Reflections on the Legal Features of the Socialist Market Economy in China

In: Frontiers of Law in China
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China’s socialist market economy is a market economy co-existing with a large public sector of the economy, affected by the State as a policymaker, a regulator and an important actor along with private ones; general interests in principle prevail over individual ones. A major role of the law is of providing the tools for administrative leadership and efficient macro-control. Legal and policy documents concur in indicating a model for the developing Chinese legal system: not as Western-style “rule of law” (r.o.l.); more and better socialist laws; effective supervision at all levels; intense macro-control over private economy; more efficient, law-abiding administration and legal institutions. The governing authorities are at different levels, according to the size/impact of each specific business, and each of them has or may have a say beyond the law, so implementing full macro- and micro-control on the market at various levels, through a substantial number of “policy checks” at appropriate junctions or in blank areas of the law. Differentiated “modes” of the law could be the results of a coordinated absorption within the socialist frame of values, mechanisms, norms, formants hailing from different sources.

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