Bureaucratic politics in China’s antitrust enforcement*

Lecturer in Competition Law & Trade


King’s College London


In a recent paper, I investigated Chinese bureaucratic politics in-depth in order to analyse how these dynamics affect the outcome of antitrust enforcement in China. Bureaucratic politics are ubiquitous. Why do they matter particularly in the Chinese context? The answer lies in the quality of judicial supervision of administrative behaviour. China’s Administrative Litigation Law of 1989, which allows citizens to bring lawsuits against government agencies, has not proven to be effective for the establishment of rule of law in China. Indeed, since the enactment of the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML) in 2008, no single appeal has been lodged against any antitrust enforcement agency in a Chinese court. This absence of judicial review thus turns administrative enforcement of the AML into what is essentially a political process. Therefore the study of the bureaucratic structure, the policy process, as well as the incentives and the constraints faced by the enforcement agencies becomes essential to understanding the enforcement outcome.

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