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Yale Law School

Comparative and Foreign Law

Comparative Law

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The Xinfang Phenomenon: Why The Chinese Prefer Administrative Petitioning Over Litigation, Taisu Zhang Aug 2008

The Xinfang Phenomenon: Why The Chinese Prefer Administrative Petitioning Over Litigation, Taisu Zhang

Student Scholarship Papers

In recent years, the Chinese public, when facing disputes with government officials, hav 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 ...