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    From local to upper capture: the Chinese experiment of administrative courts

    Ma, C. and Cheng, Chao-Yo and Haibo, H. (2022) From local to upper capture: the Chinese experiment of administrative courts. China Review 22 (3), pp. 9-46. ISSN 1680-2012.

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    For decades, it has remained difficult for Chinese citizens to challenge government decisions through administrative litigation, as local governments control the crucial fiscal and personnel resources of the courts. In 2014, the Supreme People's Court announced the decision to allow the newly integrated railway transport courts (RTCs) to accept and hear administrative cases. Unlike the local people's courts (LPCs), the RTCs are under the direct administration of the provincial high courts. Drawing on a unique dataset of more than 238,000 first-instance judgment records between 2015 and 2019, we study whether the RTCs' incorporation into the adjudication of administrative cases has improved Chinese citizens' chances of winning their cases. Our multivariate regression analysis shows that only at the primary level are the RTCs more likely than the LPCs to side with citizens. Moreover, the primary RTCs' pro-plaintiff effect becomes statistically insignificant when the cases concerned are filed against government agencies from higher administrative levels. We also find suggestive evidence indicating provincial governments' implicit influence over the RTCs. Overall, China's experiment of administrative courts has achieved partial success. The RTCs' leverage to evade the capture by local government agencies may remain constrained given their embeddedness in the current Chinese political system.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Depositing User: Chao-Yo Cheng
    Date Deposited: 17 May 2022 15:02
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 18:16


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