In recent years, Chinese central authorities have turned against a range of legal reforms that they had pursued in the late 20th century. They have de-emphasized judicial professionalization. They have increased the harassment and abuse of public interest lawyers. And since 2006, Party authorities have pursued “Socialist Rule of Law” political campaigns re-emphasizing Party supremacy and warning against the infiltration of “Western” rule-of-law concepts. (For more on this, see here.)
Official Chinese rhetoric with regard to legal reform has also changed. Comparing two State Council White Papers - China’s Efforts and Achievements in Promoting the Rule of Law (2008) and the Socialist Legal System With Chinese Characteristics (2011) illustrates this shift.