Alienation in Civil Disputes in Rural Areas and a Governance Approach

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.10, 2019


Alienation in Civil Disputes in Rural Areas and a Governance Approach



Lu Yilong


An ordinary rural neighborhood dispute that occurred in G province failed to be effectively mediated in the grassroots community. Thereafter, it went through the first-instance judgment of people’s court in the town, the second-instance judgment and retrial at the municipal middle-level people’s court, a protest to the provincial high people’s procuratorate, and the final judgment of the provincial high court. Although the case exhausted almost every judicial avenue, the dispute remained unresolved. The process of handling this civil dispute reflects alienation from the procedures, purpose and application of the law in civil disputes in circumstances where the rule of law and the countryside’s rule of rites have both failed. Alienation in rural civil disputes reflects the dual nature of legality in rural society; that is, although the distance between the law and the countryside is decreasing and “disputes handled through law” are increasing, it is getting harder and harder to resolve civil disputes. To deal with this issue, it may be necessary to move from dispute management to dispute governance and from diversified mechanisms to joint construction and governance, as well as including civil dispute management into the governance of rural society. We can thus build a mechanism for resolving community-level disputes with the participation of multiple social forces and a number of measures of synergistic governance.