Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


In April, 2008, Zhou Qiang, then the governor of Hunan Province (and current president of China's Supreme People's Court), presided over the adoption of the Hunan Provincial Administrative Procedure Provisions ("Provisions"). At its passage, this regulation represented the first comprehensive code of administrative procedure to be adopted in the People's Republic of China. This Note contends that Provisions represent a departure for administrative procedure in China, and should be viewed as a positive, if preliminary, step towards comprehensive rule of law.

Beginning with a brief overview of modern Chinese administrative law and its theoretical underpinnings, this Note presents the argument that in contrast to the Western legal tradition, the concept of due process has played a much less important role in the development of China's administrative legal regime. Viewed in this context, the Provisions should be seen as a prototype for a future national-level administrative procedure code, and an intentional step towards an official embrace of procedural due process both in theory and practice, along with the protections of individual rights and safeguards against government abuse that entails.