Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Judicial Review in China

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 23, 2011


This snippet is about judicial review- the lack thereof in China. judicial review is a tool whereby there are checks and balances on a legal system. The idea is that judicial review is used to weed out poor decisions and also to build a block of good ones which should be followed. As china is ruled by communists whose power is complete, no judicial review is really allowed.

from A Constitutional Court for China Within the Chinese Communist Party Consortium for Peace & Ethics Working Paper 2008-1
Larry Catá Backer

“As for judicial review powers, Amended Article 5 of the 1982 Constitution reads,
“the People’s Republic of China governs the country according to law and makes
it a socialist country ruled by law,” [and Article 127 provides that the Supreme
People’s Court is the highest judicial organ. However, constitutionalism in action
and text reduced a potential for a rule of law rubric to a non-rule of law rubric,
reduced a potential for legal accountability to political accountability. This left
China’s judicial system without a positive discursive machinery for judicial
review: neither constitutional review or constitutional court, nor decentralized (or
diffused) or centralized (or concentrated) constitutional review.5
For Western observers of Chinese constitutionalism, then, there is no proper form of
constitutional (or judicial) review because there is neither an appropriate institutional mechanism
for its exercise set out in the Chinese constitution, nor is such a power otherwise vested in a
proper court within the organs of state power.

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