The Media and the Courts: Towards Competitive Supervision?

Benjamin L. Liebman, Columbia Law School


Scholarship on Chinese governance has examined a range of factors that help to explain the resilience of authoritarianism. One understudied aspect of regime resilience and institutionalization has been the growing importance of supervision by a range of party-state entities. Examining court-media relations in China demonstrates that “competitive supervision” is an increasingly important tool for increasing state responsiveness and improving accountability. Court-media relations suggest that China is seeking to develop novel forms of horizontal accountability. Placing such relations in a broader institutional context also helps to explain why common paradigms used to analyze them may be inapplicable in China.