chapter  6
Law
WithJerome Alan Cohen
Pages 13

China's progress in legal reform has been helped by rapid growth in the ranks and prestige of the legal profession. In the mid-1950s a group of lawyers began to practice in Soviet-style "legal advice bureaus," and their number had grown to roughly 3,000 before being decimated by the 1957 "anti-rightist" movement. In contemporary society law and justice must be concerned with far more than governmental institutions and criminal procedures. The state law offices have come to be known as "law firms" rather than "legal advice bureaus," as part of an ongoing effort to create the appearance and the reality of a legal profession independent of the Ministry of Justice. A nationwide system for arbitrating disputes under the domestic Economic Contract Law was also established. In the spring of 1988 the long-awaited law regulating Chinese-foreign cooperative ventures appeared, as did a controversial law concerning the management of state-owned enterprises.