Protest-Supported Litigation in Housing Demolition in China

Project: Research

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Housing demolition has been a major source of social conflicts in contemporary China. The current literature has primarily focused on the defective procedure in the demolishing process and residents’ resistance outside the courtroom. Consequently, little is known about how affected residents integrate collective energy into litigation and the changes of the court and other state institutions in responding to such conflicts. This Project aims to expand our preliminary research on protest-supported litigation in housing demolition to five locations with representative profiles of different levels of economic development, state resources and political ideology. Through systematically and empirically examining how the plaintiffs organize themselves and how local courts and related state institutions respond to them in these places, this Project will document variations of the case numbers and outcomes, state responses, identify their respective characteristics, and explore their underlying causes. The findings of this Project will shed light on how litigation is politicized, how legal strategies are innovated, and the evolution of rule of law in China from a bottom-up perspective. They will also shed light on the evolving relationship between state and society in China, the challenges and opportunities for political reform, including increased public participation and political accountability, and the evolution of rule of law including judicial independence in authoritarian countries such as China.


Project number9041698
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/1229/06/16