The rule of law in China and Taiwan - Toward "one China, better system"

C. V. Chen, Chao Chin Su, Yong Huang Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


This paper argues that Taiwan and China should sidestep the issue of what constitutes "one China" and instead improve the rule of law in their respective areas, which could lead to a better system of government. One element of a better system is prosperity, which both sides are quite keen on. But the remaining two components-freedom and democracy-cannot be realized without rule of law. Sun Yat-sen 's Three Stages of National Reconstruction offers a viable framework for the development of the rule of law on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. The rule of law in China is, with a few notable differences, at a similar stage of development as it was in Taiwan under martial law. Such a difference in the two governments' legal development could derail their efforts toward closer ties. China has to overcome many challenges before it can undertake legal reform; however, there is reason to believe and hope that the development and maturation of its legal system will continue. Discussions centered around "clean and efficient government and corporate governance" would help Taiwan and China take the first of many practical steps to accelerate cross-Strait exchange and relations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-247
Number of pages31
JournalIssues and Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 12 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Better system
  • Cross-Strait rule of law
  • Judicial review
  • Legal reform
  • One china
  • Two systems


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