Law and Institutions of Modern China

Edited by Sanzhu Zhu

© 2011 – Routledge

416 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415565455
pub: 2011-06-17

About the Book

In the past three decades, the Chinese legal system has undergone a substantial transformation, reflecting the economic, social, culture, administrative, and political changes taking place in China. Compared with the situation in the early 1950s when the newly established People’s Republic of China started to construct a socialist legal system and with the situation in the early 1980s when post-Cultural Revolution (1966–76) legal reform had just started, the current Chinese legal system has become a relatively comprehensive system, comparable to a certain degree with the jurisdictions in Western developed countries.

This new Major Work collection from Routledge brings together the most representative pieces for a comprehensive set covering every aspect of current Chinese law, providing readers with a one-stop reference resource on China’s legal, judicial, and institutional changes in the past decades, as well as current law and institutions in China.


It's been 60 years or so since the establishment of the People's Republic of China, and the "journey to create a socialist legal system in the PRC has been tortuous," states editor Zhu in his introductory essay. He explains that "Chinese law and institutions and their progresses, while transforming substantially and in some aspects `Westernizing', are generally shaped and limited by China's current political and administrative structures, ideological underpinning, cultural traditions and values, as well as the stages of economic development." This four-volume reference presents 59 carefully selected previously published articles and excerpts."—Book News

Table of Contents


Part 1: Development of Modern Chinese Law and Institutions since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China

1. Wu Jianfan, ‘Building New China’s Legal System’, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, 1983, 22, 1, 1–40.

2. William P. Alford, ‘A Second Great Wall? China’s Post-Cultural Revolution Project of Legal Construction’, Cultural Dynamics, 1999, 11, 2, 193–213.

Part 2: The Role of Law in the People’s Republic of China

3. Victor H. Li, ‘The Role of Law in Communist China’, China Quarterly, 1970, 44, 66–111.

4. Shao-Chuan Leng, ‘The Role of Law in the People’s Republic of China as Reflecting Mao Tse-Tung’s Influence’, Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 1977, 68, 3, 356–73.

5. Randall P. Peerenboom, ‘Ruling the Country in Accordance with Law: Reflections on the Rule and Role of Law in Contemporary China’, Cultural Dynamics, 1999, 11, 3, 315–51.

Part 3: Developing Theories of Modern Chinese Law and Society

6. Alice Erh-Soon Tay and Eugene Kamenka, ‘Law, Legal Theory and Legal Education in the People’s Republic of China’, New York Law School Journal of International and Comparative Law, 1986, 7, 1, 1–38.

7. Randall P. Peerenboom, ‘What’s Wrong with Chinese Rights? Toward a Theory of Rights with Chinese Characteristics’, Harvard Human Rights Journal, 1993, 6, 29–57.

8. Ji Weidong, ‘"To Take the Law as the Public": The Diversification of Society and Legal Discourse in Contemporary China’, in Stéphanie Balme and Michael W. Dowdle (eds.), Building Constitutionalism in China (Palgrave, 2009), pp. 125–40.

Part 4: Understanding the Contemporary Chinese Legal System

9. William C. Jones, ‘Trying to Understand the Current Chinese Legal System’, in C. Stephen Hsu (ed.), Understanding China’s Legal System: Essays in Honor of Jerome A. Cohen (New York University Press, 2003), pp. 7–45.

10. Albert H. Y. Chen, ‘Socialist Law, Civil Law, Common Law, and the Classification of Contemporary Chinese Law’, in Jan Michiel Otto et al. (eds.), Law-Making in the People’s Republic of China (Kluwer Law International, 2000), pp. 55–74.

11. Teemu Ruskola, ‘Law Without Law, or is "Chinese Law" an Oxymoron?’, William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, 2003, 11, 655–69.

Part 5: Studying Chinese law

12. Chen Shouyi, ‘A Review of Thirty Years of Legal Studies in New China’, Journal of Chinese Law, 1988, 2, 181–200.

13. Stanley Lubman, ‘The Study of Chinese Law in the United States: Reflections on the Past and Concerns about the Future’, Washington University Global Studies Law Review, 2003, 2, 1, 1–35.


Part 6: Emerging Formal Legal Institutions in China’s Transition

14. Stanley B. Lubman, ‘First Steps: Legalizing the State, Reinventing Lawyers, Regularizing the Criminal Process’, Bird in a Cage: Legal Reform in China after Mao (Stanford University Press, 1999), pp. 138–72, 351–6.

Part 7: Law-Making and Sources of Law

15. Murray Scot Tanner, ‘How a Bill Becomes a Law in China: Stages and Processes in Lawmaking’, China Quarterly, 1995, 141, 39–64.

16. Anthony R. Dicks, ‘Compartmentalized Law and Judicial Restraint: An Inductive View of Some Jurisdictional Barriers to Reform’, China Quarterly, 1995, 141, 82–109.

17. Chen Jianfu, ‘Unanswered Questions and Unresolved Issues: Comments on the Law on Law-Making’, in Jan Michiel Otto et al. (eds.), Law-Making in the People’s Republic of China (Kluwer Law International, 2000), pp. 235–56.

Part 8: Courts and Judicial Independence

18. Jerome Alan Cohen, ‘The Chinese Communist Party and "Judicial Independence": 1949–1959’, Harvard Law Review, 1969, 82, 5, 967–1006.

19. Randall Peerenboom, ‘Judicial Independence in China: Common Myths and Unfounded Assumptions’, in Peerenboom (ed.), Judicial Independence in China: Lessons for Global Rule of Law Promotion (Cambridge University Press, 2010), pp. 69–94.

20. Benjamin L. Liebman, ‘China’s Courts: Restricted Reform’, China Quarterly, 2007, 191, 620–38.

Part 9: The Legal Profession and Legal Education

21. William P. Alford, ‘Tasselled Loafers for Barefoot Lawyers: Transformation and Tension in the World of Chinese Legal Workers’, China Quarterly, 1995, 141, 22–38.

22. He Weifang, ‘China’s Legal Profession: The Nascence and Growing Pains of a Professionalized Legal Class’, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, 2005, 19, 1, 138–51.

23. Zeng Xianyi, ‘Legal Education in China’, South Texas Law Review, 2002, 43, 707–16.

Part 10: Dispute resolution

24. Jerome Alan Cohen, ‘Chinese Mediation on the Eve of Modernization’, California Law Review, 1966, 54, 1201–26.

25. Stanley B. Lubman, ‘Mediation after Mao’, in Stanley B. Lubman, Bird in a Cage: Legal Reform in China after Mao (Stanford University Press, 1999), pp. 217–49.

26. Donald C. Clarke, ‘The Execution of Civil Judgements in China’, China Quarterly, 1995, 141, 65–81.

27. Randall P. Peerenboom and He Xin, ‘Dispute Resolution in China: Patterns, Causes and Prognosis’, East Asia Law Review, 2009, 4, 1, 1–61.


Part 11: Constitution and Constitutionalism

28. William C. Jones, ‘The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China’, Washington University Law Quarterly, 1985, 63, 4, 707–35.

29. Cai Dingjian, ‘The Development of Constitutionalism in the Transition of Chinese Society’, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, 2005, 19, 1, 1–29.

30. Yu Xingzhong, ‘Western Constitutional Ideas and Constitutional Discourse in China, 1978–2005’, in Stéphanie Balme and Michael W. Dowdle (eds.), Building Constitutionalism in China (Palgrave, 2009), pp. 111–24.

Part 12: Criminal Process and Justice

31. Shao-Chuan Leng, ‘Criminal Justice in Post-Mao China: Some Preliminary Observations’, Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 1982, 73, 1, 204–37.

32. Cai Dingjian, ‘China’s Major Reform in Criminal Law’, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, 1997, 11, 1, 213–18.

33. Fu Hualing, ‘Criminal Defence in China: The Possible Impact of the 1996 Criminal Procedure Law Reform’, China Quarterly, 1998, 153, 31–48.

Part 13: The General Principles of Civil Law

34. Tong Rou, ‘The General Principles of Civil Law of the PRC: Its Birth, Characteristics, and Role’, Law and Contemporary Problems, 1989, 52, 2, 151–75.

35. William C. Jones, ‘Some Questions Regarding the Significance of the General Provisions of Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China’, Harvard International Law Journal, 1987, 28, 2, 309–31.

36. Zhang Mo, ‘From Public to Private: The Newly Enacted Chinese Property Law and the Protection of Property Rights in China’, Berkeley Business Law Journal, 2008, 5, 2, 317–63.

Part 14: Administrative Law and Administrative Litigation

37. Lin Feng, ‘Administrative Law’, in Wang Chenguang and Zhang Xianchu (eds.), Introduction to Chinese Law (Sweet & Maxwell Asia, 1997), pp. 75–106.

38. Pei Minxin, ‘Citizens v. Mandarins: Administrative Litigation in China’, China Quarterly, 1997, 152, 832–62.

39. Wang Xixin, ‘Between Dreams and the Reality: Making of the Administrative Procedure Act in China’, Journal of Korean Law, 2007, 7, 1, 157–82.

Part 15: Economic and Commercial Law

40. Wang Liming and Xu Chuanxi, ‘Fundamental Principles of China’s Contract Law’, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, 1999, 13, 1, 1–34.

41. James V. Feinerman, ‘New Hope for Corporate Governance in China?’, China Quarterly, 2007, 191, 590–612.

42. Wu Handong, ‘One Hundred Years of Progress: The Development of the Intellectual Property System in China’, WIPO Journal, 2009, 1, 117–24.


Part 16: Legal Reform and the Establishment of Rule of Law

43. Stanley B. Lubman, ‘Understanding China through Chinese Law’, Bird in a Cage: Legal Reform in China After Mao (Stanford University Press, 1999), pp. 1–10.

44. Randall P. Peerenboom, ‘Introduction’, China’s Long March Toward Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press, 2002), pp. 1–26.

45. Pitman B. Potter, ‘Legal Reform in China: Institutions, Culture, and Selective Adaptation’, Law & Social Inquiry, 2004, 29, 465–95.

46. Benjamin L. Liebman, ‘Assessing China’s Legal Reforms’, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, 2009, 23, 1, 17–33.

Part 17: Legal Reform and the Development of a Market Economy

47. Chen Su, ‘The Establishment and Development of the Chinese Economic Legal System in the Past Sixty Years’, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, 2009, 23, 1, 109–36.

48. Albert H. Y. Chen, ‘The Developing Theory of Law and Market Economy in Contemporary China’, in Wang Guiguo and Wei Zhenying (eds.), Legal Developments in China: Market Economy and Law (Sweet & Maxwell Asia, 1996), pp. 3–20.

49. Donald C. Clarke, ‘Legislating for a Market Economy in China’, China Quarterly, 2007, 191, 567–85.

Part 18: Human Rights in Contemporary Chinese Law

50. Marina Svensson, ‘A Contested and Evolving Discourse: Human Rights Debate Since the Late 1980s’, Debating Human Rights in China: A Conceptual and Political History (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2002), pp. 261–96.

51. Stephen C. Angle, ‘Human Rights and Harmony’, Human Rights Quarterly, 2008, 30, 1, 76–94.

Part 19: Development of a Modern Civil Society

52. Li Yuwen, ‘A Critical Examination of the Legal Environment for Social Organizations in China’, in Yuwen Li (ed.), Freedom of Association in China and Europe: Comparative Perspectives in Law and Practice (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2005), pp. 17–69.

Part 20: China and the International Legal Order

53. James V. Feinerman, ‘Chinese Participation in the International Legal Order: Rogue Elephant or Team Player’, China Quarterly, 1995, 141, 186–210.

54. Shan Wenhua, ‘Redefining the Chinese Concept of Sovereignty’, in Wang Gungwu and Zheng Yongnian (eds.), China and the New International Order (Routledge, 2008), pp. 53–80.

55. Albert H. Y. Chen, ‘"One Country, Two Systems" from a Legal Perspective’, in Yue-man Yeung (ed.), The First Decade: The Hong Kong SAR in Retrospective and Introspective Perspectives (Chinese University Press, 2007), pp. 161–88.

Part 21: China’s Accession to the World Trade Organization and its Legal Implications

56. Pitman B. Potter, ‘The Legal Implications of China’s Accession to the WTO’, China Quarterly, 2001, 167, 592–609.

Part 22: The Future of Chinese Law

57. Pei Minxin, ‘Is China’s Transition Trapped and What Should the West Do about It?’ (conference presentation at ‘Rule of Law in China: Chinese Law and Business’, organized by the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society in collaboration with the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, 2007).

58. Randall Peerenboom, ‘Are China’s Legal Reforms Stalled?’ (conference presentation at ‘Rule of Law in China: Chinese Law and Business’, organized by the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society in collaboration with the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford, 2007).

59. Donald C. Clarke, ‘The Chinese Legal System Since 1995: Steady Development and Striking Continuities’, China Quarterly, 2007, 191, 555–66.

About the Series

Critical Concepts in Law

Critical Concepts in Law
The Routledge Major Works series are designed to meet research, reference and teaching needs. The Critical Concepts in Law series includes titles for many areas of the broad subject - with titles including Law and Development, International Law and Feminist Legal Studies, to name but a few in this far reaching series. Over the course of the year the series is set to see a number of new additions.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General