Why the Chinese Prefer Administrative Petitioning over Litigation

Sociological Stud., Vol. 3, p. 139, 2009

34 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2008 Last revised: 30 Dec 2014

See all articles by Taisu Zhang

Taisu Zhang

Yale University - Law School

Date Written: April 20, 2009


In recent years, the Chinese public, when facing disputes with government officials, have preferred a non-legal means of resolution, the Xinfang system, over litigation. Some scholars explain this by claiming that administrative litigation is less effective than Xinfang petitioning. Others argue that the Chinese have historically eschewed litigation and continue to do so habitually. This paper proposes a new explanation: Chinese have traditionally litigated administrative disputes, but only when legal procedure is not too adversarial and allows for the possibility of reconciliation through court-directed settlement. Since this possibility does not formally exist in modern Chinese administrative litigation, people tend to avoid it.

Keywords: Xinfang, Chinese Law, administrative litigation, Chinese legal history, administrative grievances

JEL Classification: K23, K41, K33, K39, Z00, Z1

Suggested Citation

Zhang, Taisu, Why the Chinese Prefer Administrative Petitioning over Litigation (April 20, 2009). Sociological Stud., Vol. 3, p. 139, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1098417

Taisu Zhang (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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