Domestic Law Reforms in Post-Mao China

By Pitman B. Potter | Go to book overview
Save to active project

should instruct the plaintiff to seek administrative reconsideration even if the ALL would permit the court to hear the appeal. 142

The balancing of interests between ALL plaintiffs and administrative defendants is evident in the provisions concerning sanctions and security for litigation. On one hand, the Opinion specifies measures that may assist in bringing administrative defendants to court, such as seizure of assets as security for litigation where there is a question about the potential for enforcement. 143 However, the Opinion also contains several provisions aimed primarily at enforcement of administrative decisions on behalf of administrative agencies, including provisions for the sealing of property, the imposition of property liens, and the garnishing of wages and bank accounts. 144

Thus, the Supreme People's Court Opinion on implementation of the ALL is emblematic of the policy tensions underlying the law itself. On one hand there is the effort to permit meaningful judicial review of a wide range of administrative decisions as part of a general effort toward greater accountability of government. On the other hand, requests for ALL review are subjected to stringent procedural requirements to ensure that administrative litigation remains a remedy of last resort.

Nonetheless, in the context of continuing activism by the legal reform constituency, the ALL provides a starting point for further use of law to restrain government action. 145 Efforts are already under way to draft an administrative procedure law and a general code of administrative law. The ALL also may work to increase the power and prestige of the courts by granting them supervisory authority over the administrative bureaucracy. The ALL's principle permitting challenges to administrative conduct reflects and encourages changing popular attitudes that increasingly deny the infallibility of the Chinese government. While Chinese citizens and economic actors are likely to continue to respond to bureaucratic abuses through customary fatalism and use of informal personal relationships, the ALL provides at least a potential avenue for achieving redress through the courts. Each of these factors may, with the support of the legal reform constituency, or some other grouping, contribute to further growth in the role of judicial review. Thus, despite its problems, the ALL provides an important foundation for assertions by groups and individuals for greater autonomy from bureaucratic control by subjecting administrative agencies to a greater degree of external supervision through judicial review.


The author would like to thank Phil Bryden of the University of British Columbia Law Faculty and James V. Feinerman of Georgetown University Law Center for their helpful comments on an earlier draft.

"Zhonghua renmin gongheguo xingzheng susong fa" (Administrative litigation law of the PRC), Renmin ribao (People's daily), 10 April 1989, at 2. Hereinafter, all references to the ALL are to this edition. An annotated translation of the ALL appears in 3


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Domestic Law Reforms in Post-Mao China


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 316

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?