chapter  7
Access to justice in China: Potentials, limits, and alternatives
Pages 25

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been relying on laws to increase the legitimacy and effectiveness of its governance since 1979. There has been a “legislative explosion” or “legislative miracle.” The legislature, since the late 1990s, has passed a large number of rights-protective laws, including a number of constitutional amendments, to offer better protection to the rights of citizens and to limit and regulate government powers. The significant increase in legal rights has provided a catalyst for an emerging rights protection movement in Chinese society. There has also been a corresponding institutional development as a result of the growth of a cluster of reform-oriented legal institutions. The institutional development, especially the growth of the judiciary, is impressive. 1

The CCP has, in practice, tolerated, if not encouraged, certain rights talk and practice in the less political spheres, such as equality and anti-discrimination. The increase in formal legal rights and the routine violation of them have, both politically and legally, provided incentives and opportunities for ordinary citizens and their representatives to claim and assert their rights in legal institutions. There is a great demand for bringing together the world in which disputes occur with the world in which disputes are resolved. A legal profession that is a key to a liberal legal order has also emerged in China.