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During the past decade, the Chinese government has pursued greater engagement with a range of international legal regimes. China's expanded participation in international regimes for trade and human rights, for example, can provide deeper understanding of the factors influencing China's international behaviour. Building upon scholarly perspectives about institutional compliance with treaty texts and the influence of local conditions on China's policies and practice, this article examines China's participation in international legal regimes for trade and human rights in light of dynamics of normative engagement and the paradigm of selective adaptation. Normative tensions help explain China's policies and practices on compliance with the WTO trade regime, while the imperative of normative engagement helps explain much about China's international human rights diplomacy.
China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) has generated an avalanche of books and articles offering a variety of academic, policy and legal perspectives. Kong Qingjiang's contribution is primarily an explanation of the perspectives of the Chinese government on WTO accession, and focuses on three broad themes: the background to China's WTO accession, dispute resolution, and trade compliance.
Randall Peerenboom has become one of the most prolific specialists writing in English about the legal system of post-Mao China. In his latest book, Peerenboom provides a summary overview of the development of the post-Mao legal system, drawing on a number of his previously published works on issues such as lawyers, globalization, human rights, and legal theory.
This article examines the regulation of religion in China, in the context of changing social expectations and resulting dilemmas of regime legitimacy. The post-Mao government has permitted limited freedom of religious belief, subject to legal and regulatory restrictions on religious behaviour. However, this distinction between belief and behaviour poses challenges for the regime's efforts to maintain political control while preserving an image of tolerance aimed at building legitimacy. By examining the regulation of religion in the context of patterns of compliance and resistance in religious conduct, the article attempts to explain how efforts to control religion raise challenges for regime legitimacy.
Discussions of the role of “guanxi” in Chinese society are commonplace. Whether in economics, politics, or social relations, guanxi is frequently posited as a fundamental dynamic that determines the process and outcomes of behavior. guanxi has also been examined as a critical element in business relationships. While the importance of personal relationships and networks is widely acknowledged as a universal, albeit socially embedded, phenomenon, analysis of guanxi in China represents an effort to contextualize these practices to local conditions. This chapter will examine the role of guanxi in the Chinese legal system in the context of legal culture and by reference to the attitudes and behavior of Chinese legal actors.
Preparing a chapter on the role of guanxi in the Chinese legal system might appear at first blush as the equivalent of introducing Star Trek's Borg to the Red Queen of Alice and Wonderland. Like the Red Queen the Chinese legal system appears as a puzzling series of contradictions, where formal (often formalistic and draconian) rules and procedures are often interpreted and applied according to arbitrary held views of powerful officials yielding a variety of unintended results, or else ignored altogether. Conventional wisdom on guanxi relations in Chinese society often portrays this dynamic in ways emblematic of Borg, as an all-encompassing set of norms that all members of the assimilated community understand and to which they all subscribe. Moreover, as with both the Red Queen and Borg, direct engagement is discouraged.
China's application for accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) raises particular questions about the implications for China's legal system. This article examines these issues by reference to Chinese contexts and perspectives, and by examining the processes of accession and what these mean for further legal reform. It concludes with a discussion of possible approaches that might prove useful in managing China's relationship with the world trading system.
On the 50th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, the legal system plays an increasingly significant role in social, economic and even political relationships. Legal norms drawn largely from foreign experiences have been selected and applied through a plethora of newly established institutions. The role of law as a basis for government authority has become a legitimate and significant issue in the broader political discourse. Despite these achievements, law in China remains dependent on the regime's policy goals. Particularly where political prerogatives are at stake, legal requirements appear to pose little restraint on state power. In this sense, the ten years that have passed since Tiananmen appear to have had little impact on the willingness of the party-state to dispense with legal requirements in pursuit of political expediency. If we are to rely upon Dicey's dictum on the rule of law being in effect when the state becomes just another actor, the rule of law in China still seems a distant prospect indeed.
The legal regime for foreign investment in the People's Republic of China over the past 15 years has reflected a basic tension between encouraging foreign business activities and maintaining state control over them. While China's policies may be viewed as attempts to pursue an independent path towards development, neo-classical and critical perspectives on the role of the state in economic development provide useful contexts within which to view the PRC's efforts at harnessing foreign investment in pursuit of economic growth. This article reviews the structure and performance of foreign investment law and policy in the People's Republic of China in the context of these alternative approaches to the role of the state in economic development.
This paper presents an analysis of attitudes among independent business operators (getihu) in Shanghai toward basic tenets of legal reform in the People's Republic of China. Based on a survey questionnaire administered during the summer of 1993 with the assistance of the Law Institute of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, this paper suggests that the getihu are generally receptive to official norms about equality, justice, and private law relations. Despite having doubts about the efficacy of these norms, the getihu seem motivated by factors of disenfranchisement to accept them as useful in their struggle to get ahead. This suggests that the linkage between legal reform and economic development in China is not automatic, but will depend on the particular conditions of legal and economic actors. This has implications generally for the importance of local conditions in causal links between forms of private law and economic development.