7 December 2020

ThinkChina Analysis: In Between - Gender, Solidarity and Legality?

Part II (of II): China’s Legal System

This analysis on the issues of gender and solidarity in China and the EU, is the second part of a two-part ThinkChina Analysis, written by Simona Novaretti, University of Turin, and Hanne Petersen from University of Copenhagen.

1) In Part I, Hanne Petersen discuses the EU and China: Increasing inequalities and social tensions - solidarity and harmony.
2) In Part II, Simona Novaretti investigates Chinese legislation and traditional values, and the concepts of solidarity and gender.

Picture credit: "Between" by SagaLun under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license, and edited by ThinkChina.

This two-part analysis explores the issues of gender and solidarity. The analysis investigates the developments causing internal tensions in China and the EU, leading to a revitalisation of the concepts of ‘harmony’ and ‘stability’. In the Chinese context, the analysis reflects upon the way in which the stronger emphasis on traditional values has influenced the interpretation of solidarity and gender, and how this interpretation is reflected in recent Chinese legislation.

In Part I, Hanne Petersen discusses similarities between EU and China in the 21st century; Both parts are strongly influenced by neoliberal ideas, inequality and social tensions. In China, this led to a development of a neo-Confucian ideology, and an emphasis on the ‘Harmonious Society’. In the EU, solidarity was similarly invoked as a means to minimize said tensions.

In Part II, Simona Novaretti investigates the way in which a stronger emphasis on traditional Chinese values has influenced the interpretation given to the concepts of solidarity and gender in China, and how this interpretation is reflected in the most recent Chinese legislation.

Since the beginning of the 21st Century, the increasing “contradictions among the people” caused by China’s tremendous economic development, forced the Communist Party of China (CPC) to rethink the Country’s development pattern, setting up a more sustainable, coordinated, and inclusive model of growth, capable of building a "moderately prosperous society".

Key takeaways

  • Xi Jinping’s call to "achieve the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” reflects PRC leaders’ will to improve the international image of China, on the one hand, and to re-introduce traditional moral concepts to rebuild the social cohesion apparently lost with the reforms through a “Confucianization of the Law”, on the other.
  • The legal re-elaboration and actualization of the traditional concepts of filial piety, be- nevolence and harmony may prove crucial in realizing some parts of the social dimension of sustainable development, namely intergenerational and intra-generational equity.
  • Not all the basic principles of traditional Chinese thought are equally useful to achieve the commitments of sustainable development assumed by PRC at international level.
  • References to “traditional family values” embodied in recent PRC’s legal provisions seem to jeopardize the possibility of the PRC achieving the inter-gender equity goal, provided for in the “2030 Agenda” on sustainable development by the UN in September 2015.

: China, Europe, Gender, Solidarity, Law, Harmonious society, equity, United Nations, Confucianism

Download and read Part II here.

For Part I, please follow this link.

The analysis has been previously published in Studi di Genere, Donne per l'Europa 2, February 2020