle Class China: Identity and Behavior, ed. Chen Minglu and S.G. Goodman David, 1–11. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Google Scholar
- 23.Lee, Bear. 2015. Zhou Yongkang, Bo Xilai wanted to do “something big”: report. Focus Taiwan, January 14. Available at: http://focustaiwan.tw/news/acs/201501140032.aspx.
- 25.Fu, Hualing. 2013. Politicized Challenges, Depoliticized Responses: Political Monitoring In China’s Transitions. In Surveillance, Counter-Terrorism and Comparative Constitutionalism, ed. Davis Fergal, Nicola McGarrity, and George Williams, 296–312. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- 27.Lam, Willy. 2009. The politicisation of China's law-enforcement and judicial apparatus. China Perspectives 2: 42–51.Google Scholar
- 29.Amnesty International. 2013. Changing the Soup but not the Medicine? Available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa17/042/2013/en/.
- 31.Lu, Sunny, and Viviana Galli. 2002. Psychiatric abuse of Falun gong practitioners in China. Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law Online 30 (1): 126–130.Google Scholar
- 32.Munro, Robin. 2000. Judicial psychiatry in China and its political abuses. Columbia Journal of Asian Law 14: 1.Google Scholar
- 33.Richardson, Thomas. 2009. Conceptual and methodological challenges in examining the relationship between mental illness and violent behaviour and crime. Internet Journal of Criminology 4 (2): 09.Google Scholar
- 36.Hung, Ho-fung. 2015. The China boom: Why China will not rule the world. In Columbia University press.Google Scholar
- 38.He, Qinglian. 2103. 江泽民的政治遗产:政治问题非政治化处理 (Jiang Zemin’s Legacy: solving political problems through apolitical means). Available at: http://heqinglian.net/2013/09/04/jiangzemin-politics/
- 40.Lu, Chen. 2015. Secret Trials Held Against Persecuted in China. available at: https://www.theepochtimes.com/secret-trials-held-against-persecuted-in-china_1195611.html.
- 41.Hu, Jingtao. 2002. 胡锦涛在纪念宪法施行二十周年大会上的讲话 (Hu Jingtao’s Speech on Celebrating the 20 th Anniversary of Implementing the Constitution). Available at: http://www.chinanews.com/2002-12-04/26/250121.html.
- 42.Jiang, Zemin. 2006. Selected works of Jiang Zemin. Vol. 2. Beijing: Publishing House.Google Scholar
- 43.Chen, H.H., M.R. Phillips, H. Cheng, Q.Q. Chen, X.D. Chen, D. Fralick, Y.E. Zhang, M. Liu, J. Huang, and M. Bueber. 2102. Mental health law of the People's Republic of China (English translation with annotations). Shanghai Archives of Psychiatry 24 (6): 305–321.Google Scholar
- 44.Canaves, Sky. 2009. A Professor’s Comments on Mental Illness Draw Ire in China, Available at: https://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2009/04/03/a-professors-comments-on-mental-illness-draw-ire-in-china/.
- 46.Chan, Tara Francis. 2018. China is secretly imprisoning close to 1 million people — but they've left 2 big pieces of evidence behind. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-many-people-are-imprisoned-in-xinjiang-china-government-documents-2018-5?amp%3Butm_medium=referral.
- 47.PTS. n.d. Documentation: Coding Rules. Available at: http://www.politicalterrorscale.org/Data/Documentation.html.