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The debate on public opinion and judicial impartiality in mainland China : a critical review from a comparative perspective

Duan, Zhuozhen


Zhuozhen Duan


Tony, 1957 Ward

Peter, 1950 Young


In recent years in mainland China, a number of high profile cases have caused a stir amongst the public and triggered concern on the part of Chinese scholars about the negative influence of public opinion on judicial impartiality and judicial independence: a concern evident in a significant amount of research literature published in Chinese. This thesis is inspired by this debate and aims to critically review how far the assumptions on which it is based can stand. It applies a social-legal approach to examine the theoretical issues involved in this debate in China’s distinctive social, cultural, political and systemic contexts. It is not an empirical study of public opinion in China, but rather aims to develop a contextualized understanding of the normative issues at stake. It argues that public opinion itself is subject to various influences and that the substance of what is meant by the term “public opinion” depends on circumstances and contexts. Chinese scholars have employed a number of rhetorical themes or topoi which are also used in, or originated from, Anglo-American jurisprudence and other western legal literature. Some of the relevant legal values are also established by the letter of Chinese law or/and are argued for by Chinese scholars. Therefore, this thesis has conducted its critique from a comparative perspective in order to advance the understanding of the variation of the substance of the relevant legal values and institutions which appear to be rhetorically the same in different contexts.


Duan, Z. (2014). The debate on public opinion and judicial impartiality in mainland China : a critical review from a comparative perspective. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 24, 2022
Publicly Available Date Feb 24, 2023
Keywords Law
Public URL
Additional Information Law School, The University of Hull
Award Date Jun 1, 2014


Thesis (2.5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2014 Duan, Zhuozhen. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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