Chinese Law, Trade and the New Century

Berring, Robert C. | January 1, 2000

China crammed a great deal of political activity into the 20th Century. In the year 1900 the Q’ing Dynasty still ruled the remnants of an ancient empire. The Q’ing conspired with rebels in the Boxer Rebellion in the hopes of expelling all foreigners from Chinese soil and returning to splendid isolation. In the year 2000 China is a superpower balancing communist theory and a capitalist market that is about to join the World Trade Organization. The intervening years saw warlords, democrats, fascists, Marxists and all stripes of communists leading the world’s largest nation. As China enters the new millennium of the Western calendar, it behooves us to reflect on how we perceive China as participant in the world trading community. In part this will call for an assessment of China as a legal entity. What can we expect from this nation that has proven so volatile in recent decades? Are the fireworks over, or are we just at a pausing point? This essay will approach these questions by looking at the roots of Chinese legality.