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Law and Society in China

Vai I. Lo

Law and Society in China examines the interplay between law and society from imperial to present-day China. This synoptic book traces the developments of law in Chinese societies, investigates the role of law in social governance, and discusses China’s ongoing reforms towards the rule of law with Chinese characteristics. In fostering a comprehensive, rather than piecemeal and disconnected, understanding of the interaction between law and society in China, this book will reduce misconceptions about and enhance appreciation for Chinese law.
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Chapter 5: Reform and law in contemporary China

Vai I. Lo


Chapter 5 provides an overview of contemporary Chinese law. The chapter begins with a succinct account of economic reforms and social changes in the past four decades. To prepare for the discussion on law, the chapter highlights the approaches of Deng Xiaoping and Peng Zhen to the institutionalization of law. The chapter proceeds to introduce the Chinese Constitution, state governance, sources of legal norms, hierarchy of legal norms, legislative developments, the court system, the legal profession, administrative reconsideration and litigation, letter-and-visit, arbitration, mediation and China’s participation in the international legal community. The last section examines the reciprocal influence between law and society in contemporary China.

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