Chinese law and governance: moving beyond responsive authoritarianism and the rule of law

William Hurst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


In his essay, Francis Fukuyama offers a vision of Chinese governance that I contend is flawed in at least three important respects: the basic framework of his three pillars (and in particular, his conception of the rule of law), his characterization of the Chinese legal system, and his assumption of the strength (and even agility and responsiveness) of China’s bureaucratic state structure. After examining his arguments, I outline a different framework, drawn from my current research, which I call legal regimes and explain how it can be applied to understand the contemporary realities of China’s legal system. I also draw on my recent findings to challenge any assumptions of state strength or resilience, before examining the implications for current Chinese politics and possible future trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-469
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Chinese Governance
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2016



  • authoritarianism
  • China
  • governance
  • politics
  • Rule of law

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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