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Durham University

Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Mathias Siems

Zhou, Tianshu & Siems, Mathias (2015). Contentious Modes of Understanding Chinese Commercial Law. Journal of International Commercial Law 6(2): 177-200.

Author(s) from Durham


Is Chinese commercial law simply a copy of German and other
Western commercial laws, a “mystery” that Westerns cannot understand,
or an “irrelevance” given the role of culture and politics in China? This
article critically discusses these three modes of understanding. It is found
that, while they seem to have some initial plausibility, one also has to be
aware of their shortcomings. Thus, in the understanding of Chinese
commercial law, it is most appropriate to take into account all three modes,
as well as their limitations. This article also suggests approaching this topic as a “bilateral process” since the understanding of Chinese law also
depends on the way Chinese law-makers understand Western legal systems.