The Rule of Mandates: How China Governs Over Law and Democracy

Mayling Birney, Lecturer, Political Economy of Development at LSE

RSVP required by 5PM on MARCH 14

In this talk, Mayling Birney presents evidence that China uses a distinctive form of governing, what she calls a “rule of mandates” in contrast to a rule of law. Under a rule of mandates, standards for accountability are relative rather than absolute, as lower officials are effectively directed to adjust the local implementation of the center's own laws and policies in order to meet the center's highest priorities. In China, this governing system has helped promote stability and growth, yet curtailed the potential impact of rule of law and democratic reforms. Birney demonstrates this impact by drawing on evidence from original surveys, interviews, and archival work. Yet she also explains why this governing system is likely to become more problematic for China in the future, potentially jeopardizing even the economic growth and stability it has thus far supported.

Friday, March 15, 2013 | 12:00 pm — 1:15 pm
Philippines Conference Room, Encina Hall, 3rd Floor

Stanford China Program, Shorenstein APARC
Center for East Asian Studies