Reforming the People's Mediation System in Urban China

27 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2008

See all articles by Aaron Halegua

Aaron Halegua

New York University School of Law; Harvard Law School


After its "revitalisation" after the Cultural Revolution, China's people's mediation system declined throughout the 1990s. However, a "second revitalisation" that began in 2002 has quite successfully reversed this trend. This article discusses this reform effort in four parts. Part I explores the reasons for the 1990s decline of people's mediation in urban China and the government's interest in strengthening this institution. Policy reforms at the national level - particularly the issuance of the "Three Documents" - are analysed in Part II. Part III describes the basic unit in the urban people's mediation web, the community PMC, and then details the web's "vertical expansion" and "horizontal expansion," including new forms of cooperation with the police and courts. The paper concludes with Part IV, which discusses the new "legalised" nature of urban people's mediation and evaluates the significance of the reforms described above.

Keywords: China, mediation, law, society, empirical

JEL Classification: K00, K33, K41

Suggested Citation

Halegua, Aaron, Reforming the People's Mediation System in Urban China. Available at SSRN: or

Aaron Halegua (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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