'Mediate first': The revival of mediation in labour dispute resolution in China

Wenjia Zhuang, Feng CHEN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The past few years have witnessed the revival of mediation as a chief method of labour dispute settlement in China. While the central government's campaign has reinvigorated the use of mediation in order to control social conflicts and maintain stability, its expansion and extensive deployment have also been driven by local authorities, as mediation can better serve their policy priorities and bureaucratic interests. Not only does the extension of mediation provide local bureaucratic agencies with flexibility and discretionary power to resolve conflicts without having to comply with legal minimums, it also legitimizes the courts' "non-legalistic approach" to settling dispute cases. The extensive employment of mediation by local authorities has chipped away at the role of legal procedures in settling labour disputes. The revival of mediation embodies a tension between the rule of law the government has promoted since the reform and the extrajudicial methods it needs for controlling conflicts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-402
Number of pages23
JournalChina Quarterly
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • dispute resolution
  • grand mediation
  • judicialization
  • labour dispute
  • mediation


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