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He Weifang, In the Name of Justice: Striving for th

He Weifang, In the Name of Justice: Striving for the Rule of Law in China.

Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2012. 269p. $34.95.

Reviewed by Roy L. Sturgeon

贺卫方按这是杜兰大学法学院图书馆馆员Roy L. Sturgeon为拙著《因正义之名:在中国推进法治》写的一篇图书简评,发表于《法律图书馆学刊》2013年(105卷)第4期。为方便读者,我作了节译。

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【节译】在过去18年的绝大多数时间里,贺卫方执教于享有盛誉的北京大学。他的专业领域是中外法律史以及中国司法制度。他是校园里很受欢迎的教授,获得过法学院和学校的多次教学奖。此外,他还在欧洲、日本以及美国等地做访问学者,发表演讲。2012年岁末,他还在华盛顿特区就中国的司法独立发言,他的讲话是布鲁金斯学会有关中国法治的研讨会的一部分。美国联邦最高法院大法官布雷耶,美国前驻华大使和共和党总统候选人洪博培,年过八旬的纽约大学教授、老资格的中国法专家柯恩以及来自哈佛、耶鲁的法学教授们出席了这次研讨会。这次活动的缘由正是贺卫方新书的出版,这本名为《因正义之名:在中国推动法治》的书是贺卫方的第一本英语著作。

 

至少已经有六本英文著作在进入新世纪的这十多年里出版。贺卫方的这一本的特别之处,部分地在于作者正生活在这个世界上最大的威权国家之中,受到其中的种种羁绊。与大多数他的同行不一样——却与中国最优秀的本土传统相符合——他通过对不公正的政府政策与官员的批评检测着那里的法治程度……

《因正义之名》一书收入了11篇文章,其中包括作者的学术论文、媒体访谈、公开信以及演讲稿,时间跨度从2001到2011年。大多数是专门为本书从中文翻译为英文。本书是布鲁金斯学会学会出版的“桑顿中心中国思想家系列丛书”的第三种。文集中涉及内容包括司法独立、公元前4世纪儒家学派哲学家孟子、比较宪政、法律教育、言论自由以及死刑等。很有特色的是,序言用了作者2011年致西南都市重庆法律界的一封公开信,此信对于在极具争议的政治家薄熙来治下的重庆司法独立与法治面临的危险提出了告诫。这封信向中国之外的人们解释了他和他的国人所进行的抗争,在一个有宪法而无宪政的迅速发展的国度里人们的生活状态,以及法治无从扎根带来的困境。这也为整本书定下了基调,展现他能够成为或许是中国最具影响力和魅力的法学教授的原因。

 

除了作者的文章,本书还有布鲁金斯学会桑顿和李成两位分别撰写的序言和导论,它们对于读者了解作者以及本书缘起很有裨益。书末有30页的注释,作者1984-2010年间出版物篇名目录(中文原文、拼音和英译对照)有5页,还有12页的索引。我发现作者博学却不学究气,严肃但不乏幽默。《因正义之名》文风迷人,启人深思,值得向所有收藏有关中国书籍的法律图书馆郑重推荐。

【英文原文】 

For most of the last eighteen years, He Weifang has taught law at Beijing’s prestigious Peking University. His specialties are legal history, both Chinese and foreign, and China’s judicial system. He is a popular professor on campus, having won several law school and university teaching awards. Also, he has been a visiting scholar and given public talks in Europe, Japan, and the United States. Late last year he spoke in Washington, D.C., about judicial independence in China. His talk was part of a Brookings Institution event on the Chinese rule of law, which included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, former U.S. Ambassador to China and Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, octogenarian New York University law professor and doyen of American China law scholars Jerome Cohen, and law professors from Harvard and Yale.1 The event coincided with the launch of He’s first English-language book, In the Name of Justice: Striving for the Rule of Law in China.

 

At least six other English-language books on the Chinese rule of law have been published so far this young century.2 He’s is special partly because he lives in the world’s largest authoritarian state and is subject to its whims. Unlike most of his colleagues, but in accord with China’s best indigenous traditions, he tests the rule of law there by publicly criticizing unjust government policies and officials. Sometimes success follows, as it did in 2003 when he and five other Beijing legal scholars petitioned the government to end two decades of legal discrimination against rural migrants to China’s booming cities. Other attempts were not as successful; in 2008 He and 302 concerned citizens signed Charter 08, a manifesto calling for democracy, legal reforms, and protection of human rights in China. The government effectively banished him to remote Xinjiang in western China to teach for two years at an obscure school. Considering that the Chinese government often harasses, detains (legally and illegally), tortures, imprisons, disappears, and exiles citizen-critics as well as their families, his outspokenness is extraordinary. He is not just an ¡°ivory tower¡± scholar, but a public intellectual who promotes basic judicial concepts. Domestically, his approach is called the °He Weifang” phenomenon. Internationally, he is ranked as one of the world’s best minds.3

 

In the Name of Justice consists of eleven chapters. They are a representative mix of academic writings, media interviews, open letters, and public speeches spanning 2001 to 2011. Most were translated from Chinese into English especially for this volume, the third in the Thornton Center Chinese Thinkers Series by the Brookings Institution. The topics include judicial independence, the fourth-century B.C.E. Confucian philosopher Mencius, comparative constitutionalism, legal education, free speech, and capital punishment. The prologue features He’s 2011 open letter to legal professionals in the southwestern megalopolis Chongqing, warning about the dangers to judicial independence and the rule of law when the controversial politician Bo Xilai was in charge. The letter shows non-Chinese what he and fellow Chinese are up against, what it is like to live in a rapidly developing country with a constitution but no constitutionalism, and what is at stake if the rule of law fails to take root there. It also sets the tone for the rest of his book, showing what has made him perhaps the most influential and admired law professor in China.

 

In addition to He’s pieces, In the Name of Justice has helpful front matter by John L. Thornton and Cheng Li, both of Brookings, introducing readers to He and explaining the reasons for such a volume. The book ends with thirty pages of notes, a five-page bibliography (in simplified Chinese characters, pinyin romanization, and English translation) of his writings from 1984 to 2010, and a twelve-page index. This reviewer found the book learned but not pedantic, serious, and occasionally humorous. In the Name of Justice is a fascinating, inspiring read and highly recommended for law libraries that collect books on China.

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Roy L. Sturgeon, 2013. Foreign, Comparative, & International Law/Reference Librarian, Tulane University Law School Library, New Orleans, Louisiana.

589-51 LAW LIBRARY JOURNAL Vol. 105:4 [2013-29]

1 Rule of Law in China, C-SPAN Video Library (Nov. 28, 2012), http://www.c-spanvideo.org/event/211410.

2 China’s Journey Toward the Rule of Law (Cai Dingjian & Wang Chenguang eds., 2010); Debating Political Reform in China: Rule of Law vs. Democratization (Suisheng Zhao ed., 2006); Yu Keping, Democracy and the Rule of Law in China (2010); Zou Keyuan, China¡¯s Legal Reform: Towards the Rule of Law (2006); The Limits of the Rule of Law in China (Karen G. Turner et al. eds., 2000); Randall Peerenboom, China’s Long March Toward Rule of Law (2002).

3 100 Top Global Thinkers, Foreign Pol’y, Dec. 2011, at 34, 57 (He Weifang tied for number 19).

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