Since the early 1980s, the People's Republic of China has been building legal institutions where no meaningful ones had existed before. This collection of essays by leading international scholars of Chinese law analyses the accomplishments of Chinese law reform and the problems that confrontthe Chinese leadership and the Chinese people in their struggle to define the role of law in China. Chinese economic reforms have led to a dramatic rate of economic growth, and have also made China the world's leader in attracting foreign capital. A sound legal system is not only essential forcontinued economic growth and foreign investment, but its future development will express and reflect the evolution of China's post-totalitarian political institutions.These essays focus on the changing Chinese conceptions of the role of law in shaping family relationships; the effectiveness of the courts in civil litigation; the operation of the criminal process; judicial decision-making; the evolution of a legislative process; the growth of a legal profession;the legal framework of foreign direct investment in China; and China's record as a member of the international community. An overview by the editor identifies the emerging functions performed in Chinese society by the new legal institutions and tries to analyse likely major influences on them in thenear future, including, among other contradictory forces, increased consciousness of individual rights and a tenacious insistence by the Chinese Communist Party on maintaining its power.