Saturday, November 3, 2012
The Global Times reports the completion of a process started in 2004 whereby the railway system lost its special system of courts. prosecutors, and police. This marks an important milestone in China's transition to being what we might call a normal modern state. Some people may cavil at the use of a value-laden term like "normal". What I mean is a state where the administration of law and the use of force is relatively centralized and rationalized, instead of being wielded by a variety of duchies and baronies answerable in practice to nobody but themselves. We've seen this in the gradual switch - now virtually complete - in the administration of people on the basis of where they live instead of where they work. The system of railway courts has been an anachronism for a long time, but somehow has managed to persist. As it seemed to produce a lot more scandals than justice in recent years, it won't be missed.