Zettan

Dr. Jiing-Lih Larry Farh 1850 Northwest Boulevard, Hackensack, NJ 07601 856-733-1711

Concepts in Chinese Political Language: 1. Political Life (政治生活)

In February 1980, the Fifth Plenum of the Eleventh Congress of the CPC passed a document in twelve points, entitled Some Principles for Political Life Within the Party (here, in Chinese). This text never received much attention…at least in the West, despite its claims that it was “an important piece of Party legislation” regulating the political life of members of the CPC. While the temptation to read the Principles against the over-abused bios/Zoe dichotomy might be strong – and fashionable – in imperial China, matters

of state were not debated on the agora by those Greek citizens endowed with bios. Also, the notion of bios does not exist in Chinese thought, where ideas about physical life are expressed through the characters sheng, ming, and Huo, (and ideas about what allows physical life to come into existence and to continue are conveyed by qi, shen, and jing.)

A long overdue reply to Jean Christopher Mittelstaedt’s criticism

This post is written in response to Jean Christopher Mittelstaedt’s criticism of the paper I presented at the 2015 European China Law Studies Association Conference (here). Jean Christopher Mittelstaedt works with Stéphanie Balme at SciencesPo, in Paris. The criticism I received from him is, thus far, the best and most sophisticated criticism I have ever received. I am not posting the response he sent me. Those who are interested in the question of how we should approach Chinese law may want to get in touch to explore possible ways to start a broader public conversation on this and similar points.

Reading the CCP Notice on Diligently Studying and Implementing the Standards and the Regulations

In various European countries, different persons are using their own technique to read Chinese legal texts, so I thought I would share mine as I go on constructing it. This is an important endeavor: European sinologists and political scientists were perhaps the first ones who attempted to read and understand Chinese legal texts. Their techniques – as well as the ones used in Australia – however, rest for the most part upon the tacit, and practical knowledge each interpreter has acquired over the years by trial and error. This knowledge should be made explicit: multitasking and information overflow (very few people still read the paper texts of legal documents) are changing the way we read, with the result that these techniques are slowly being lost.