The Judicial System and Reform in Post-Mao China: Stumbling Towards Justice, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Judicial System and Reform in Post-Mao China

Stumbling Towards Justice, 1st Edition

By Yuwen Li


298 pages

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Paperback: 9781138637627
pub: 2017-01-09
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pub: 2014-11-05
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pub: 2016-03-03
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This comprehensive study examines the development and changing characteristics of the judicial system and reform process over the past three decades in China. As the role of courts in society has increased so too has the amount of public complaints about the judiciary. At the same time, political control over the judiciary has retained its tight-grip. The shortcomings of the contemporary system, such as institutional deficiencies, shocking cases of injustice and cases of serious judicial corruption, are deemed quite appalling by an international audience. Using a combination of traditional modes of legal analysis, case studies, and empirical research, this study reflects upon the complex progress that China has made, and continues to make, towards the modernisation of its judicial system. Li offers a better understanding on how the judicial system has transformed and what challenges lay ahead for further enhancement. This book is unique in providing both the breadth of coverage and yet the substantive details of the most fundamental as well as controversial subjects concerning the operation of the courts in China.


"Li’s The Judicial System and Reform in Post-Mao China is the most comprehensive treatment of the subject available at this moment, thoroughly researched, clearly analysed, and critically evaluated. It should be in the library of anyone and any organisation interested in Chinese politics, society and law."

Jianfu Chen, La Trobe University, Australia

"This is a timely and important study. Dr Li's new book on the judicial system and its reform in contemporary China sketches a roadmap of law and social change on the extended line of the last 30 years of development. Readers are thus able to understand the real problems that lawyers have to face, and the obstacles that the people's courts must overcome if the dream of the rule of law in China is to be realized."

Ji Weidong, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

"Professor Yuwen Li offers a comprehensive and critical study of the judicial system in post-Mao China in her book, which proves to be a precious tool in understanding the complexity of the contemporary Chinese judiciary. It further provides an insightful and critical discussion of the various challenges facing today’s Chinese judicial system."

Liu Daqun, Judge of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

"Yuwen Li, Professor of Chinese Law at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, focuses mainly on the laws on criminal and civil procedure and administrative litigation and on the work conditions of judges and lawyers. Among the problems she identifies are: limitation of the rights of defendants in court proceedings; the lack of public reporting of trials; restrictions on independent lawyers; political influence on judges by Communist Party officials through party organisations within or linked to the judicial system; the influence of Adjudication Committees, which can be decisive even when their members are not given full details of trials; and the financial dependence of the Courts on local governments."

Kenneth C. Walker,

"As an observer teaching and researching Chinese law in Europe in recent years, the author has been paying continuous attention to Chinese judicial reform, thinks about the challenges and resolution regarding Chinese judicial reform from a global and multiple perspective, and draws independent conclusions on the course and direction of Chinese judicial reform. …Therefore there is no doubt that legal practitioners, scholars, policy-makers as well as investors can benefit a lot from this volume."

YANG Chengming, Beijing Institute of Technology Institute of International Law


About the Author

Yuwen Li is a Professor of Chinese Law and the Director of the Erasmus China Law Centre at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. She holds a BA in Chinese Law from Peking University, an MA in International Law and International Relations from the Institute of Social Studies, and a PhD in International Law from Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Since 2001, she has acted as co-director of a number of legal collaborative projects with numerous Chinese institutions, including the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the National Judges College, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the Law School of Wuhan University. Currently, she is supervising a number of Chinese PhD candidates who are writing on various legal topics from comparative perspectives. She is also on the panel list of Arbitrators on the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration in the PRC. She has published extensively on various topics of Chinese law.

About the Series

The Rule of Law in China and Comparative Perspectives

The Rule of Law in China and Comparative Perspectives

There is no doctrine more effective than the rule of law in portraying the complex transformation of Chinese society from the rule of men towards the rule of law - a process inaugurated in post-Mao China which is continuing to advance legal reforms to the present day. In other parts of the world, striving for the rule of law is also evident: countries in transition face a similar mission, while the developed democratic countries are forced to tackle new challenges in retaining the high benchmark of the rule of law that has been established.

Research on the legal system in China and in comparison with other countries in the framework of the rule of law covers broad topics of public and private law, substantive law and procedural law, citizens’ rights and law enforcement by courts. Based on this broad understanding of the rule of law, the series presents international scholarly work on modern Chinese law including: comparative perspectives, interdisciplinary, and empirical studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Comparative
LAW / Criminal Law / General