The judicial thought and practice of Ma Xiwu has had great influence on the importance and style of mediation in the People's Republic of China. Ma was a key figure in Communist Party attempts to combine a socialist revolution with administrative consolidation during the late 1930s and the early 1940s. Although Ma's influence is now in decline, he played a vital role in the development of ideas of informal justice within China's socialist legal system and in the decisive years of revolution enabled the Party to avoid excessive reliance on legal work on the institutions and experience of the Soviet Union.

Ma was born into a peasant family in Bao'an (now Zhidan) County in Shaanxi province. He began his career as a socialist revolutionary in 1930, ...

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