Assessing China's Legal Reforms

Liebman, Benjamin L.

This essay will begin with a short summary of the dramatic changes in China's legal system during the reform era and will then discuss challenges that the legal system is confronting today. These include the need to balance populism with respect for legal institutions, excessive discretion, rising inequalities and unequal access to justice, lack of transparency, and the need to make courts more autonomous and independent. China is not alone in facing these challenges. Yet the ways that these problems are manifested in China differ significantly from those in other countries, reflecting both China's history and the institutional framework in which the Chinese legal system exists.

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Columbia Journal of Asian Law

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November 23, 2015