Why the law matters in China, with Jeremy Daum of Yale’s Paul Tsai China Law Center


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This week on Sinica, Kaiser chats with Jeremy Daum, senior research scholar in law and senior fellow at Yale University’s Paul Tsai China Center. Jeremy runs ChinaLawTranslate.com, a Wiki-style resource for translations of Chinese laws and regulations and an invaluable resource not just for legal scholars but for anyone interested in understanding China’s policy direction. In a wide-ranging conversation, Jeremy talks about why the law remains important despite frequent assertions that there is no rule of law in China, critiques the “techno-authoritarian” narrative on China, and offers an informed take on the much-maligned “social credit system.” Jeremy’s work on the social credit system has earned him a reputation as a debunker, and in this episode, he makes clear what the system is and is not.

3:28 – The ChinaLawTranslate.com project and its origins

5:21 – Why does the law matter in China?

10:09 – The technology narrative in Xinjiang

13:12 – Can the U.S. learn anything from Chinese law?

17:59 – Juvenile law and the Chinese conception of the state’s role in the family

24:13 – The paternalistic conception of law and the COVID-19 response in China

28:49 – Mythbusting and the social credit system

42:21 – China’s Plea Leniency System and the case for engagement in jurisprudence

A transcript of this interview is available on SupChina.com.


Jeremy: The Fixer, a novel by Bernard Malamud

Kaiser: Going back to basics: Chinese stir-fry lessons on the YouTube channel “Chinese Cooking Demystified”