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Popular Attitudes towards Dispute Processing in Urban and Rural China

Ethan Michelson
Publication date: 
Thu, 24 Jan 2008

The legal system, defined as lawyers, police, and the courts, is only a very small part of the larger justice system in China. People with grievances rarely turn to lawyers and courts for help. 

Instead, they exhibit an extraordinary tendency toward ‘self-help’, including dispute avoidance and bilateral negotiation. When they do seek help from third parties, they are far more likely to approach local community leaders and government agencies than lawyers and courts.