552 Law and Governance in China

China’s development without a western-style rule of law raises numerous questions. Does law matter in China? If yes, how does it work? What roles has law played in China’s economic, social and political development? This seminar covers both law on the books and law in action, emphasizes change and development in understanding law and governance, and takes China as a comparative case study to deepen our understanding of the fundamental nature of legal institutions. This seminar also features guest speakers from Yale, Princeton, Harvard, and other institutions. 

Evaluation: class participation: 30%, students should read assigned readings in advance and be prepared to be on call every week; paper(s): 70%. Students can choose to write five response papers (four pages each) or a research paper (20 pages minimum). Students should submit their research paper proposal by Sept. 23, which explains their research question, methods and plan. Finalized paper is due on December 16. The instructor keeps the discretion of approving or not approving a research paper proposal. Research papers are also qualified to satisfy JD students’ writing requirements (30 pages minimum), if they so choose. 

Course Areas of Practice
Evaluation Methods
  • Research and/or analytical paper
  • Class participation
Degree Requirements
Course Type
  • Seminar
Learning Outcomes
  • Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law

Fall 2022

2022
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

552.01 2
  • Research and/or analytical paper
  • Class participation
Shitong Qiao W 2:00 PM-3:50 PM 4000

China’s development without a western-style rule of law raises numerous questions. Does law matter in China? If yes, how does it work? What roles has law played in China’s economic, social and political development? This seminar covers both law on the books and law in action, emphasizes change and development in understanding law and governance, and takes China as a comparative case study to deepen our understanding of the fundamental nature of legal institutions. This seminar also features guest speakers from Yale, Princeton, Harvard, and other institutions. 

Evaluation: class participation: 30%, students should read assigned readings in advance and be prepared to be on call every week; paper(s): 70%. Students can choose to write five response papers (four pages each) or a research paper (20 pages minimum). Students should submit their research paper proposal by Sept. 23, which explains their research question, methods and plan. Finalized paper is due on December 16. The instructor keeps the discretion of approving or not approving a research paper proposal. Research papers are also qualified to satisfy JD students’ writing requirements (30 pages minimum), if they so choose. 

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None

Fall 2021

2021
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

552.01 2
  • Research paper option, 25+ pages
  • Research and/or analytical paper
  • Class participation
Shitong Qiao Tu 2:00 PM-3:50 PM 3000

Is there law in China? Does law matter in China? If yes, how does it work? The same as how law works in the U.S.? This seminar endeavors to understand law and governance in China. We will explore the following questions together: What is the constitutional and private legal foundation of Chinese economy? What roles has law played in the different stages of China’s market transition and different sectors of Chinese economy? China’s transformation from a planned economy to the arguably most capitalist country in the world, despite the absence of a well-functioning legal system, at least from the western perspective, raises numerous questions. Why do Chinese obey or not obey the law? How does law cope with a rapidly changing society? How does law interact with (both high and low) politics? This seminar covers both law on the books and law in action, emphasizes change and development in understanding law and governance, and takes China as a comparative case study to deepen our understanding of the fundamental nature of legal institutions.

Class participation: 10%; 2 response papers (1 page per paper): 20%; final paper (18 pages minimum): 70%. JD students have an option to write a longer paper (30 pages minimum) including extensive research and original ideas to satisfy their writing requirements. Please seek the instructor's approval for this writing credit by the end of October. 

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None

Spring 2019

2019
Course Number Course Credits Evaluation Method Instructor Meeting Days/Times Room

552.01 2
  • Reflective Writing
  • Research and/or analytical paper(s), 10-15 pages
  • Group project(s)
  • Class participation
Shitong Qiao Th 4:00-5:50 PM 3171

China’s transformation from a planned economy to the most capitalist country in the world, despite the absence of a well-functioning legal system, at least from the western perspective, raises numerous questions. This seminar endeavors to understand Chinese capitalism from the law and economics perspective. What is the constitutional and private legal foundation of Chinese capitalism? What is the role of law in Chinese society and business? What roles has law played in the different stages of China’s market transition and different sectors of Chinese economy?  

This course takes an integrative, evolutionary, and comparative approach. Firstly, it integrates studies of black-letter law with observations of Chinese society. In particular, it explores whether and how black-letter law is implemented in reality through a series of case studies in property, corporate governance, constitutional review, etc. Secondly, it investigates the evolution of Chinese law to deepen our understanding on Chinese law and also shed light on its future direction in a rapidly shifting environment. Thirdly, it takes China as a comparative case study to enhance our understanding of law and market institutions.

Grading Basis: Graded

Pre/Co-requisites
None

*Please note that this information is for planning purposes only, and should not be relied upon for the schedule for a given semester. Faculty leaves and sabbaticals, as well as other curriculum considerations, will sometimes affect when a course may be offered.