Federalism and the Rights Revolution: Why Do Chinese Local Governments both Endanger and Expand Individual Land Rights?

Local governments in China are resisting and distorting the rights revolution in national law, at the core of which lies the imposition of constraints on those governments’ eminent domain power. Meanwhile, facing national legislative gridlock, local governments experiment with such initiatives as granting farmers land development rights. Why are Chinese local governments simultaneously endangering the tenure security of farmers and expanding their land rights beyond what is permitted under the law? I develop a bi-dimensional framework of federalism in China and argue the framework provides a better explanation of the governments’ seemingly contradictory attitudes than the conventional view of unidimensional federalism with interjurisdictional competition at its heart. Only the combination of horizontal and vertical federalism can incentivize local governments to protect individual land rights. Competition in one dimension alone cannot credibly commit governments to protecting rights.

From Institutional Interaction to Institutional Integration: The National Supervisory Commission and China’s New Anti-corruption Model

How does the establishment of the National Supervisory Commission affect China’s capacity to curb corruption? Using published materials and fieldwork data, this article addresses this question by comparing the newly established single anti-corruption agency with the previous dual-track anti-corruption system. It firstly examines the previous system by focusing on four dimensions of the interaction between the Commission for Discipline Inspection (CDI) and the People’s Procuratorate (4Cs): complementarity, convergence, competition and conflict. Although the CDI and the procuratorate compensated for each other’s deficiencies, competition and conflicts between two institutions were rife, reducing the efficiency of China’s anti-corruption work. The article then investigates the double-edged effect of building the National Supervisory Commission.

Unconstitutional Constitutional Change?: the Constitutional Logic of Chinese Economic Reform

The Chinese reform towards market economy has achieved remarkable success in the past 40 years. Yet the course of the reform experienced constitutional hurdles as the Constitution, established in 1982, held socialism, against capitalist way of production, as the central, ideological pillar that defines the Constitution. To legitimatize the reform, the authorities set out to revise the Constitution through constitutional amendments that allows private economies. This paper will trace out the constitutional logic of Chinese economic reform, highlighting how the Chinese authorities strive to fundamentally change the Constitution and evade the doubt of “unconstitutionality”. It argues that the reform, against conventional wisdom, did encounter constitutional challenges, especially the possibility of “unconstitutional constitutional amendment”, but the authorities, following a pragmatist approach, overcome them.