Judicial reform in China.
The Central Politics and Law Commission (CPLC) -- the Party organ that oversees the judicial system and internal security apparatus -- announced on January 21 that judicial reforms will be trialled in eleven of China's 33 provinces. Within days, it was announced that a new circuit court -- China's first -- will launch on February 2. Despite real risks, President Xi Jinping appears to see reform as urgent, in part because the status quo also carries risks.
- Foreign interlocutors will be able to participate more in China's legal reform, especially in commercial and economic matters.
- Xi's call for an end to corrupt interference could affect cases of contract dispute, land purchase or intellectual property.
- Foreign businesses engaged in specific legal disputes in China may use the reform drive to their advantage.
- Legal activists in China will take recent announcements as a cue to press their case, demanding more than the Party will allow.