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Title: Access to justice for the Chinese consumer : handling consumer disputes in contemporary China
Author: Zhou, Ling
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 9411
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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This study explores the nature and significance of consumer dispute processes in China. It examines access to consumer justice issues, with particular reference to both consumer experience and the roles that the state, legal professionals and other social actors play in the consumer dispute processes. It focuses on one local area (Shenzhen, China) and uses an in-depth ethnographic approach to offer a realistic picture of consumer dispute resolution in China's socialist market economy. The principal question addressed is: how are consumer disputes resolved in this part of China today? The study analyses consumer dispute resolution practices in terms of various channels, including the handling of cases in the Consumer Council, the regulator's reporting system, the courts, the media, and online platforms. It determines that mediation or tiaojie in Chinese (by whatever provider) continues to be the dominant type of consumer dispute process. However, the style of mediation used - often differs from the approach to mediation in the common law world - is conducted by staff in public bodies and is a didactic process used largely to contain the impact of the dispute. The study also explores 'professional' consumers, who may well see themselves as ordinary consumers or mere citizens, but who develop expertise through repeat asserting of consumer rights in various consumer dispute processes. These professionals are regarded in this study as a modest form of 'consumer citizen' in China, and their activities do encourage reforms, despite sometimes hostile official attitudes. The present work contributes to our understanding of consumer protection and legal developments in China, and through its analysis of the China case offers contributions to the more general literature on dispute resolution, consumers' access to justice, and consumer protection.
Supervisor: Pirie, Fernanda Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Chinese legal studies ; consumer protection ; dispute resolution