Thursday, April 11, 2024

Jiajun Luo on Authoritarian Legal (Ir)rationality: The Saga of ‘Picking Quarrels’ in China (The ECLR Hub)

"Authoritarian Legal (Ir)rationality: The Saga of ‘Picking Quarrels’ in China"
Jiajun Luo (PhD candidate)
The ECLR Hub
Published online: March 2024

In response to an apartment fire in Urumqi which killed eleven residents in November 2022, Shanghai residents took to the city’s Urumqi Road, protesting peacefully against China’s zero-covid policy. While the protests resulted in the official end of nearly all Covid-19 related restrictions, several participants were detained and sentenced for picking quarrels and provoking trouble (Criminal Code Art. 293). Photo by Cinea467

It is widely reported that the utilization of the crime picking quarrels (寻衅滋事) by Chinese authorities has resulted in the imprisonment of thousands for their online expressions, ranging from complaints about traffic police to criticisms of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on social media platforms. Moreover, this catchall category extends beyond speech-related offenses, serving as a tool for political suppression since 2013 and targeting various civil groups in China, including feminists and human rights lawyers.

However, picking quarrels is not confined to politically sensitive cases. Authorities also employ it to...

Please click here for full article on the ECLR and click here for draft paper on SSRN.

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