Demonstrating legality: Legal education for Chinese youth, 1979-2006


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The goal of this paper is to show how legal education for youth in schools since 1979 has developed to foster young people’s socialist legal consciousness along with the development of the legal system. The paper draws on a series of notices, opinions, laws and curriculum guidelines for political and legal education issued by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and state organs from 1979 to 2006. Specifically, the paper shows how these directives demonstrate several points, which have developed gradually with the actual development of the legal system: first, attention to maintaining social order based on discipline and obedience to the law; second, protection of the people’s bodies, rights, and interests; third, concern for the people’s education and self-protection; fourth, promotion of legal, economic, and political development; fifth, acknowledgement of the value of a qualified popular political participation; and sixth, Party and state governance exercised according to the law. Following an extended discussion of how these themes are treated in directives to schools and teachers for carrying out legal education among students, the paper concludes that legality has complemented, but has not supplanted, earlier justifications for CCP rule based on social stability and ideological orthodoxy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007


Fairbrother, G. (2007, May). Demonstrating legality: Legal education for Chinese youth, 1979-2006. Paper presented at the Asian Pacific Network for Moral Education Second Regional Meeting, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.


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