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Rule of Law Reform and the Rise of Rule by Fear in China


Allard Hall, Room 122
Light lunch will be served. Please RSVP to [email protected]

For a long time, the revival of law and legal institutions in China was expected to enable transition to a more open, fair and rights-respecting system; but recent years have called the paradigmatic belief in China’s liberal transition into question. In this talk I argue that the use of fear as a spectre and as a tool is central to the power-centred, anti-liberal and anti-rationalist re-conception of law in the Xi Jinping era, and discuss the new challenges this poses to a global community more widely struggling with democratic-liberal decline and authoritarian resurgence.

Eva Pils is Reader in Transnational Law at The Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London, where she teaches human rights, public law, and law and society in China. She studied law, philosophy and sinology in Heidelberg, London and Beijing and holds a PhD in law from University College London. Her scholarship focuses on human rights, authoritarianism, and law in China. She has written on these topics in both academic publications and the popular press. She is author of China’s human rights lawyers: advocacy and resistance (Routledge, 2014) and of Human rights in China: a social practice in the shadows of authoritarianism (Polity, forthcoming, 2017). Before joining King’s, Eva was an associate professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law. She is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the US-Asia Law Institute of New York University Law School, an external member of the Chinese University of Hong Kong Centre for Social Innovation Studies, an external fellow of the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and a legal action committee member of the Global Legal Action Network. In April 2017, she was a Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia Law School.

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