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Chinese socialism : an iterative perspective of the legal framework of market economies of the People's Republic of China Au, Matthew Kingcheong


This dissertation suggests that “socialism with Chinese characteristics” or “Chinese socialism” is an evolving and adaptable, rather than transitory and conflicting, ideology. I emphasize the iterative and evolutional characteristics of the ideology, which occurs not only between economic and legal institutions, but also between social and political ones. I also stress the effect of global institution in this iterative evolution. The iterative evolution denotes an interplay of ideological and practical aspects of Chinese socialism and represents a sequential institutional development of modern Chinese reforms. Among them, two institutional changes are noteworthy, namely property rights and market economy reforms. Using capital and land markets as examples, I show that ‘market’, as an institution that aims to delineate property rights, has flourished ongoing developments of property rights of capital and land markets, albeit in different manners respectively, in China. The case study of capital and land market demonstrates practical aspects of Chinese reforms including pragmatic, self-improvement, open, stability, and efficacy ideas. I further argue that property rights reform is an impetus to the rule of law, whereas efficacy and stability mandates are conducive to open, yet controlled, society. This dissertation is otherwise devoted to providing a normative view on the long run evolution of Chinese socialism. I conclude that while Chinese reform appears lacking in a grand design that can articulate all of its content at the outset, an open policy and the interplay of socialism and local practicality will in the long run evolve towards a rule of law based open and controlled society in the PRC. Further, as Chinese pragmatics, open culture, self improvement, stability, and efficacy are external mandates, which need be asserted by political leaders and policy makers of the PRC, political instability, ruling legitimacy, social instability, human right and civil liberty conflicts are all obstacles to the continuity and sustainability of the contemporary reforms. This dissertation suggests further study of the iterative process to address parallel developments of institutional reforms in political, social and legal areas.

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