Date
6 December 2016
Chinese officials say their justice system is best suited to national conditions. China finished 80th among 113 countries in the latest Rule of Law Index. Photo: WSJ
Chinese officials say their justice system is best suited to national conditions. China finished 80th among 113 countries in the latest Rule of Law Index. Photo: WSJ

China makes slight progress in rule of law ranking

A new global ranking shows China is making “limited progress” to improve rule of law.

China ranked 80th out of 113 countries surveyed in the latest Rule of Law Index​, a slight rise from last year, when it ranked 71st out of 102 countries, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China finished 13th out of 15 countries surveyed in East Asia and the Pacific. Of the 37 upper middle-income economies, a group that includes Russia and Mexico, China ranked 28th.

Hong Kong was ranked 16th.

The ranking is put out by the World Justice Project, a Washington-based non-profit group set up by the American Bar Association and supported by the International Bar Association and other legal groups.

Since declaring its intent to improve rule of law in late 2014,​ the Communist Party has rolled out policies designed to give more power to courts and improve the credibility of China’s legal system.

Officials and state-affiliated scholars have said the overhauls were needed to underpin economic growth and shore up the party’s legitimacy.

Conviction rates are near 100 percent in criminal trials.

Confessions extracted through torture remain common despite being banned, legal activists say.

And jailed government critics frequently appear in pretrial televised confessions that supporters believe are coerced.

Such a system, legal experts argue, constitutes not rule of law, but rather “rule by law.”​ ​

China’s leaders defend their system, describing it as “rule of law with Chinese characteristics.”

They argue it is best suited to China’s “national conditions.”

The topnotchers:

1) Denmark 89 points

2) Norway (88 pts)

3) Finland (87)

4) Sweden (86), Netherlands (86)

6) Germany (83), Austria (83), New Zealand (83)

9) Singapore (82)

10) United Kingdom, Australia (81), Canada (81)

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