Breaking the Dilemma Between Litigation and Non-Litigation: The “Diversified Mechanism of Dispute Resolution” in China

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 4:00 PM-5:30 PM
CLM.3.05 (Clement House)
Jieren Hu, Tongji University, Shanghai, China
 Focusing on the dispute resolution mechanisms for defusing various social disturbances and collective incidents during the reform period and particularly since last decade, this paper aims to argue that the Chinese government has adopted pragmatic and problem-solving approaches to design and develop various mechanisms of dispute resolution in response to the complicated and challenging situation with accumulating intensity of social contention. A “diversified mechanism of dispute resolution” (DMDR) has its rationale in Chinese society where political power is still centralized by the Party-state and the civil society is relatively weak. There is evidence that neither litigation nor non-litigation way of dispute resolution could effectively resolve social conflicts but a mechanism with Chinese characteristics is required to meet all kinds of social needs and manage social crisis across the country while balancing the state power and social self-governance. This study also finds a clear shift from an emphasis on the earlier non-litigation approach to a more diversified way of addressing collective disputes in contemporary China.