Post-Wto China and Independent Judicial Review

44 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2004

See all articles by M. Ulric Killion

M. Ulric Killion

Shanghai International Studies University


Before accession to WTO, China made substantial advances towards modernization. Since initiating economic reform and an open door policy some 25 years ago, the Chinese economy experiences high rates of growth. The West now stands in critical judgment of China's progress towards rule of law, especially its lack of positive discursive model for judicial review. It is a pre-judgment tainted by Western bias and taxonomies, however. Critiques ignore the dangers to China's fragile infrastructure; i.e. polity, socioeconomic, and legal, that must be carefully guarded, lest China suffer setbacks in its legal reforms and economic development. A need for stability results in a steady, yet gradual, approach to modernity.

Despite the Maoist era, one surmises that China's legal system bares a rich history in Chinese jurisprudence. Recent attempts to make China's constitution justiciable, prophesies an optimistic future for judicial review and genuine constitutionalism. However, the prophecy of judicial review is not necessarily reflexive of the principles of Marbury vs. Madison; rather, it is a prophecy of a distinctive Chinese legal system that reflects traditional Chinese jurisprudence. Chinese philosophy, history, culture, particularism, and nationalism, combine to educe a distinctive legal culture that prophesies both a distinctive Chinese fazhi (rule of law) and judicial review. There is rule of law in China, but it is a Chinese variant of Western rule of law, which continues to evolve.

Keywords: China, Judicial Review, rule of law, Constitution, WTO, Confucianism, Legalism, nationalism, universalism, particularism, philosophy, culture, history

JEL Classification: K33, K29, K00, F13, F19, N45

Suggested Citation

Killion, M. Ulric, Post-Wto China and Independent Judicial Review. Houston Journal of International Law, Vol. 26, No. 3, pp. 507-559, Spring 2004, Available at SSRN:

M. Ulric Killion (Contact Author)

Shanghai International Studies University ( email )

620 Gubei Road

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