Peter A Allard School of Law

Inaugural Lecture with Professor Wei Cui: (Mis-)Understanding Ourselves, (Mis-)Understanding China: The Parable of Taxation

On subjects ranging from trade to human rights to democratization, there has been a crescendo of laments in Canada and other liberal democracies that China’s recent path of development contradicts earlier Western expectations. Yet these disappointments often originate in incomplete understandings of the Western institutions that China was expected to introduce. The path taken by China’s tax system effectively illustrates this idea, as it displays a pattern seen in other policy areas: initially, China heavily relied on models from advanced economies; unpredicted political processes then subverted these models in implementation; and the resulting “problematic” model turned out to be remarkably successful and resilient in critical respects. To articulate China’s subversion of Western models, we need better vocabularies to describe our own institutions and their conditions of success. This talk offers a precis of Professor Wei Cui’s forthcoming book, The Administrative Foundations of the Chinese Fiscal State.  

Wei Cui teaches tax law and policy, legal theory, and law and economics. 

Before joining the UBC law faculty, he practiced tax law for over 10 years, including as a U.S. tax associate at Simpson Thacher (in both New York and Beijing), as Senior Tax Counsel for the China Investment Corporation, and as a counsel-level consultant for Clifford Chance (Beijing). Professor Cui has held visiting professorships at the law schools of Michigan, Northwestern, Columbia, and Melbourne Universities, among other institutions, and has served as a consultant to the United Nations, the Budgetary Affairs Commission of China’s National People’s Congress, and China’s Ministry of Finance and State Administration of Taxation. 



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