Review essay - Access to justice in Post-Mao China: Assessing the politics of criminal and administrative law

Jonathan Kinkel*, William Hurst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

6 Scopus citations


Since the upheaval of the Cultural Revolution decade (1966-1976), post-Mao China has witnessed a sustained period of unprecedented legal reform. Criminal prosecutions and citizen lawsuits against the government, because they pit individual litigants against the authoritarian Chinese state, are two politically significant areas of law. We examine and critically assess the sociolegal scholarship on criminal and administrative legal reform as it has developed over the past few decades, with special attention to shifts in the conventional wisdom regarding legal reform and political liberalism in China and elsewhere. Additionally, we offer both theoretical and empirical suggestions for enhancing the explanatory power of sociolegal research in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-499
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of East Asian Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011



  • Administrative law
  • China
  • Courts
  • Criminal law
  • Law
  • Politics
  • Rule of law
  • Sociolegal studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Political Science and International Relations

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