The Trial of Li Zhuang: Professionalism and Populism in China’s Legal Reform



Sida Liu, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Date and Time

October 4, 2012 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM October 03.


Philippines Conference Room

FSI Contact

China’s contemporary legal reform is characterized by the coexistence of two ideologies, professionalism and populism, in legal discourses and law practice. The conflicts between the two ideologies are best characterized in the trial of Li Zhuang during the anti-crime campaign in Chongqing in 2009-2011. In this case, the fate of an individual criminal defense lawyer was linked with the broadest legal policies and the highest-level political struggles in the Chinese state. By a scholarly analysis of the Li Zhuang case, this study demonstrates that, although populism remains an intimidating force in China’s legal practice, professionalism has gained the support from a wider range of legal professionals, state officials, and the public through the media and professional mobilization.

This is a SCP-CEAS co-sponsored event. 


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