International Journal of Constitutional Law, Volume 21, Issue 2
Published: 26 May 2023
Abstract: This article examines the application of proportionality in Chinese administrative litigation over the last two decades and argues that courts in administrative litigation that serve the party-state and tend to uphold state/collective interest have altered proportionality to be state-centric. It finds that the courts invoked proportionality in a negligible portion of all administrative litigation judgments and had inadequate emphases on protecting individual rights. Proportionality has not appreciably assisted the courts in enhancing their oversight of governmental power and protection of individual rights. This article suggests that this is attributable to the restricted function of administrative litigation in China’s party-state governance structure and owing to the country’s long-held belief that public interest takes precedence over individual rights. Administrative litigation, which China’s ruling party employs to resolve principal–agent issues, is seriously constrained. The courts are expected to review the formal legality of executive actions, but not their substance. Informed by the Chinese human rights belief, which favors collectivism over individualism, the courts are skewed toward public interest in the balancing analysis when applying proportionality.