Civil Law and ‘Civil Society’ under a ‘Socialist Rule of Law’?

  • Ronald C. Keith


Prior to the Tiananmen Square event, there was increasing speculation in the Western media as to emerging ‘civil society’ in the PRC. On the other hand, within China itself, there was a growing awareness of society’s changing structure of interests (liyi jie gou), as well as related emphases on the rule of law and the civil law’s response to the unfolding dimensions of commodity production in the new era of the primary stage of socialism.


Civil Society Economic Reform Open Door Legal Person Legal Reform 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    John K. Fairbank, China: A New History (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1992) p. 257.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Martin Whyte, ‘Urban China: A Civil Society in the Making?’, in Arthur Rosenbaum (ed.), State and Society in China (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992) footnote 8, pp. 98–9.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Barrett McCormick, Su Shaozhi and Xiao Xiaoming, ‘The 1989 Democracy Movement: A Review of the Prospects for Civil Society in China’, Pacific Affairs, vol. 65, no. 2, Summer, 1992, p. 187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 16.
    See the comments of one China’s most senior jurists, Zhang Youyu, in ‘Jurist Answers Questions on Civil Procedure Law’, FBIS-CHI-82–051, 16 March 1982, vol. 1, no. 051, p. K3 and the Renmin ribao editorial, ‘Strengthen the Building of the Legal System, Facilitate the People’s Litigations’, Renmin ribao, 11 March 1982, p. 4, in FBIS-CHI-82–051, 16 March 1982. vol. 1, no. 051, p. K 1.Google Scholar
  5. 27.
    William Jones, ‘Civil law in China’, Chinese Law and Government, vol. xviii, no. 3–4, Fall/Winter, 1985–6, p. 10.Google Scholar
  6. 29.
    William Jones, Basic Principles of Civil Law in China (New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1989) p. xvi.Google Scholar
  7. 38.
    Stanley Rosen, ‘Students and the State in China: the Crisis in Ideology & Organization’, in Arthur Rosenbaum (ed.), State and Society in China (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), pp. 172–73.Google Scholar
  8. 43.
    Gail Hershatter looks at rural couples who, despite similar status, undergo disaffection as the result of one party’s economic success. “Making a Friend: Changing Patterns of Courtship in Urban China’, Pacific Affairs, vol. 57, no. 2. Summer, 1984, p. 248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 48.
    Drive Urges Women to Stand up for Rights’, CD, 27 February 1989, p. 1 and ‘Women in China: Words Tell It All’, CD, 19 March 1986, p. 6. ‘Woman’s Role in Society Debated’, CD, 8 March 1988, p. 1.Google Scholar
  10. 49.
    See Jeanette I. Pinard, The People’s Republic of China: A Bibliography of Selected English-Language Legal Materials, Law Library, Library of Congress, 1985, p. 7.Google Scholar
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    Shen Zongling, Bijiaofa zonglun (Outlines of comparative law). (Beijing: Beijing daxue chubanshe, 1987), p. 413.Google Scholar
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    Peng Chong, ‘Quanguo renmin daibiao dahui changwu weiyuanhui gongzuo baogao’ (Work report to NPCSC) in Xin Hua yuebao, no. 4, 1992, p. 50.Google Scholar
  13. 72.
    On the difficult issues of equal ‘property rights’ see Johnathan Ocko, ‘Women, Property, and Law in the PRC’, Rubie Watson & Patricia Ebrey (eds.) Marriage and Inequality in Chinese Society (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991) pp. 313–46. Ocko establishes a lack of legal clarity as to provisions of premarital property and surveys the persisting ‘feudal’ attitudes which undermine the inheritance rights of widows and daughters. Also, Myron Cohen argues that there is a wide gap between the practical realities of family ownership in the villages and the law’s formal requirements of equality. See Myron Cohen, ‘Family Management and Family Division in Contemporary Rural China’, CQ, no. 130, June 1992, p. 368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 73.
    ‘Law to Further Protect Women’s Rights’, Xin Hua, 30 December 1991, FBIS-CHI-91–250, 30 December 1991, p. 21.Google Scholar
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    Ma Jie, Zhongguo shehui zhian zonghe zhili yanjiu (The study of China’s comprehensive control of public security) (Beijing: Falu chubanshe, 1990) p. 6.Google Scholar
  16. 82.
    See, for example, Wang Zhongfang, Zhongguo shehui rhian zonghe zhilidi lilun yu shijian (Theory and practice of comprehensive management of public order in China) (Beijing: Qunzhong chubanshe, 1989), pp. 419–27.Google Scholar
  17. 83.
    See, for example, ‘Zonghe zhili da you zuo wei renmin fayuan can yu shehui zhian’ (Comprehensive social control is of great service to the people’s courts involvement in social order) Fazhi ribao, 3 March 1992, p. 1. Both Wang Zhongfang and Ma Jie devote separate chapters to juvenile deliquency in their respective discussions of the comprehensive control of the social order. Wang Zhongfang, Zhongguo shehui zhian zonghe zhilidi lilun yu shijian, op. cit., pp. 443–58; Ma Jie, Zhongguo shehui zhian zonghe zhili yanjiu (The study of China’s comprehensive control of public security) (Beijing: Falu chubanshe, 1990) pp. 171–97.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ronald C. Keith 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald C. Keith
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CalgaryAlbertaCanada

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