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Institutionalized Legal Cooperation – Experiences of GTZ in China Institutionalisierte rechtliche Zusammenarbeit: Die Erfahrungen der GTZ in China

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Abstract:

The German Development Corporation (GTZ) has supported the legal transition of China on behalf of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development since 1994. Labor and social security law were the first areas of cooperation, followed by economic law, civil law, budget and tax law, intellectual property law and to a smaller extent criminal law. While the original focus was on legislation, supporting the implementation of law is assuming a bigger role.

Legislation in China does not initiate, but rather consolidates development. The struggle towards an insolvency law shows that a private sector was established in the economy and that state owned enterprises were transformed without comprehensive regulations on the consequences of nonpayment. It is only after major restructurings that the insolvency law will regulate future practice concerning non performing debts (thesis 1). The Chinese legislator is a strong, autonomous decision-maker in respect of advice provided by partner institutions. For example, despite receiving advice that a comprehensive insolvency law is necessary as the basis of economic development, legislation in this regard followed its own Chinese path of development (2). Legal cooperation needs justification. While progress can easily be analyzed on the written level, changes in practice are difficult to measure (3). (Purely) technical advice is generally openly accepted. The goal of this work is achieving non-contradictory regulations that can serve as a basis for the rule of law (4). Many agencies are working in China. Since Chinese institutions are only partially interested in coordinating these activities, agency coordination is necessary, but often practically difficult due to national and institutional interests (5). The legislative process of transformation in China is, at least on paper, finished. However, while many laws, especially outside the economic sector, have not yet been fully transformed to meet the new needs of the new economy and society, conflicting regulations and problems of implementation are currently the main issues which must be addressed (6). Legislative processes have also changed the general political structure of China. In particular, the National People's Congress has gained more importance (7). Although implementation is a problem, it does take place. China is not a country where laws are written but unimplemented in practice. This can easily be seen in the rising tax revenue being collected yearly on the basis of a mostly unchanged tax law. Furthermore access to law has increased and the public has participated in legislative processes (8). The building of a court system in the last 20 years is impressive. Here, however, many tasks still lie ahead (9). GTZ has supported many of these changes. While doing this it has changed, moving from legislative efforts towards providing support in implementation as well as fostering international cooperation in Chinese institutions (10).

Language: ger

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1628/003372508783285766

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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