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Academic Articles Awards > Asian Antitrust

Judicial Control of Local Protectionism in China: Antitrust Enforcement against Administrative Monopoly on the Supreme People’s Court

Eric C Ip & Kelvin Hiu Fai Kwok, Journal of Competition Law & Economics,Volume 13, Issue 3, 1 September 2017

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This article studies the rise of judicial review of local administrative monopolies in contemporary China. Anticompetitive abuses of power by local party-states, driven by corruption, have shaken the very foundations of the country’s administrative unity and market efficiency. The entrenched skepticism of the authoritarian party-state toward legal institutions notwithstanding, the Supreme People’s Court in Beijing has over the past decade steadily aggrandized its own and local courts’ authority to constrain regional protectionist, collusive fiefdoms in ways unforeseen by the drafters of the landmark Anti-Monopoly Law; returning incremental but genuine benefits to the central party-state, whose tacit acquiescence in judicial empowerment has over time transformed into express approval. However, given that administrative monopoly is instinct in a Leninist polity, the central party-state and the Court should have few incentives to eradicate local protectionism once and for all. All things being equal, full-fledged, independent judicial review of administrative monopoly will not emerge in China.

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