This manuscript compares and contrasts the mediation models in Australia and China, and analyses the possibility of their combination. As an alternative to the court system, in the 1970s and 1980s, mediation became widely used as a method for dispute resolution in western countries in which the rule of law is highly valued, such as Australia. Whereas in China, the tradition of mediation has lasted for thousands of years and never ceased.

Chinese culture treats dispute as a shame because China has a proverb, “harmony is valuable.” The traditional dispute mediator was an honorable elder of the community. In China, mediation is not only a dispute resolution process, but also an educational process.

In the past century, although Chinese society has been rapidly changing and Chinese people are criti-cizing and rejecting their own traditions, the practices of mediation continue to maintain a strong traditional flavor. This results in an unsatisfied need of effective dispute resolution in China.

In western society, contemporary mediation is not based on collectivism or the traditional virtue of caring for others within the community, but rather for following the value of self-determination and individualism. Therefore, unlike the Chinese mediation model, the western contemporary mediation process is not bound by culture and tradition.

This essay also examines whether the Australian mediation model can address the unsatisfied need for effective dispute resolution in China. Because mediators maintain neutrality and impartiality, and empower parties to find their own solutions, among the urban professional population the Australian mediation model is more likely to satisfy parties’ various interests than the Chinese model.

Author Bio

Yang Zhang is a senior project officer for the Alxa Society of Entrepreneurs and Ecology, an environ-mental protection NGO initiated by leading Chinese entrepreneurs. Ms. Zhang holds a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies, as well as Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science. During her time at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, at the University of Sydney, she became interested in vari-ous issues regarding peace and conflict studies, including post conflict peacebuilding, community mediation, human rights, nonviolent social change, and economic factors that influence peace. Most of her research during that time period is related to conflicts in new democratic countries. Ms. Zhang had broad experienc-es in IT and business.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.