A cultural study of administrative litigation in the People's Republic of China
The introduction of administrative litigation in the People's Republic of China in October 1990 initiated a new era in the Chinese ruled-rulers relationship. It broke through the entrenched ruled-rulers dichotomy and established a formal legal channel for ordinary citizens to defend their personal and property rights against any infringement by government officials' unlawful specific administrative acts. This thesis is the first empirical analysis of administrative litigation in the People's Republic of China to use a cultural approach. A microanalysis was conducted through interviews with 738 individual household proprietors and 152 government officials from the Hai Dian, Xi Cheng, and Xuan Wu districts of the Beijing municipality between mid-1996 and early 1997, with a four-page questionnaire to assess their administrative litigation cultures. Complemented by a macro analysis, the survey also examined the structure and problems of the PRC's administrative litigation through comprehensive literature reviews, in-depth personal interviews, and attendance in court hearings. The PRC's administrative litigation is a top-down contrivance of the rulers to uphold their rule. As such, it has never been a fully-fledged redress mechanism, but only a confined concession with restricted jurisdiction bound by a narrowly but cautiously construed Administrative Litigation Law. Implementation of the PRe's administrative litigation has been difficult and problematic. The resulting consequences are confined and biased towards the rulers. The overall usefulness of the mechanism is restricted. And its prospect is worrying. The empirical survey generates extraordinarily interesting findings. The affective orientation of both sample groups on the need for administrative litigation was found highly positive and supportive. Their evaluational orientation on the consequences of administrative litigation in the country was highly affirmative. And their expectational orientation towards the future of the PRC's administrative litigation was equally optimistic. The surveyed rulers were clearly better informed in their cognitive orientation, but more reserved in their jurisdictional orientation. Meanwhile, the majority of the surveyed ruled were clearly dismayed in their appraisal orientation regarding the usefulness of the PRC's administrative litigation. The latter is obviously below the acceptable threshold, and substantial improvement is needed if it is to help ameliorate the Chinese ruled-rulers relationship.