The Rule of Law Doctrine of the Politburo
This article charts the evolution of Party doctrine regarding the rule of law in the formative period from 2002 until 2014. The article uses the reported content of Politburo study sessions to shed light on leadership deliberations during this period, and shows how the Politburo’s conception of the rule of law developed. It demonstrates that the concepts that shape the official account of the rule of law were established in the early part of Hu Jintao’s term in office. In particular, the rule of law was reconciled with party leadership by presenting these ideas as parts of a vague “organic unity.” The article also contrasts an earlier vision of the rule of law as something that rectifies institutions with a later vision of the rule of law as something that rectifies cadres. Together, these concepts underpin current Party doctrine on the rule of law.