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We lack much essential knowledge, not only about Chinese Communist legal institutions, but about Chinese society generally – how it is organized, how power is distributed and wielded, and the nature of even the most ordinary relationships. Such ignorance is dangerous, especially when China and the United States, and their perceptions of each other, remain tragically far apart. An analysis of China's institutions for resolving disputes can teach much about its dominant values and authority relationships.

This Article examines the resolution of disputes between individuals in China, relying on documentary sources and on interviews conducted by the author in Mandarin with fifty Chinese emigres in Hong Kong from 1965 through 1967. The Article has several primary goals. By closely analyzing Chinese institutions that have hitherto been inadequately described in the West, it seeks to show how the disagreements, fights, and quarrels of ordinary people in China are settled. Further, it attempts to define Chinese Communist concepts of social conflict and social control, to deepen understanding of the Chinese institutions which manage conflict and exercise control, and to explore the functions of dispute resolution under Communism. Finally, this study compares traditional Chinese and Communist Chinese modes of dispute resolution.


Dispute Resolution and Arbitration | International Law | Law