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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 2 No 1 (2000)

Globalisation and Local Legal Culture: Dilemmas of China's Use of Liberal Ideals of Private Property Rights

Pitman B Potter is Director of the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. He is also Professor of Law and Director of Chinese Legal Studies at UBC's Faculty of Law.

This article addresses the tensions between globalised norms of liberalism that are being imported to China and local norms emphasising state control, with specific attention to changing relations of property and the state in China. Drawing on the theoretical literature in international political economy and on critical perspectives about private international law, the article examines the extent to which China's authoritarian state has managed relations of property in local markets. The transition from a planned to a market economy is at root an issue of the character and regulation of property rights. And to the extent that property relations affect the terms and conditions of economic transaction, the state's laws governing property serve as an important expression of the state's policies on economic life. Not surprisingly, therefore, regulation of property rights in the PRC reflects the contours of debates over economic policy. These domestic debates and the property system that has emerged from them also operate in the context of China's increased participation in the international economic system, which has brought increased pressures to conform to norms of liberal market capitalism.

(2000) 2(1) Asian Law 1

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