The China Quarterly

Article Commentary

Commentary on “China's Courts: Restricted Reform”

Shen Kui

Benjamin Liebman has written a good article on a difficult subject. I have only a few comments, divided into three parts. In the first two parts, I consider Liebman's approach to such a historically complicated matter. I think it is appropriate to deal with it by focusing on the central question of whether the role of the courts in China's political system has changed as a result of reform; after an initial discussion, I show that Liebman has actually engaged in a political system analysis to reply to that central question. The third part presents my initial ideas about three different possible tests for evaluating judicial reform. Using these tests, I will look at the question of the sense in which reform could be regarded as “restricted,” as Liebman has suggested.