Publication Date

Spring 2009

Document Type


First Page



Since the reform era began in China in 1978, there have been significant changes in the nature and incidence of disputes, conflicts and social disturbances, and the mechanisms for addressing them. We examine three types of disputes: commercial disputes, socio-economic claims and public law (administrative and constitutional law) disputes. Three general patterns stand out: first, the much better performance of institutions for handling disputes in urban areas compared to rural areas; second, the significantly greater progress in handling commercial law disputes compared to socio-economic claims; and third, the more advanced state of administrative law compared to constitutional law.

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