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 Grassroots NGO Regulation and China's Local Legal Culture

-Anna Jane High

Law-lauding ideology and rhetoric has been increasingly evident in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. In conjunction with decades of rapid and prolific legal institution-building, this has provided rich data for scholarship on the trajectory of China’s legal system, and the nature of rule and order in modern Chinese society. Yet a solely law-centric approach to state regulation is not apposite to painting a complete picture of how order is maintained in the distinctly non-legal Chinese culture. Drawing on field work investigating non-state Chinese orphanage, I argue that the survival and proliferation of such quasi- or non-legal grassroots non-government organizations is indicative of, and premised on, both the unwieldy and fragmented nature of the Chinese state, and several defining points of distinction of law as a cultural notion in the Chinese context. These include a marked preoccupation with legitimacy over legality, and paternalistic discipline and discretion over impartial adjudication. An increased appreciation for China ' local legal culture has far-reaching implications for the ways in which both legal academics and practitioners engage with the Chinese legal system, which is best approached without constraining preconceptions about how law is used and regarded in local contexts.

The Trafficking of Children: A Counter-Narrative to the CRC's Construction of 'Care'

The Convention on the Rights of the Child imagines the child to be in a particular positional matrix: the family or some similar form of 'care' This article employs a textual analysis of the CRC to examine this matrix of care; in other words this article examines how the parent, the state, and the child are positioned in relation to each other in the CRC. It argues that the positional matrix portrayed in the CRC is hierarchical, where the adult positioned over the child. As such, the child is only given autonomy and protection rights that buttress this hierarchy. In many instances, the family and parents perform as the CRC imagines they should. However, as trafficking of children illustrates, not all children have a responsible adult who has their best interests as a concern and keeps in mind their evolving capacities. The trafficking of children by parents illustrate that was in which privileging the family, and thus the position the parent holds over the child, can make certain children more vulnerable. In this way, care, as defined as the adult positioned over the child or 'dependency' (on a parent) and, as such vulnerability become markers of childhood. Unlike other human rights discourses that seek to redress hierarchies; the CRC reinforces and even sustains the inequalities between adults and children. Unlike any other human rights discourse that offers protections from the state, the CRC also offers children protection from themselves, as if children suffer subjugation, inequality, disenfranchisement, and mistreatment from themselves. Unlike the definition of the family in the CRC ' Preamble, from which all members of the human family have equal and inalienable rights, the child finds him or herself in this version of family with inequality and rights that are alienable because this person has been defined in the CRC as a 'child'.

The article explores connects between the two aforementioned stylistically similar yet different novels and socio-legal discourse. It establishes that literature has a lot to offer to discussions around law and society generally and violence particular. By humanizing those whom categories relegate to stereotypes, literature invites law to confront the violence at its core; while also giving oppressed individuals and groups an engaging medium to make their dissent and suffering known. The longevity of literature and its ability to appeal to timeless values gives it a unique role in that it can restore popular faith in the potential of the legal system to attain those values despite the violence and despair that characterizes the system at present. The article, therefore, is intended to be a tribute to literature generally as well as an affirmation of its relevance to socio-legal study.

Notes From The Field

In this narrative I share my thoughts about teaching constitutional law (I & II) in the background of pedagogical challenges of inclusion that surface in an undergraduate class room. My purpose here is to portray challenges I encountered in whetting teaching with inquiry in designing the curriculum, teaching style, examinations, and pattern in evaluations in a constitutional law course. Two aspects that underlie my concern are, how do we nurture lifelong learners who can persist with inquiry in their own pace? And related to this, how does the teacher' attitude teach more than his or her academic material? The aim is not to offer practical recommendations and it takes into account wider source of creative inquiry and societal and human imperatives in classroom education especially relevant in a subject as constitutional law which is prone to serious value judgments. In the end, teachers must acquire the ability to relate to all students and this can happen not by more knowledge about the subject but understanding rather how to think about new ways of knowing.

Book Review

Remembering Revolution, a stunning book on the Naxalbari movement of the 1960s, is a must read. This book must be counted as an important contribution towards understanding social and political movements in India. Although there have been other important feminist writings on Left politics, this book forcefully addresses the need for reflecting upon the sexual politics of revolutionary left movements. This book emphasizes that it must not be assumed that radical politics has resulted in a radical critique of patriarchy, especially of sexual violence. This is despite the fact that there is increasing participation of women in violent revolutionary politics, and that women increasingly are becoming the face of such violent politics. The anguishing contradictions inherent in attachments to the idea of a revolution or to the ideology of a movement find courageous treatment in this book. Moreover, Remembering Revolution fully redresses the curious lack of feminist attention to the experience of violence in the lives of revolutionary women.

-Pratiksha Baxi

Contents of Volume 9(2)


-Rajeev Kadambi

-Ashleigh Barnes

-Apoorva Yadav

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