2018 Bozeman Lecture: Jerome Cohen—Has Xi Jinping Brought China the Inquisition with Chinese Characteristics?

Titsworth Marjorie Leff Miller ’53 Lecture Hall

Open to the public

/ Tuesday


Sensitive to charges that the rule of men takes precedence over the rule of law in China, President Xi Jinping has made legal reform, particularly a tough anti-corruption drive, a centerpiece of his plan to cement great power status for China abroad and shore up the Communist Party’s legitimacy at home. Wide-ranging investigations of graft have netted even some high-profile officials, but have generated concerns that legal reform is being used as a weapon against Xi’s political opponents and as a tool to enforce an increasingly narrow and strident orthodoxy. Bringing insights from his decades of legal experience in, and scholarship on, China, Professor Jerome Cohen will discuss law and legal reform Xi Jinping’s China.

Jerome Alan Cohen, a professor at NYU School of Law since 1990 and Faculty Director of its US-Asia Law Institute, is a leading American expert on Chinese law and government. A pioneer in the field, Professor Cohen founded and became the initial director of Harvard’s East Asian Legal Studies program. More recently, he served for several years as C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director of Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he currently is an Adjunct Senior Fellow. He retired from the partnership of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in 2000 after over twenty years of law practice focused on China. His books on Chinese law include The Criminal Process in the People’s Republic of China, 1949-63 (1968), People’s China and International Law (1974, with H.D. Chiu), and Challenge to China: How Taiwan Abolished its Version of Re-education Through Labor (2013, with Margaret Lewis). Today, Professor Cohen continues his research and writing on Asian law, focusing on legal institutions, criminal justice reform, dispute resolution, human rights, and the role of international law relating to China and Taiwan.

Professor Cohen is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Yale College (BA 1951). He spent the 1951-1952 academic year as a Fulbright Scholar in France and graduated, in 1955, from Yale Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal. He was Law Secretary to Chief Justice Earl Warren of the United States Supreme Court in the 1955 Term and Law Secretary to Justice Felix Frankfurter of the Supreme Court in the 1956 Term.