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Foreign Law

Contemporary China Legal System

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) boasts a legal system deeply rooted in its rich history, cultural traditions, and evolving socio-economic landscape. As one of the world’s oldest civilizations, China has undergone significant legal reforms in recent decades to meet the demands of its modernizing society. China’s legal system has a profound historical foundation that dates back thousands of years. Traditional Chinese legal thought was heavily influenced by Confucianism, emphasizing social harmony, moral values, and the importance of benevolent governance. Legal codes such as the Tang Code and the Qing Code reflected these principles, with a focus on the emperor as the ultimate arbiter of justice. The contemporary PRC legal system is a complex framework that encompasses laws, regulations and institutions that include: – Constitution – Legislative Branch – Judiciary – Legal Codes and Legislation – Legal Professionals China’s legal system has undergone significant transformations in recent decades, reflecting the country’s rapid economic development and globalization which include: – Economic Reform and Legal Framework – Rule of Law and Judicial Independence – Anti-Corruption Campaign – Legal Reforms in Civil and Criminal Law Online Court China has been making efforts to modernize its legal system, including the introduction of online courts. China has been actively exploring the use of technology to improve its legal processes, and online courts have been one of the initiatives. The concept of online courts aligns with China’s broader goals of leveraging technology to enhance efficiency, accessibility and transparency in the legal system. Online court utilize technology for case filing, evidence submission, hearings and judgments. Video conferencing and other digital tools are employed to facilitate remote participation in legal proceedings. Legal System People’s Republic of China (PRC) has 33 administrative units govern directly under the central government which consists of 22 provinces, 5 autonomous regions, 4 municipalities and 2 special administrative regions.

The National People’s Congress (NPC) of the PRC is the most powerful authority in the country. NPC has the power to amend the Constitution, among others, to elect the office of president and the vice president of the country. (reference to Chapter III Sections 1 and 2 of the Constitution)

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee enacts and amends those laws that the NPC does not enact.

The State Council has the highest authorities of the State. (reference to Chapter III Section 3 of the Constitution) The Central Military Commission governs the military force of the country. (reference to Chapter III Section 4 of the Constitution) Local People’s Congresses are the authority of the local state. Local People’s Governments are empowering with the local state administrative authority. Local states include provinces and municipalities. (reference to Chapter III Section 5 of the Constitution)

Autonomous regions exercise their power to self-govern in accordance the authority empowers by the Constitution and the Law on Regional Ethnic Autonomy and other laws based on their political, economy and customs of the local ethnic groups in their regions. (reference to Chapter III Section 6 of the Constitution)

The National Commission of Supervision is responsible to the NPC and NPC Standing Committee. It has the highest supervisory authority. Under the National Commission of Supervision, there are Local Commissions of Supervision. (reference to Chapter III Section 7 of the Constitution)

The People’s Courts of the PRC are the adjudicatory authorities which consist of Supreme People’s Court, Local People’s Courts, Military Courts and other Special People’s Courts. The Supreme People’s Court is the highest adjudicatory court. It is responsible to NPC and NPC Standing Committee. (reference to Chapter III Section 8 of the Constitution)

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate is the highest procuatorate authority. Except in special circumstances, all cases are to be tried in public.

There are hundreds of local dialects in PRC, the People’s courts and the People’s Procuratorates provide translation services and the local courts and procuratorates would use the language commonly used in that state.

China Constitution

The Constitution consists of 143 articles. It is said in its preamble that PRC is one of the countries having over 3000 years’ history in the world. It is one of the world’s four ancient civilization countries.

The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China was adopted at the Fifth Session of the Fifth National People’s Congress and proclaimed on 4 December 1982. The fifth amendment was adopted on 11 March 2018

Socialism is the fundamental legal ideology of the PRC law. The Constitution provides that all the power of the country belongs to the people.

Article 3 of the Constitution says

the state institutions of the People’s Republic of China shall practice the principle of democratic centralism.”

Article 4 provides that

all ethnic groups of the People’s Republic of China are equal……………………….. all ethnic groups shall have the freedom to use and develop their own spoken and written language and to preserve or reform their own traditions and customs.”

The ideology of the Constitution promulgates the impartiality and equality of the people, Article 5 provides that

no organization or individual shall have any privilege beyond the Constitution or the law.”