Norm Systems in Contemporary China: Theory and Institutional Structure

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.7, 2019


Norm Systems in Contemporary China: Theory and Institutional Structure



Liu Zuoxiang


The governance of modern countries and societies is manifest primarily in the governance of their norm systems. The formation of norm systems occurs in response to the needs of the state and social governance and the modernization of governance capabilities. Norms create rules for the actions of various bodies such as organs of state, political parties, social organizations and individual citizens, and observes these rules. By reviewing and describing the institutional structure and theoretical issues of contemporary Chinese norm systems and demonstrating the existence of various types of norms, we can see that legal norms, party regulations, Party policies, state policies, and social norms are the types of norms objectively existing in contemporary Chinese society. Each of these plays a role in its own field; each has its own character, and their sources also differ. Legal norms come from organs of state with legislative power; internal Party rules and policies come from the ruling Party organizations; state policies come from the organs of state power; and social norms come from society itself and various social organizations. Due to their different sources, norms have varying legal status, roles and functions. The basic institutional structure in contemporary China is consisted of the various types of norms systems organically combined. In the rule of law construction in China, we should give an appropriate legal position to them and accurately define their status, role and interrelationship in social governance structure and rule of law structure, so as to construct the theory and institutional structure of norm systems of contemporary China.