As a one-party, authoritarian regime, the Chinese government has never tried to achieve the ideal of “the rule of law, not of men” that strives to ensure that law itself will govern the state, not the wishes of powerful individuals. The story of Chinese law since the 1979 initiation of reforms is the story of pragmatism initiated by China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. According to Chinese political leaders, law is currently an instrument serving the goal of economic development. Thus, criminal penalties are determined by official perceptions of current “actuality,” despite recent efforts to standardize the sentencing of criminals. When major financial crimes have been perceived as threats to the nation’s economic stability and thus a challenge to the CCP’s political order, the party has resorted to the strategy of hard strikes. Each Strike Hard campaign creates a wave of arrests, convictions, and severe penalties. The periodic crackdown on financial crime has created a vicious circle of crime and policing. The inadequacies of the law and inconsistent enforcement practices have made offenders more fatalistic, simply hoping they will not be the unlucky ones to get caught.
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