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Abstract

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. This Research Guide will be the first step in your journey with Chinese law. China grows more important every day from a global perspective. However, studying and conducting research on Chinese law can be extremely challenging, especially if you do not know Mandarin well. This book is intended as a compact but comprehensive research guide that would provide students (especially those who are preparing coursework or dissertations about Chinese law), researchers and legal practitioners with the necessary knowledge about how to conduct effective Chinese legal research.
CHINESE LAW
RESEARCH GUIDE
BY
ZUZANNA KOPANIA
IGOR SZPOTAKOWSKI
Authors
Zuzanna Kopania
Igor Szpotakowski
Reviewers
prof. Mingzhe Zhu
China University
of Political Science and Law
dr hab. Joanna Grzybek
Jagiellonian University
Proofreading
Daniel Purisch
JD (Harvard), LLM (Cambridge)
Editorial Proof and Composition
Karol Łukomiak
Cover design
Zuzanna Kopania
Publication financed by the Council of Student Academic Societies
of Jagiellonian University in Cracow (Rada Kół Naukowych UJ).
e research conducted for this publication was financed from the budget
for science in 2020-2024, as a research project under the “Diamond Grant”
program (grant no. DI2019010949). Principal Investigator: Igor Szpotakowski.
e research conducted for this publication at University of Oxford
was financed by the Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund.
© copyright by authors & ArchaeGraph
ISBN: 978-83-66709-47-8
eISBN: 978-83-66709-48-5
Ebook is available on the publisher’s website:
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Wydawnictwo Naukowe
Łódź-Kraków 2020
Table of Contents
FOREWORD 7
INTRODUCTION 9
CHAPTER 1
CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM IN A BRIEF 13
Philosophical context of Chinese law 13
Chinese Legal History 16
Chinese Legal System 24
CHAPTER 2
THE CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH 29
Introduction to Legal research 29
Chinese law and the jurisprudential framework
of the Roman law 31
Starting with secondary resources 33
How to research PRC’s legislation? 34
How to research court judgments
and decisions? 36
First steps 36
What is the Guiding Cases System?
And how to find them? 37
Where to watch court trials in China? 39
How to research and read Chinese contract? 39
How to cite Chinese legal sources? 52
CHAPTER 3
USEFUL WEBSITES
AND BLOGS ABOUT CHINESE LAW 53
FINAL REMARKS 59
BIBLIOGRAPHY 61
APPENDIX
INDEX OF CHINESE LEGAL TERMS 75
7
FOREWORD
It is a great honour and pleasure for me to pen this fore-
word for what will undoubtedly be a useful resource for any-
one undertaking research on the PRC legal system and its
laws. Over the past two decades, this subject area has seen ex-
ponential growth in scholarly and practitioner interest outside
the PRC. Such interest has certainly been fuelled by China’s
rise as an economic and political actor on the global stage
and its increasingly active role in seeking to shape international
and transnational norms, rules, and institutions. For example,
the Chinese-led Belt and Road Initiative may see the further
development and growing influence of Chinese legal norms
and practices in international commercial transactions.
As a lawyer trained and qualified in common law jurisdic-
tions, I started researching Chinese law around 15 years ago
at the University of Sydney when I was studying for a joint
economics and law degree. I emigrated from China to Australia
at a young age and was very fortunate to maintain my mother
tongues (Cantonese and Mandarin). Back in the mid-2000s,
I found that there were few online and publicly available pri-
mary sources of Chinese law in Chinese or English. ere were
also not many books on Chinese law that I could find in uni-
versity libraries or bookshops in Sydney. So, when I received
8
FOREWORD
an Australian government scholarship to study at Tsinghua
for a semester in 2007, I took an empty suitcase with me and
brought back to Australia two more suitcases of books and pa-
pers by Chinese legal scholars (I still do this regularly). Within
a very short span of time, we are very fortunate that digitalisa-
tion has made it so much easier to access a wide range of Chi-
nese law materials online.
I would like to take this opportunity to encourage law
students using this valuable research guide to continue pursu-
ing their interest in Chinese law. My scholarly and professional
interest in Chinese law opened up doors for me in legal prac-
tice, academia, and international organisations. A few years ago,
I had the incredible opportunity of being appointed to the first
academic post in Chinese law at the University of Oxford, with
the role of developing the subject as a new field of study at Ox-
ford and cultivating ties between Oxford and leading Chinese
law schools.
Last but not least, I would like to congratulate Zuzanna
and Igor for undertaking this important initiative and extend
my well wishes to the users of this research guide. Jia you!
Dr Mimi Zou, Oxford
15 December 2020
9
INTRODUCTION
News about the People’s Republic of China is gene-
rating headlines and discussion in media and academia
around the globe almost every day1. One the one hand,
China is the most populous and one of the largest coun-
tries on Earth, with one of the largest economies, but on
the other hand the PRC is a constant mystery and someti-
mes even a ‘mental trap’ for a European-educated lawyer2.
e uniqueness of China and its legal system requires not
only a good understanding of how Chinese law works, but
also how to gain reliable knowledge about it and properly
analyse that information.
In recent years, many universities around the Eu-
rope have established research centres for Chinese law
(such as the Centre for Chinese Law and Policy (CCLP)
1 J. W. Tkaczyński, Ł. Gacek, China’s environmental policy in terms of
European Union standards, Göttingen 2020, p. 17.
2 B. Góralczyk, Wielki Renesans. Chińska transformacja i jej konsekwen-
cje, Warszawa 2018, p. 13.
10
INTRODUCTION
of Durham University3, the Finnish China Law Centre4,
the China Law Centre of Erasmus School of Law5 or the
Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy of China6)
and schools of Chinese law (e.g. at Jagiellonian Universi-
ty in Cracow7, University of Warsaw8, University of Si-
lesia9 and University of Gdansk10). is shows that there
is a great demand for scholarly research and instruction
in Chinese law across Europe, but there is also a noti-
ceable interest in Chinese law among legal practitioners
seeking to learn more about the legal solutions applied in
the People’s Republic of China in order to increase their
commercial awareness. Regardless of the reasons for this
interest, the question remains how to effectively search for
reliable information on this topic.
is book is intended as a compact but comprehensi-
ve research guide that would provide students (especially
those who are preparing coursework or dissertations about
Chinese law), researchers and legal practitioners with the
3 Centre for Chinese Law and Policy (CCLP): https://www.dur.ac.uk/
cclp/, access 20.11.2020.
4 Finnish China Law Center: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/chinalawcenter/,
access 20.11.2020.
5 Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, China Law Centre of Erasmus
School of Law: https://www.eur.nl/esl/research/research-institutes/
china-law-centre, access 20.11.2020.
6 Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy of China http://chi-
nalaw.wpia.uw.edu.pl/research-centre/, access: 20.11.2020.
7 Jagiellonian University School of Chinese Law and Culture: https://
okspo.wpia.uj.edu.pl/spch, access: 20.11.2020.
8 School of Law and Economy of China of University of War-
saw: http://chinalaw.wpia.uw.edu.pl/about-the-school/, access: 20.
11.2020.
9 University of Silesia School of Chinese Law and Culture: https://
www.wpia.us.edu.pl/studia/szkola-prawa-i-kultury-chinskiej, access:
20.11.2020.
10 University of Gdansk Chinese Law School: https://prawo.ug.edu.pl/
oferta/szkolyprawaobcego/szkolaprawachinskiego access: 20.11.2020.
11
INTRODUCTION
necessary knowledge about how to conduct effective Chi-
nese legal research.
Although we acknowledge that there are other out-
standing books on Chinese legal research11, most of them
are largely outdated or almost impossible to obtain. Al-
though we have been able to consult most of these books,
either in the course of our personal research or during the
preparation of this guide, our efforts to obtain them were
difficult, time consuming and expensive. at is why we
decided to write a research guide that will be available via
open access to anyone, anywhere in the world.
After this short introduction, this guide is divided
into three chapters, followed by final remarks, a biblio-
graphy and list of relevant sources, and, finally, an index
of Chinese legal terms (as Appendix 1).
Chapter 2 overviews the Chinese Legal System, brie-
fly discussing its legal culture and legal history, as well as
the main sources of law in the People’s Republic of China.
Chapter 3 discusses Chinese Legal Research, and con-
tains the following sections: Introduction to Legal Rese-
arch; Starting with secondary resources; How to research
PRC legislation; How to research court judgments and
decisions; How to research and read Chinese contracts;
How to cite Chinese legal sources.
Chapter 4 discusses websites and blogs about Chinese
law which could be useful in conducting your research.
e last chapter consists of short summary of the ma-
terials and tips contained in this book.
11 For example: L. Foster, T. Yajima, Y. Lin, China Law Reader, San
Francisco 2013 or P. Kossof, Chinese Legal Research, Durham 2014.
12
INTRODUCTION
Finally, we would both like to wish you the best of
luck and every success in your journey with Chinese law
and legal research!
Zuzanna Kopania
Igor Szpotakowski
13
Chapter 1
THE CHINESE LEGAL
SYSTEM IN BRIEF
THE PHILOSOPHICAL CONTEXT
OF CHINESE LAW
John K. Fairbank and Denis Twitchett in the gene-
ral editors’ preface to ‘e Cambridge History of China’
book series have commented that the history of Chinese
civilization is broader and more complex than the history
of any single Western nation1. In fact, the history of the
Middle Kingdom is only just marginally less ramified than
the history of European civilization as a whole2. According
to Janos Jany, the Middle Kingdom is remarkable in that
Chinese legal history until the end of the 19th century
is the history of almost identical patterns continuously re-
peating itself for millennia without any ground-breaking
1 e Cambridge History of China. Volume 1: e Ch'in and Han
Empires, 221 BC–AD 220, Denis Twitchett, Michael Loewe (Eds.),
Cambridge 1986, p. VI.
2 Ibidem.
14
Chapter 1
changes3. is is indeed a considerable simplification; ho-
wever, it is true that the influence of the major Chinese
philosophical doctrines like Confucianism (儒家 Rujia),
Legalism (法家 fajia), Daoism (道教 Daojia) and Chi-
nese Buddhism (汉传佛家 Hanchunfojia), which are
a substantial part of the Middle Kingdom civilization,
shaped Chinese views on morality and law for centuries4.
e most influential of them were Confucianism and Le-
galism, which are still the main underpinnings of China’s
legal system5. Chang Wang and Nathan H. Madson have
characterised current Chinese law as legalistic while still
retaining a Confucian face6. As this is not a book abo-
ut the philosophy of Chinese law, but a research guide,
we will cover these issues quite briefly. However, get-
ting acquainted with these philosophies will definitely
aid one’s understanding of how Chinese legal culture
and how Chinese people themself view the role of law and
its implementation; such knowledge is crucial for con-
ducting any research about China. If you are interested
in reading more on this subject in a broader context, we
recommend Dingxin Zhao’s e Confucian-Legalist State:
A New eory of Chinese History7 or, for Polish speakers,
Mateusz Stępień’s Spór legistów z konfucjanistami. Wokół
chińskiej kultury prawnej8.
3 J. Jany, Legal Traditions in Asia - History, Concepts and Laws, Cham
2020, p. 309.
4 Ibidem, p. 326-327.
5 Chang Wang, Nathan H. Madson, Inside China's Legal System,
Oxford, Cambridge, New Delhi 2013, p. 27.
6 Ibidem.
7 Dingxin Zhao, e Confucian-Legalist State: A New eory of Chinese
History, New York 2015.
8 M. Stępień, Spór konfucjanistów z legistami. Wokół chińskiej kultury
prawnej, Kraków 2013.
15
CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM IN A BRIEF
In a 1978 paper, Luke T. Leel and Whalen W. Lai
briefly summarised the approach to law taken by the Chi-
nese philosophical traditions of Legalism, Confucianism
and Buddhism:
Major Chinese traditions may be characteri-
zed in terms of their conceptions of law, man, and
the cosmos as follows: the Legalist believes in man,
or rather, the king, as the agent in the creation
of law; the Confucian trusts in the natural harmony
between man’s ritual propriety and the natural prin-
ciples of the universe; and the Buddhist believes in
the sacred transcendental law, with a historical but
superhuman origin in the teachings of one man-the
Buddha9.
e Confucian vision of the society is based on a pa-
triarchal hierarchical system in which each person’s role
is determined by their position in society, as well as by
familial and personal connections10. Confucian filial pie-
ty ( xiao) and respect for elders can easily be spotted
in the General Part11 of the new Chinese Civil Code12. Ac-
cording to the Confucians, everyone should be guided by
9 Luke T. Leel, Whalen W. Lai, e Chinese Conceptions of Law: Con-
fucian, Legalist, and Buddhist, Hastings Law Journal, vol. 29, issue 6,
article 3, 1-1978, p. 1308.
10 Chang Wang, Nathan H. Madson, op. cit., p. 28.
11 See article 26 of the Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China,
adopted May 28, 2020, effective Jan. 1, 2021: Parents have the obli-
gation to raise, educate and protect their minor children. Adult children
have the obligation to support, assist and protect their parents (父母对未
成年子女负有抚养、教育和保护的义务。成年子女对父母负
有赡养、扶助和保护的义务).
12 G. Lebedowicz, I. Szpotakowski, B. Wiśniewski, Zarys chińskiego
prawa cywilnego w dobie kodyfikacji, Toruń 2019, p. 129.
16
Chapter 1
tradition and ritual ( li), which is far more important
than the law ( fa)13.
In contrast to the Confucian vision, the Legalists ar-
gue that the law should comprise principles and standards
of conduct backed by the power of the state authority and
publicly promulgated in legal codes14. e Legalist vision
of the society is assumes that the rule of law is higher than
the tradition or rituals15. But according to them the ruler
was above the law, while for Confucianism legal institu-
tions were far less important than the judgment of moral
men16.
Chinese Legal History
e beginning of imperial China according to
J. K. Fairbank dates to the year 221 BC, when Qin Shi
Huang unified Chinese territory by conquering various
warring states17. Since the Warring States period, almost
every Chinese dynasty has established legal codifications18.
However, the earliest known set of laws that has survived
in its entirety is the Tang Code, in its version from the year
65319. e code was first promulgated in 637 during the
reign of Emperor Taizong and can undoubtedly be called
one of the most important monuments of law not only
13 J. M. Zimmerman, China Law Deskbook: A Legal Guide for For-
eign-invested Enterprises, ird Edition, Chicago 2010, p. 36.
14 Chang Wang, Nathan H. Madson, op. cit., p. 35.
15 J. M. Zimmerman, op. cit., p. 40.
16 Ibidem.
17 J. K. Fairbank, M. Goldman, China: A New History, Cambridge,
London 2006, p. 54-57.
18 M.E. Lewis, China’s Cosmopolitan Empire: e Tang Dynasty, Cam-
bridge, London 2009, p. 50.
19 T. Brook, J. Bourgon, G. Blue, Death by a ousand Cuts, Cam-
bridge, London 2008, p. 37.
17
CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM IN A BRIEF
in the history of China, but the whole world20. e era of
the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE), according to Geoffrey
MacCormack and Wang Feng-Xin, marked a culmination
in the development of Chinese civilisation with respect to
law21. e Tang legal code represents a great intellectual
achievement, and several of its rules and distinguishing fe-
atures have appeared in later codes of Song dynasty (960-
1279 CE), Yuan dynasty (1279-1368 CE), Ming dynasty
(1368-1644 CE) and finally many centuries later in the
code of the Qing dynasty (1644-1912 CE) which formed
the basis of Chinese law until 191122. When writing abo-
ut Chinese law of the imperial era, one must worth to
bear in mind that the theory that ancient law in China
only concerned penal and administrative matters is just
an oft-repeated myth23. It is important to remember that
Chinese courts rarely hear purely commercial disputes sin-
ce civil cases have traditionally been settled through either
mediation or arbitration24.
As China has played a hegemonic role in the region
and is very fond of its culture, tradition and closed le-
gal system, it has sought to limit the impact of foreign
20 I. Szpotakowski, Złota era w historii Chin – panowanie cesarza Ta-
izong’a z dynastii Tang, [in:] Monarchia. Idea, Historia, Perspektywy, K.
Kofin, M. Kofin (Eds.), Kraków 2018, p.177.
21 Geoffrey MacCormack, Wang Feng-Xin, e T'ang code: early Chi-
nese law, Vol. 18, no. 1 (summer 1983), p. 132.
22 Ibidem.
23 I. Szpotakowski, Z. Kopania, Między prawdą, a mitem – o kon-
tro-wersjach co do istnienia prawa cywilnego w Chinach dynastycznych,
[in:] Rozważania nad procesem stanowienia prawa w Polsce i Chinach
na przestrzeni wieków. Wybrane zagadnienia, I. Szpotakowski (Ed.),
Łódź – Kraków 2020, p. 117-133.
24 J. M. Zimmerman, op. cit., p. 41.
18
Chapter 1
superpowers25. e so-called Unequal Treaties concluded
between the Qing dynasty and several countries (the Bri-
tish Empire, United States of America, Russian Empire,
Empire of Japan, French colonial empire, Portugal etc.)
were intrusive and a result of “gunboat diplomacy”26.
To follow Japan in its (successful) efforts to become an
equal to those powers, China decided to abandon its legal
tradition and create civil and criminal codes27. e Chine-
se government assumed that the new codification of civil
and criminal code would lead the British Empire to ful-
fil its promise made in a trade deal on 5 February 1902
to relinquish the extraterritorial rights British citizens in
China enjoyed under an unequal treaty signed in 184228.
e new Civil Code was supposed to include five parts:
the General Part, Liabilities, Property Law, Family Law
and Inheritance Law. is followed the “pandectic” syste-
matization that had been developed at the turn of the 19th
century in German lawyers’ textbooks seeking a way to
apply Roman law to contemporary needs. At the turn of
the 20th century, it became the basis of the system of many
25 M.R. Auslin, Negotiating with Imperialism: e Unequal Treaties
and the Culture of Japanese Diplomacy, Cambridge-London 2004,
p. 16.
26 e time between 1839 and 1949 is often called the “century
of humiliation”. A. Kaufman, e “Century of Humiliation” and
China’s National Narratives, e U.S.-China Economic and Secu-
rity Review Commission 2011, https://www.uscc.gov/sites/default/
files/3.10.11Kaufman.pdf, access: 10.12.2020; I. Szpotakowski, Suw-
erenność państwa i rządy prawa: kodyfikacja prawa prywatnego w Chin-
ach, Świat Idei i Polityki 2018, Vol. 17, p. 161.
27 I. Szpotakowski, Suwerenność…, p. 161.
28 In the 1902 trade deal, the British Empire committed to relinquish-
ing its citizens’ rights to extraterritoriality once the Chinese Empire
changed its outdated laws and adjusted them to modern western stan-
dards. e United States of America and Japan followed with similar
commitments. Ibidem.
19
CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM IN A BRIEF
European civil law codes29. e penal code was adopted
in May 1910. It aimed to abolish cruel and unusual pu-
nishments such as slicing to death or desecrating a corpse,
to introduce a court system with four levels30 (indepen-
dent from the administrative offices) and to reform the
prison system31. Due to the fall of the dynasty the plan-
ned civil code was never adopted. However, it did become
the basis for further work on codification projects32. Both
codes resembled the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches
Gesetzbuch)33.
When the Qing dynasty ultimately fell in 191234,
the Republic of China was created. Its constitution con-
tained a USA-influenced Bill of Rights35. Between 1912
and 1931 the constitution was redrafted multiple times,
incorporating several other Western-style legal provisions.
During the same period, the Republic of China revised
and eventually adopted a civil law system that introdu-
ced the Six Codes of the Guomindang and was modelled
on European legal codes36. e six codes were the Or-
ganic Law of the Courts, Commercial Law, Civil Code,
29 Ibidem.
30 In 1906 the Court of Judicial Review became the Supreme Court
and in 1907 a four-level court system began to be implemented.
By 1911 there were 345 established courts. X. Xu, Heaven Has Eyes:
A History of Chinese Law, New York 2020, p. 114.
31 Ibidem, p. 111-112.
32 I. Szpotakowski, Suwerenność…, p. 162.
33 M. Łągiewska, Charakterystyka chińskiego prawa cywilnego – wybrane
aspekty, “Gdańskie Studia Azji Wschodniej” 2017, No. 12, p. 86-87.
34 Z. Kopania, Proces powstawania Kodeksu Qing (1646 – 1912) i jego
dziedzictwo, [in:] Rozważania nad procesem stanowienia prawa w Pol-
sce i Chinach na przestrzeni wieków. Wybrane zagadnienia, I. Szpota-
kowski (Ed.), Łódź – Kraków 2020, p. 176.
35 P.R. Luney, Jr, Traditions and Foreign Influences: Systems of Law
in China and Japan, Law And Contemporary Problems, Vol. 52,
No. 2, 1989, p. 131.
36 Ibidem.
20
Chapter 1
Criminal Code, Civil Code of Procedure, and Criminal
Code of Procedure. e legal transplants made by Chi-
na marked a critical turning point in its legal history and
changed its legal system forever. e Criminal Code in the
Republic of China was inspired by the criminal codes of
Hungary, Germany, Holland, Italy, Egypt, Siam and Ja-
pan37. e Civil Code (which was eventually promulgated
in 193038) was based on the Swiss, Japanese and German
codes (but unlike those it did not separate civil law from
commercial law)39 and the Code of Civil Procedure was
based on the Austrian Code. At the same time the courts
were organized on the French model, except that China
followed the Anglo-American principle of separating the
judiciary from the executive40.
In February 1949, the CPC Central Committee of
the People’s Republic of China announced the decision
to abolish the Republic of China’s legal system. ey tho-
ught what was created from 1912 was a bourgeois law not
fit for Chinese people and intended just to protect those
in privilege41. ey established the Judicial Principles in
the Liberated Area. Between 1949 and 1953, 148 laws
and regulations were enacted42. PRC’s legal system was
significantly inspired by Soviet Union’s43. In 1951 the
Supreme People’s Court was established, as well as 2,547
37 Ibidem.
38 I. Szpotakowski, Suwerenność…, p. 164.
39 Chen Lei, e historical development of the Civil Law tradition
in China: a private law perspective, e Legal History Review 2010,
No. 78, p. 169-171.
40 P.R. Luney, Jr, op.cit., p. 131.
41 Chen Lei, op.cit., p. 173.
42 P.R. Luney, Jr, op.cit., p. 131.
43 P. Kossof, Chinese Legal Research, Durham 2014, p. 7.
21
CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM IN A BRIEF
local courts44. Approximately 25,000 judges were installed,
mostly on the basis of their political standards rather than
their legal background45. e period from 1954 to mid-
1957 is sometimes referred to as the golden age of legal
development in the People’s Republic of China due to
the considerable progress made in the creation of a formal
legal system46. With the promulgation of the first Consti-
tution of PRC in 1954 the framework for the system was
established, and it was later supplemented by organic laws
for the courts and the procuracy. Additionally, during this
golden age of legal development scholarly research flo-
urished and several law books and two major law journals
were created and meticulous work on creating civil and
criminal codes began47.
In 1957 an extensive Anti-Rightist political cam-
paign took place, during which many judges were criti-
cised for using the people’s courts against the people48.
e Soviet-Chinese alliance shattered and Chinese le-
aders abandoned the Soviet legal model49. Between 1957
and 1965, some Chinese jurists, legal scholars, and party
leaders made efforts to modernize the legal system. Several
attempts were made to draft uniquely Chinese legal codes
based on Chinese characteristics and not on foreign mo-
dels, but none was successful50. Eventually during the Cul-
tural Revolution (1967 to 1977) the judicial system that
has been set up in the 1950s was completely destroyed,
44 Y. Li, e Judicial System and Reform in Post-Mao China: Stumbling
Towards Justice, Surrey-Burlington 2014, p. 1.
45 Ibidem.
46 P.R. Luney, Jr, op.cit., p. 133.
47 Ibidem.
48 Y. Li, op.cit., p. 2.
49 P.R. Luney, Jr, op.cit., p. 133.
50 Ibidem.
22
Chapter 1
the legal profession was abolished and public and security
organs were merged into regional single organisations un-
der the control of the revolutionary committee51. As legal
procedure was abandoned, special case groups were set up
and empowered to try and sentence individuals52.
According to Lin Yan, the modern Chinese legal
system emerged in 1976 after the death of Chairman
Mao and the fall of the so-called 'Gang of Four', a radi-
cal faction inside the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)53.
Another important reason was that spectacular economic
development since 1978's Deng Xiaoping’s ‘open door’
policy, needed a sustainable and predictable legal system
to attract foreign investments in China54. During the
third session of the Eleventh Communist Party’s Con-
gress in 1978 the Party declared that its priority will shi-
ft from class struggle to economic development55. After
the end of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese Communist
Party leaders shared a consensus that the kind of lawles-
sness seen during the Cultural Revolution should not be
allowed to happen ever again and all aspects of life both
in political and in social context should be protected by law56.
In August 1980, the National People’s Congress adopted
the PRC Provisional Regulations on Lawyers restoring
the legal profession that was abolished in 1959 and in July
51 Y. Li, op.cit., p. 2.
52 Ibidem.
53 Lin Yan, A brief legal history of Modern China, [in:] L. Foster,
T. Yajima, Y. Lin, China Law Reader, San Francisco 2013, p. 11.
54 Ibidem; Guanghua Yu, Introduction, [in:] Rethinking Law and De-
velopment: e Chinese Experience, Guanghua Yu (Ed.), Abingdon,
New York 2013, p. 1.
55 Y. Li, op. cit., p. 2.
56 X. Xu, op. cit., p. 232.
23
CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM IN A BRIEF
1986 the National Association of Lawyers was founded57.
By 1989 more than 3,500 law firms had been in operation
nationwide, with over 31,000 lawyers58. By June 1995
there were almost 89,000 lawyers and more than 7,200
law firms59. Even the number of law schools in China rose,
from two in the end of 197760 to more than 100 in 2020.
e political jargon of the late 1970s and 1980s included
key terms like “improving the legal system” (健全法制
jianquan fazhi) and “enforcing the rule of law” (实行法治
shixing fazhi), the latter coming into more regular usage
in the 1990s and after61.
In 2009 Lei Chen described Chinese legal moderni-
zation as an immature process, even though he admitted
that it is rapidly developing and ongoing62. More than
a decade after that statement the question arises whether
the Chinese legal system has changed significantly. In the
last decade, the Chinese legal system has developed to the
point that it is no longer just a recipient of Western mo-
dels, but rather an innovative system whose legal solutions
have begun inspiring other countries, especially in the are-
as of innovation and new technologies. With the adoption
of the first civil code in the history of PRC by the 13th
National People’s Congress in Beijing on 28 May 2020
another step in this development has taken place. China
57 Ibidem, p. 241.
58 Ibidem.
59 Chenguang Wang, Introduction: An Emerging Legal System, [in:]
Introduction to Chinese Law, Chenguang Wang, Xianchu Zhang
(Eds.), Hong Kong-Singapore 1997, p. 13.
60 Ibidem.
61 X. Xu, op. cit., p. 232
62 Lei Chen, e historical development of the Civil Law tradition
in China: a private law perspective, e Legal History Review 78
(2010), p. 160.
24
Chapter 1
is also not afraid to refer to its rich tradition and histo-
ry in legal acts, for example in the case of using custom
as a source of law in Chinese civil code63 or in understan-
ding the principle of good faith64.
The Chinese Legal System
When one is first embarking on a journey through
Chinese law, it is crucial to remember that Chinese law
is very different from the common law jurisdictions that
many English-speaking lawyers come from or are fami-
liar with. Court’s decisions do not have precedential value
in civil law, which means that Chinese courts do not have
to follow the decisions of other courts65. Chinese law
is a civil law tradition system with Chinese characteristics.
Its national legislation is often quite vague and aims to
focus on main policies and goals, while filling in the detail
of specific rules frequently is left to additional regulations.
us, researchers cannot limit themselves to reviewing
national legislation, as it definitely does not provide the
full scope needed to conduct valuable research66. National
legislation does not include the definitions of the terms
it uses; to find that one must take a closer look at admini-
strative and local regulations67.
63 I. Szpotakowski, Geneza i rola zwyczaju w nowej części ogólnej ko-
deksu cywilnego Chińskiej Republiki Ludowej, Warsaw University Law
Review, Volume XVIII, no. 1/2019, p. 173-186.
64 I. Szpotakowski, Polish and Chinese civil law perspectives on the prin-
ciple of good faith, [in:] China and the Chinese in the modern world.
An interdisciplinary study, Zuzanna Kopania, Igor Szpotakowski, Kra-
ków-Łódź 2020, p. 115-128.
65 P. Kossof, op.cit., p. 7.
66 Ibidem.
67 Ibidem.
25
CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM IN A BRIEF
As this is a Research Guide, we will not describe eve-
ry organ of every central body of the People’s Republic
of China in detail. Key entities, persons, and issues inclu-
de: the National People’s Congress, the NPC’s Standing
Committee, the President and Vice-President of the Pe-
ople’s Republic of China, the State Council, the Central
Military Commission, the judiciary and in particular the
Supreme People’s Court, prosecutors’ offices within the
Supreme People’s Procuratorate, supervisory commissions
and especially the National Supervisory Commission,
the legislative mode and the party system, taking into ac-
count the changes effected through the 2018 amendment
to the constitution of the PRC68.
e Chinese legal system follows the (European)
continental legal tradition which means that the sources
of law are mainly statutes and written legal documents69.
ose sources are:
1) Constitution (宪法 xianfa) – e current Consti-
tution of the People’s Republic of China was promulgated
in 1982 and later amended in 1988, 1993, 1999, 2004
and in 2018. It consists of an extended preamble and
143 articles divided into 4 chapters (General Principles;
e Fundamental Rights and Duties of Citizens;
e Structure of the State; e National Flag, the Na-
tional Anthem, the National Emblem and the Capital).
e legal system that functions in the People’s Republic
of China, although formally recognized as a statutory
68 See: I. Szpotakowski, Konstytucyjne ramy systemu rządów w Chińskiej
Republice Ludowej, Białostockie Studia Prawnicze 2019, Vol. 24 No.
4, p. 189-205.
69 Chenguang Wang, Introduction: An Emerging Legal System [in:] In-
troduction to Chinese Law, Chenguang Wang, Xianchu Zhang (Eds.),
Hong Kong-Singapore 1997, p. 15.
26
Chapter 1
system, in practice is a hybrid: due to the traditional ele-
ments of the continental legal system (codifications) and
references to the common law system, especially in con-
tract law and company law70. Since 2008 it has not been
permitted for the Constitution to be quoted in judicial
verdicts and administrative decisions, and the Constitu-
tion thus exerts little influence over daily legal practice71.
2) Law (法律 falü) – is category includes all legal
documents promulgated by the National People’s Con-
gress and its Standing Committee which means laws, de-
cisions and ratified international treaties72.
3) Administrative regulations (行政法规 xingzheng
fagui) – e State Council issues rules concerning import-
ant issues in the country (although they cannot contradict
the Constitution)73.
4) Administrative rules (行政规章 xingzheng guiz-
hang) – Issued by the ministries, commissions and depart-
ments of the State Council aim to regulate matters under
their jurisdiction74.
5) Local regulations (地方法规 difang fagui) –
ese are enacted by local people’s congresses and their
standing committees, and they affect their respective
territories75.
70 I. Szpotakowski, Konstytucyjne ramy systemu rządów w Chińskiej Re-
publice Ludowej, Białostockie Studia Prawnicze 2019, Vol. 24 No. 4,
p. 192.
71 Chenguang Wang, Introduction: An Emerging Legal System, [in:] In-
troduction to Chinese Law, Chenguang Wang, Xianchu Zhang (Eds.),
Hong Kong-Singapore 1997, p. 18.
72 Ibidem.
73 Ibidem, p. 18-20.
74 Ibidem, p. 20.
75 Ibidem.
27
CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM IN A BRIEF
6) Local administrative rules (地方行政规章 difang
xingzheng guizhang) – ese are issued by provincial,
city and county governments and their administrative
branches and aim to implement national laws to their
respective locations76.
7) Autonomous regulations and special regulations
(地方自治条例和单行条例 difang zizhi tiaoli he danx-
ing tiaoli) – is category contains autonomous and spe-
cial regulations made by the people’s congresses and their
standing committees77.
8) Autonomous rules (地方自治规章 difang zizhi
guizhang) – Autonomous governments have powers sim-
ilar to local governments and therefore may make rules
regulating day to day matters78.
9) Regulations by Special Economic Zones (经济
特区法规 jingji tequ fagui) – Special Economic Zones
have the power to enact regulations that institutionalize
their economic practices79.
10) Interpretations of law – As Chinese legal acts are
mostly enacted in general and vague terms, their inter-
pretation by various authorities effectively forms an im-
portant source of law. Without them Chinese law could
be unusable and sometimes even misleading. In general,
legislative interpretation means interpretation given by
legislative authorities on laws and rules issued by them-
selves; administrative interpretation refers to interpreta-
tions given by administrative authorities of these rules and
regulations; and judicial interpretations are those issued
76 Ibidem.
77 Ibidem.
78 Ibidem.
79 Ibidem.
28
Chapter 1
by the Supreme People’s Court (司法解释 sifa jieshi) and
the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in their adjudicative
and procuratorial work80.
11) Guiding cases system (案例指导制度 anli zhid-
ao zhidu) – See: Chapter 2: Chinese Legal Research, sub-
chapter: What is the Guiding Cases System? And how can
you find them? (page 39).
12) Hong Kong basic law (香港基本法 xianggang
jiben fa) and Macao (澳门特别行政区基本法 aomen
tebie xingzhengqu jibenfa) – the Concept of ‘Special Ad-
ministrative Region’ (SAR) and the formula of ‘one
country, two systems’ which is applied to Hong Kong
and Macao basically means that within a unified country
the fundamental political, socio-economic and legal sys-
tem in an SAR may be allowed to be different from the
rest of the country to deal with the difficult issue of na-
tional unification81.
13) Common practice – ose are the informal ele-
ments of legal practice (for example, since it is not pro-
scribed by law, lawyers often try and meet with judges
before trials to influence their opinions)82.
14) Custom (习惯 xiguan) – Article 1083 of the new
Chinese Civil Code restores custom as a source of Chinese
civil law84.
80 J. Chen, Chinese Law: Context and Transformation Revised and Ex-
panded Edition, Leiden, Boston 2016, p. 266-267.
81 Ibidem, p. 144.
82 Ibidem, p. 22.
83 In Chinese: 第十条 处理民事纠纷,应当依照法律;法律没
有规定的,可以适用习惯,但是不得违背公序良俗。
84 I. Szpotakowski, Geneza i rola zwyczaju w nowej części ogólnej ko-
deksu cywilnego Chińskiej Republiki Ludowej, Warsaw University Law
Review, Volume XVIII, no. 1/2019, p. 173.
29
CHINESE LEGAL SYSTEM IN A BRIEF
15) International treaties – When China becomes
a signatory party of a treaty, the treaty becomes an integral
part of PRC’s legal system85.
In the People’s Republic of China only Chinese na-
tionals may hold Chinese law licences or represent clients
in court. Foreign counsel may only represent a client thro-
ugh assuming the client’s position and latter waiving its
right to counsel86. is creates a substantial challenge for
us foreign legal professionals, but one should not get di-
scouraged, as the puzzle that is the Chinese legal system is
incredibly fascinating and amply rewards those who enga-
ge with it.
85 Ibidem.
86 P. Kossof, op.cit., p. 7-8.
31
Chapter 2
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
Introduction to legal research
According to Michael Salter and Julie Mason ‘rese-
arch’ signifies the systematic study of a topic1:
‘Research’ seeks to define, describe and explain
what the topic is and how it has come to be distinct
from other similar phenomena. Research requires the
ability to access and then critically assess the various
debates and issues that the topic has generated. Rese-
arch is usually assessed […] in terms of its accuracy,
the scope and depth of appropriate reading, explana-
tory power, and the extent to which it has developed
a suitably critical analysis of both the explicit claims
and implicit assumptions which currently prevail re-
garding the topic2.
1 Michael Salter, Julie Mason, Writing Law Dissertations: An Intro-
duction and Guide to the Conduct of Legal Research, Dorset 2007, p. 6.
2 Ibidem.
32
Chapter 2
Researching Chinese law is not an easy task. Firstly,
according to Xiaomeng Zhang, successful research on
Chinese law requires a solid understanding and know-
ledge of the Chinese legal system and its major primary
and secondary resources3. Basic proficiency in understan-
ding Chinese legal language is also important to under-
standing the historical subtext of the legal system and the
ever-expanding list of primary law sources4. According
to Evelyn Ma and Xiaomeng Zhang, without some basic
proficiency in the Chinese language, it is difficult to cor-
rectly understand the contextual meaning of legal terms
and the context of their usage5. Sometimes, academic pa-
pers on Chinese law published in English lack discussion
about the most recent current legal topics because the-
re are not many sufficiently high-quality translations of
Chinese law and secondary resources are not consistently
available6. However, in opinion of the authors of this Re-
search Guide, there are enough resources in English to
conduct fairly in-depth research and write an academic
text on Chinese law, especially at the level of university
coursework or an initial paper published in an academic
legal journal. e previous chapter presented the basic in-
formation about the Chinese legal system and its history
and presented many additional sources in the form of fo-
otnotes that can be consulted. X. Zhang stated that often
a complete legal research requires starting with secondary
3 Xiaomeng Zhang, On describing Chinese legal research - Paul Kossof,
Chinese Legal Research book review, e Chinese Journal of Compara-
tive Law, 2015, p. 194.
4 Evelyn Ma, Xiaomeng Zhang, Researching Chinese Law Using Legal
Periodicals in English and Chinese: A Critical Overview, Legal Refer-
ence Services Quarterly 2015, 34:1, p. 19.
Ibidem.
6 Ibidem.
33
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
resources and cannot be finished without making sure pri-
mary sources of law are still valid7. According to her, both
steps are quite essential and should not be omitted witho-
ut good justification8 . Secondary sources, such as research
guides, monographs, and journal articles, help one get the
basics of the Chinese legal system, and they also help iden-
tify most of the relevant primary sources9.
In this Chapter, we first discuss the relevance of the
jurisprudential framework of Roman law for research abo-
ut Chinese law. e next sub-chapter then lists academic
journals regarding Chinese law. You will learn how to re-
search PRC’s legislation, how to research court judgments
and decisions and how to research and read Chinese con-
tracts. And finally, you will learn how to cite Chinese legal
sources.
Chinese law and the jurisprudential framework
of Roman law
Although Chinese law is one of the oldest legal tra-
ditions in the world, changes that occurred in the twen-
tieth century resulting in the adoption of Western-style
laws marked a significant turning point10. For the first
time China has moved away from traditional Chinese so-
ciety and old Chinese philosophies11. A frequently asked
question is how we should research Chinese law. Should
7 Xiaomeng Zhang, On describing…, p. 195.
8 Ibidem.
9 Ibidem.
10 P. R. Luney, Traditions and Foreign Influences: Systems of Law
in China and Japan, Law and Contemporary Problems, vol. 52, no.2,
p. 131.
11 Ibidem.
34
Chapter 2
we use the jurisprudential framework of the Roman law
or should we pay special attention to the Chinese cha-
racteristics, despite the fact that the law looks similar to
the law of the European civil law tradition countries, like
Germany or France?
Franciszek Longchamps de Bérier described the
jurisprudential framework of the Roman law as a rese-
arch approach that can be applied to any legal tradition12.
Roman law, so extensive and dogmatically rich, has un-
dergone many centuries of evolution and took on at va-
rious stages its history many regulations that dealt with
the same issues13. So Roman law created a framework
of concepts14. is framework can be treated as a langu-
age of speaking about law in general, even regardless of
the legal tradition from which the applicable regulations
originate15. eoretically good knowledge of Roman
law allows you to describe every law16. Secondly, Roman
law provides a framework for discussions about the law
in civil law tradition countries and its national regulations:
about reform for some countries, and, for others, develo-
ping the legal system from scratch17.
So, can we use jurisprudential framework of Roman
law as a method of analysing Chinese law? In opinion
of the authors of this Research Guide, the answer is yes,
but only if we also have a good knowledge of Chinese
law and Chinese legal culture and legal history. Chinese
12 F. Longchamps de Bérier, Law of Succession: Roman Legal Frame-
work and Comparative Law Perspective, Warszawa 2011, p. 17-18.
13 Ibidem.
14 Ibidem.
15 Ibidem.
16 Ibidem.
17 Ibidem.
35
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
society is now fully mature to accept and use legal struc-
tures consistent with its history, the oldest and the most
recent, with the recognition of the significance of law that
was not born in China – the Roman law tradition18.
Starting with secondary resources
Research on Chinese law should normally begin with
secondary sources. In the bibliography of this Research
Guide you will find books and articles that may inspire
you to try and find answers to your questions. Here I will
only present a list of academic journals that are worth lo-
oking at when you are searching for information on a spe-
cific topic regarding Chinese law:
Peking University Journal of Legal Studies
Frontiers of Law in China
Tsinghua China Law Review
China Legal Science
Peking University Law Review
e Chinese Journal of Comparative Law
China-EU Law Journal
Gdansk Journal of East Asian Studies (in Polish
and English)
Chinese Law and Government
Chinese Journal of International Law
German Journal of Chinese Law (Zeitschrift für
Chinesisches Recht)
18 Riccardo Cardilli, Diritto cinese e tradizione romanistica alla luce del
nuovo Codice civile della Rpc, Mondo Cinese: Rivista di Studi sulla
Cina Contemporanea, vol. 167, no. 1, p. 41.
36
Chapter 2
How to research PRC legislation?
English translations of Chinese primary sources
of laws and regulations have become more readily avail-
able in proprietary databases and in the public domain19;
unfortunately, however, there is no comprehensive or up
to date collection of Chinese laws in English on open
access websites20. One source for English translations of
many laws is the National People’s Congress Database of
Laws and Regulations21, but the quality of the translations
is sometimes not very good or might even turn out to be
misleading. Additionally, bear in mind that the English
translation of laws are never official. For Chinese speakers
there is a governmental open-access website of the Min-
istry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China (中华人
民共和国司法部 Zhonghua renmin gongheguo sifa bu)22.
Other national governmental and administrational units
also often provide their laws and regulations through their
websites, although unfortunately the English version of
those websites usually has less information than the orig-
inal Chinese version23. erefore, researchers looking for
the official legal acts usually need to use the Chinese ver-
sion of the website. Paul Kossof in his book ‘Chinese Le-
gal Research’ proposed the following instruction how to
19 E. Ma, Xiaomeng Zhang, Researching Chinese Law Using Legal Pe-
riodicals in English and Chinese: A Critical Overview, Legal Reference
Services Quarterly 2015, 34:1, p. 19.
20 China & Hong Kong Legal Research Guide: Legislation https://
unimelb.libguides.com/china/legislation, access: 09.12.2020.
21 Laws of the PRC (Translation for reference only), www.npc.gov.cn/
englishnpc/lawsoftheprc/list.shtml, access: 12.12.2020.
22 Ministry of Justice of the People's Republic of China (中华人民
共和国司法部) www.chinalaw.gov.cn/Department/node_592.html,
access: 12.12.2020.
23 P. Kossof, Chinese Legal Research, Durham 2014, p. 50.
37
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
search for primary sources of law at any of PRC’s govern-
mental websites:
On the main Chinese homepage, look for a link
to “法律法规” (“legal legislation”), “法规” (“leg-
islation”) or “规定”(“regulations”). at page will
have a list of regulations. e next step will be to
search the page with the Chinese name of the regu-
lation found through Baiduor a subscription- based
services24.
As the students do not usually have access to subscrip-
tion-based databases the authors will only here mention
the databases that have large resources of PRC laws and
regulations: Chinalawinfo25, Westlaw China26 and Lexis
China27.
e NPC Observer blog28 and China Law Transla-
tion29 website also sometimes have good-quality, although
unofficial, English translations.
On 24th February 2021, Chinese National People’s
Congress (NPC) launched an online database of Chinese
legal acts: the National Database of Laws and Regulations
(国家法律法规数据库 Guojia falu fagui shujuku)30. is
database in the future will be probably one of the main
sources for browsing, search, and download Chinese legal
acts.
24 Ibidem, p. 50.
25 Chinalawinfo, http://www.chinalawinfo.com, access: 10.12.2020.
26 Westlaw China, http://www.westlawchina.com/index_en.html, ac-
cess: 10.12.2020.
27 Lexis China, http://www.lexisnexis.com.cn/en-cn/products/lexis-
asia.page, access: 10.12.2020.
28 NPC Observer https://npcobserver.com/, access: 07.12.2020.
29 China Law Translate https://www.chinalawtranslate.com/en/, ac-
cess: 07.12.2020.
30 National Database of Laws and Regulations, https://flk.npc.gov.cn/,
access: 25.02.2021.
38
Chapter 2
How to research court judgments and
decisions?
First steps
Case law is very important when you are conduc-
ting research on Chinese law. And luckily since July 2013
the “China Judgments Online” website – an initiative
of China’s Supreme People’s Court – has been online. All
Chinese courts must post their judgments on this open
access website; as of December 2020 there were more
than 109,037,905 documents published there31. e
website includes not only criminal, civil, and administra-
tive judgments, but also other judgment documents such
as payment orders and state compensation decisions32.
e website China Judicial Process Information Online
(中国审判流程信息公开网)33 may also be useful in exa-
mining the Chinese judicial system. Many English ver-
sions of judgments are available in databases like Westlaw
China34 or BeiDa Fabao - Cases Database35.
31 China Judgements Online (中国裁判文书网), access: https://wen-
shu.court.gov.cn/, access: 10.12.2020.
32 Ibidem.
33 China Judicial Process Information Online (中国审判流程信息
公开网), https://splcgk.court.gov.cn/, access: 10.12.2020.
34 Westlaw China, http://www.westlawchina.com/index_en.html,
access: 10.12.2020.
35 BeiDa Fabao - Cases Database, http://www.pkulaw.cn/cluster_call_
form.aspx?menu_item=case, access: 10.12.2020.
39
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
What is the Guiding Cases System?
And how can you find them?
e Supreme People’s Court (最高人民法院
Zuigao Renmin Fayuan) has not been passive in shaping
the processes of Chinese law, although the judicial func-
tion of the SPC is not as important as in Common Law
Systems like the UK or USA36. Most recently the process
of shaping Chinese law by judicial power has been sup-
plemented through the so-called “guiding cases” system
(案例指导制度 Anli zhidao zhidu) since 2010, whereby
the SPC compiles the most important and high-quality
examples of High People’s Courts (高级人民法院 Gaoji
renmin fayuan) case judgments to encourage reform de-
liberation and more informed and consistent judgments37.
A White Paper on Judicial Reform in China issued
in October 2012 in Beijing defined this system in Part
II. “Maintaining Social Fairness and Justice”, Section 2,
“Standardizing Judicial Acts”.
In 2010, China’s judicial organs issued regulations on
building a case guidance system, marking the establish-
ment of a case guidance system with Chinese characteri-
stics. Different from the system of case judgment in the
common law, China’s case guidance system - under the
statutory law - uses cases to give directions for the accurate
understanding and appropriate application of the provi-
sions of laws. In recent years, judicial organs have made
public cases that are typical in the application of laws as
guiding cases and references for judicial personnel at all
36 Ronald C. Keith, Zhigiu Lin, Shumei Hou, China’s Supreme Court,
Abingdon, New York 2014, p. 63.
37 Ibidem.
40
Chapter 2
levels to settle similar cases. e case guidance system has
improved the standardized exercise of judicial discretion,
and enhanced uniformity in the application of the law38.
Sometimes, in order to understand the interpretation
and practical use of particular provisions in Chinese law,
it is necessary to reach for not only the legal act, but also
to read relevant Guiding Cases. So, what is the easiest way
to find them?
One of the best and most accessible sources is “e
China Guiding Cases Project (the “CGCP”)” of Stanford
Law School39. One can find there the full text of judg-
ments (mostly in Chinese), commentaries, as well as some
guides in English. According to its website, this project:
aims to advance the understanding of Chinese law
and to help develop a more transparent and acco-
untable judiciary in China by engaging experts and
other stakeholders around the world to contribute
to a unique knowledge-base, undertaking capacity-
-building activities for legal actors, and promoting
public education and participation40.
Another option is an open source case database,
OpenLaw41, launched in 2014, which provides judicial
decisions and guiding cases for free. One can also conduct
research about guiding cases system on China Judgements
38 White Paper on Judicial Reform in China, Part II. Maintaining
Social Fairness and Justice, Section 2: Standardizing Judicial Acts,
english.www.gov.cn/archive/white_paper/2014/08/23/content_
281474983043170.htm, access 09.12.2020.
39 e China Guiding Cases Project (the “CGCP”) of Stanford Law
School, https://cgc.law.stanford.edu/, access: 08/12/2020.
40 Ibidem.
41 Open Law, http://openlaw.cn/, access: 10.12.2020.
41
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
Online website (中国裁判文书网)42, Westlaw China43 or
BeiDa Fabao - Cases Database44.
Where to watch court trials in China?
A really useful online resource for accessing Chinese
trials is the website China Court Trial Online (中国庭
审公开网)45, where live broadcasts and recording of tho-
usands court proceedings from all provinces of PRC can
be viewed online. is source can be used for empirical
research on, for example, courtroom psychology. It also
includes a ranking list that allows one to see which live
broadcasts and even which areas of law are the most popu-
lar among viewers46. Unfortunately, this resource is prima-
rily useful for those who understand Mandarin.
How to research
and read Chinese contracts?
Civil and commercial relationships are growing si-
gnificantly in the People’s Republic of China47. Each year
they are more complex and technical48. Under the old
legislation, previous to new Chinese Civil Code (which
42 China Judgements Online (中国裁判文书网), access: https://wen
shu.court.gov.cn/, access: 10.12.2020.
43 Westlaw China, http://www.westlawchina.com/index_en.html,
access: 10.12.2020.
44 BeiDa Fabao - Cases Database, http://www.pkulaw.cn/cluster_call_
form.aspx?menu_item=case, access: 10.12.2020.
45 China Court Trial Online (中国庭审公开网), http://tingshen.
court.gov.cn/, access: 11.12.2020.
46 http://tingshen.court.gov.cn/rank, access: 11.12.2020.
47 Mimi Zou, An introduction to Chinese Contract Law, Hong Kong
2018, p.13.
48 Ibidem.
42
Chapter 2
as mentioned earlier was adopted by the 13th National
People’s Congress in Beijing on 28 May 2020 and will
enter into effect on 1 January 202149), there were many
special types of contract, including, for example, contracts
of sale, supply and consumption of electricity, gas and
water, loan contracts, gift contracts, lease agreements,
technology contracts50 and contracts of agency51. Un-
der the new Civil Code there are many types of contract
as well, including Contracts for Supply and Use of Elec-
tricity, Water, Gas, and Heat (供用电、水、气、热力
合同), Gift Contracts (赠与合同), Loan Contracts (
款合同), Guarantee Contracts (保证合同), Lease Con-
tracts (租赁合同), Financial Lease Contracts (融资租赁
合同), Factoring Contracts (保理合同), Construction
Contracts (建设工程合同), Contracts of Carriage (运输
合同), Technology Development Contracts (技术开发
合同), Technology Transfer Contracts and Technology
Licensing Contracts (技术转让合同和技术许可合同),
Technical Consulting Contracts and Technical Service
Contracts (技术咨询合同和技术服务合同), Custody
Contracts (保管合同), Warehousing Contracts (仓储合
), Entrustment Contracts (委托合同), Property Servi-
ce Contracts (物业服务合同), Partnership Contracts
(合伙合同), etc52.
49 I. Szpotakowski, e New Chinese Civil Code and its contribution to
Sustainable Development, Transformacje Prawa Prywatnego, 3/2020,
p. 243.
50 Mimi Zou, op. cit., p. 13.
51 Hui Zheng, Legal Capacity, Legal Representative and Agency,
[in:] Chinese Civil Law, Yuanshi Bu (Ed.), München 2013, p. 14.
52 Civil Code of the People’s Republic of China (中华人民共和国民法
), original text in Chinese available here: http://www.npc.gov.cn/
npc/c30834/202006/75ba6483b8344591abd07917e1d25cc8.shtml,
access: 10.12.2020.
43
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
Although it is rare for contracts or drafts of contracts
to be among the sources for an academic paper about Chi-
nese law, it is worth knowing how to go about analysing
such a contract, and what its structure will be, if such an
analysis is called for. As a first step, it is useful to obtain
some substantive knowledge about Chinese contract law.
Listed below are the best and most up-to-date seconda-
ry resources in English on Chinese contract law and how
contracts work in the PRC:
Mimi Zou, An introduction to Chinese Contract
Law, Hong Kong 2018.
Mimi Zou, Chinese Contract Law and the 2020
Civil Code, Hong Kong 2020.
Mo Zhang, Chinese Contract Law—eory and
Practice, Leiden, Boston 2020.
Sino-Polish Perspectives on the eory and Practice
of Contract Law, Piotr Grzebyk, Ewa Rott-
Pietrzyk, Chen Su (Eds.), Warsaw 2020.
Perspectives on Chinese Business and Law, Łukasz
Gołota, Jiaxiang Hu, Kim Van der Borght, Saisai
Wang (Eds.), Cambridge 2018.
Igor Szpotakowski, Polish and Chinese civil law
perspectives on the principle of good faith, [in:] Chi-
na and the Chinese in the modern world. An inter-
disciplinary study, Zuzanna Kopania, Igor Szpota-
kowski, Kraków-Łódź 2020, p. 115-128.
Igor Szpotakowski, e New Chinese Civil Code
and its contribution to Sustainable Development,
Transformacje Prawa Prywatnego, 3/2020,
p. 233-246.
Lawrence Foster, Tiffany Yajima, Yan Lin, China
Law Reader, San Francisco 2013.
44
Chapter 2
Below you will find a contract of agency drafted spe-
cifically for the purposes of this Research Guide to show
you how Chinese contract could look like. Read the trans-
lations carefully and think about how this contract differs
from that type of contract in your jurisdiction.
45
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
委托代理合同53
案件编号[PLS22]54
甲方55ABC有限公司
住所56广州市番禺区石碁镇市莲路南浦村段32号。
法定代表人57:张大卫
乙方58:波兰律师事务所
住所59al. Mickiewicza 9, 31-120 Kraków
代表人60Mr John Wright
ABC有限公司(下称ABC公司)与CBD有限公
司(下称“CBD公司)借款合同纠纷一案,ABC公司不
服广东省广州市天河区人民法院作出的(2018)粤0106
3232号《执行裁定书》,拟委托波兰律师事务所(下
乙方)作为本案代理人,代为对(2018)粤0106
3232号提出执行异议、执行监督,目的在于撤销《执
行裁定书》以及申请法院对案涉房产再次公开拍卖等61
53 Type of the contract. Here: “Contract of agency”.
54 Contract/Case Number. Here: PLS22.
55 Party A Name. Here: ABC Limited (the Principal in the princi-
pal-agent relationship).
56 Legal representative. Here: Zhang Dawei.
57 Address. Here: No. 1250, Nanpu Village, Shilian Road, Shiqi
Town, Panyu District, Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province.
58 Party B Name. Here: Polish law firm (the Agent in the princi-
pal-agent relationship).
59 Address. Here: al. Mickiewicza 9, 31-120 Kraków.
60 Legal representative. Here: Mr John Wright.
61 e purpose of the contract. Here: Regarding the dispute over
a loan contract between ABC Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “ABC
Limited Company”) and CBD Limited (hereinafter referred to
as “CBD Limited Company”), ABC Limited Company refused
to accept the court ruling case number: (2018) 01063232
made by the People’s Court of Tianhe District, Guangzhou City,
46
Chapter 2
经各方协商,订立下列各条,共同遵守62
第一条 委托代理事项63
代理案件64(2018) 01063232号执行案执行异议和
执行监督等。
代理内容65:对(2018)01063232号执行裁定提出执行
异议并申请法院对案涉房产再次拍卖。
受理机关66:_________________________________
第二条 委托代理权限67
以甲方签发的授权委托书为准,授权委托书是本合同的
组成部分68
第三条 甲方的义务69
1_______________________________;
2. ________________________________
第四条 乙方的义务70
1. _________________________________;
2. _________________________________
Guangdong Province (hereinafter referred to as “Execution Ruling”,
it is proposed to entrust a Polish law firm (hereinafter referred to as
“Party B”) as the agent of this case to file an execution objection and
enforcement supervision against the ruling: (2018) 01063232,
with the purpose of revoking the “Execution Ruling” and applying
to the court for another public auction of the real estate involved in
the case.
62 Summary: After negotiation by all parties, the following articles are
concluded and abide by them together.
63 Article 1: Matters entrusted to the agent
64 Acting in case/s.
65 Acting in matter.
66 Received by.
67 Proxy’s authority.
68 e power of attorney issued by Party A shall be part of the contract
and shall form an integral part of it.
69 Article 3 Obligations of Party A.
70 Article 4 Obligations of Party B.
47
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
第五条 律师费、工作费用71
(一)律师费的计算及支付72
经各方协商同意,本代理的律师费采取预付前期律师费
+后期提成的收费方式73
1.________________________________;
2.________________________________;
(二)乙方开户银行和账号74
开户名75:波兰律师事务所
开户银行76:波兰银行
账号771020202020202020
律师代理费以到达上述账号或乙方财务现金收妥为收讫78
(三)工作费用及支付方式79
___________________________________________
(四)逾期付款责任80
___________________________________________
第六条 合同的变更和解除81
1.甲、乙方经协商同意,可以变更或者解除本合同82
71 Article 5 Lawyer’s fees, Costs of work.
72 Calculation and payment of lawyer’s fees
73 As agreed by the parties, the lawyer’s fees are to be paid in advance
+ the fee method for the later commission.
74 Party B’s bank account and account number.
75 Account Name. Here: Polish law firm.
76 Bank of Account. Here: Bank of Poland
77 Account number.
78 e lawyer’s fee is due and payable on arrival at the above account
number or on receipt of cash from your finances.
79 Costs of work and payment methods.
80 Liability for late payment.
81 Article 6 Contract modification and termination.
82 Party A and Party B may change or terminate this contract by mu-
tual agreement.
48
Chapter 2
2.乙方有下列情形之一的,甲方有权解除合同83
1____________________________;
2____________________________
3.甲方有下列情形之一的,乙方有权解除合同或者暂
停工作直至甲方自行纠正时止,因此而产生的后果由甲
方自行承担84
1_______________________________________
2_______________________________________
3_______________________________________
第七条 合同的终止85
1.甲乙方履行完毕,本合同自行终止86
2.各方协商一致,书面约定提前终止合同87
第八条 违约责任88
1.乙方无正当理由不提供第一条约定的法律服务,甲方
有权视违约情况要求乙方退回已付相应部分的律师费89
但甲方不得以如下任何理由之一拒绝支付或者要求乙方
退回律师费90
1___________________________________;
2___________________________________
83 Party B has the right to terminate the contract if any of the follow-
ing circumstances apply to Party A.
84 Party B has the right to terminate the contract or suspend perfor-
mance thereof until Party A corrects the situation on its own, and
Party A shall be responsible for any consequences arising therefrom.
85 Article 7 Termination of the contract.
86 is contract shall be terminated upon completion of the perfor-
mance of Party A and Party B.
87 e parties agree in writing to terminate the contract early by
consensus.
88 Liability for breach of contract.
89 If Party B does not provide the legal services stipulated in Article 1
without justifiable reasons, Party A has the right to request Party B to
refund the corresponding portion of the lawyer’s fees paid by Party B
depending on the breach of contract.
90 However, Party A may not refuse to pay or require Party B to re-
fund the lawyer’s fees for any of the following reasons.
49
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
2.甲方未按合同约定支付律师费和其他费用,或者违
反约定单方解除合同,乙方有权依照本合同第五条的约
定要求甲方支付未付的律师费和其他费用以及违约金91
第九条 特别约定92
1.由于完成本合同委托代理事项,需要各方的共同配
合和努力,甲方不得以自己参与或协助办理了与本案有
关的事务,而要求乙方减免律师费93
2.本合同由甲乙代表签字并加盖公章,自签字、盖章
之日起生效,至委托事项终结时为止94
甲方95 (公章)
授权代表96 (签字)
乙方97:波兰律师事务所 (公章)
授权代表98 (签字)
2021 1 1 日签订于克拉科夫99
91 If Party A fails to pay the lawyer’s fees and other expenses according
to the contract, or unilaterally terminates the contract in violation
of the agreement, Party B has the right to demand Party A to pay
the unpaid lawyer’s fees and other expenses and liquidated damages
in accordance with Article 5 of the contract.
92 Article 9 Special terms.
93 Since the completion of this contract requires the joint cooperation
and efforts of both parties, we shall not ask you to reduce or waive
your lawyer’s fees on the grounds that you have participated in or
assisted in matters related to this case.
94 is contract is signed and sealed by the representatives of Party
A and Party B. It is valid from the date of signature and effective from
the date of stamping, until completion of the contract.
95 Party A.
96 Authorized representative.
97 Party B.
98 Authorized representative.
99 Signed in Cracow on January 1st, 2021.
50
Chapter 2
致委托人的法律风险及注意事项告知书100
尊敬的委托人101
感谢您委托波兰律师事务所律师承办您的法律事务102
为了更好地维护您的合法权益,同时也为了使您更加了
解律师工作,特提请您注意如下事项103
一、任何诉讼/仲裁、非诉案件均具有法律风险,案件进
程和案件结果可能受到各种客观因素的影响,在聘请律
师前您应确认具有承受此等法律风险之负担能力及合理
预见104
二、您的请求/申请/答辩/辩护意见,存在部分或全部不
被司法机关或其他相关国家机关支持的可能;或者某些
陈述、辩解成为法律上的自认105
100 Notice of legal risks and precautions to the client.
101 Dear client.
102 ank you for entrusting lawyers from Polish law firms to handle
your legal affairs.
103 In order to better protect your legal rights and at the same time to
make you better understand the work of our lawyers, we hereby draw
your attention to the following matters.
104 Any litigation/arbitration or non-litigation case involves legal risks,
and the course and outcome of the case may be affected by a variety
of objective factors.
105 Your request/application/defence/defence opinions may not be
supported by judicial or other relevant state agencies in part or in
whole; or some statements or defences may become legal admissions.
51
CHINESE LEGAL RESEARCH
三、如果在委托合同履行过程中承办律师有任何违规
行为,或者您有任何疑问或意见,请与本律师事务所联
系:电话: +48 000-000000,传真:+48 000-000000,电子
邮箱: xyz@legalmail.com106
请您确认上述事项后才签署委托合同107
委托人确认108
我已了解告知书中所提示和说明的内容109
委托人签名110 签署日期1112021 1 1
106 If there are any violations of the contract or if you have any ques-
tions or comments, please contact our law firm by phone: +48 000-
000000, fax: +48 000-000000, e-mail: xyz@legalmail.com.
107 Please confirm the above items before signing the contract.
108 Client’s confirmation.
109 I have understood what is prompted and explained in the notice.
110 Client’s signature.
111 Signature Date. Here: January 1st, 2021.
52
Chapter 2
How to cite Chinese legal sources?
e first information that should be taken into ac-
count when citing Chinese language resources is the
fact that, contrary to the practice in many Western co-
untries, a Chinese surname appears before the personal
name112. For example, Yao Ming and Xi Jinping should
be referred to as “Mr. Yao” and “Mr. Xi,” not “Mr. Ming”
and “Mr. Jinping”. Unfortunately, catalogers unfamiliar
with the nature of Chinese names have, on occasion, re-
versed the names in the catalog, making an author search
challenging113. ere is no obligation to Romanise Chine-
se characters when you are citing Chinese sources. But so-
metimes it might be helpful for your non-Chinese readers
if you do so114. If you struggle with Romanising Chinese
characters by yourself, you could copy Chinese charac-
ters and paste them into Google Translate, it will auto-
matically convert them into pinyin. Another option is to
copy and paste character by character to Yellow Bridge
online dictionary115. e important matter is fact that
Chinese sentences do not have any spaces116. So, when
you are Romanising you need to pay close attention
to where each word breaks117. Although the Romanisa-
tion may not always be perfect, paying close attention
to the breaks will help you to make it better118.
112 T. Kimbrough, Building a Chinese Law Collection in the Academic
Law Library Challenges, Alternatives, and Trends, Legal Reference Ser-
vices Quarterly, vol. 25:4, p. 44.
113 Ibidem.
114 P. Kossof, Chinese Legal Research, Durham 2014, p. 67-68.
115 YellowBridge https://www.yellowbridge.com/chinese/dictionary.
php, access:10.12.2020.
116 P. Kossof, Chinese Legal…, p. 72.
117 Ibidem.
118 Ibidem.
53
Chapter 3
USEFUL WEBSITES AND
BLOGS ABOUT CHINESE LAW
Sometimes it is difficult to stay up-to-date with all
current developments concerning Chinese law and the
Chinese legal system. To develop sufficient awareness
about China and Chinese law it is highly recommended
that researchers dealing with China should consider pe-
riodically visiting websites and blogs dedicated to moni-
toring changes in Chinese law. Blogs and websites about
Chinese law should be considered as a tertiary source and
all information posted on these sites should be verified
before using them for academic purposes1. As authors
of this guide we believe that those sources should be con-
sidered only a starting point of research and that academic
papers should not be based mainly on citing such sources.
Sometimes, however, there is no better way to find more
information about specific legal issue, especially when
it comes to new legal acts. In such situations, these websi-
tes are a great help.
1 P. Kossof, Chinese…, p. 57.
54
Chapter 3
One of the best blogs in our opinion, which provides
very up-to-date information on Chinese law and also gives
quick access to the original content of legal acts is “NPC
Observer”2, founded by Changhao Wei (魏常昊), which
covers the National People’s Congress and its Standing
Committee legislation. e mission of this blog is to pro-
vide information on the two bodies’ legislative activities,
which are mostly the events happening before, during
and immediately after their sessions3. e blog provides
short summaries of new legal acts, with commentary and
useful links to original sources and sometimes even short
practical legal guides. e blog will help you to better un-
derstand the practice of the lawmaking process in the Pe-
ople’s Republic of China, including that of the National
People’s Congress (NPC), its Standing Committee
(NPCSC), and their subordinate bodies.
Picture source 1: https://npcobserver.com/, access: 07.12.2020.
Another interesting blog is China Law Blog4, often
connected with its lead writer Dan Harris, founder
of Harris Bricken, an international law firm based in Los
2 NPC Observer https://npcobserver.com/, access: 07.12.2020.
3 https://npcobserver.com/about-the-npc-and-the-blog/, access: 07.12.
2020.
4 China Law Blog www.chinalawblog.com, access 07.12.2020.
55
INTERESTING WEBSITES AND BLOGS ABOUT CHINESE LAW
Angeles5. e blog is about the practical aspects of Chine-
se law and legal system, including how law impacts busi-
ness in China and internationally. Although the blog’s
main goal is to assist businesses already in China or plan-
ning to enter into China, it is also an interesting source
of knowledge for students and researchers looking to ob-
tain real practical insight into Chinese law. Deep know-
ledge of Chinese law, legal culture, and business of the
blog’s authors delivered in a plain and concise language is
useful when you are taking the first steps in understanding
the complexity of the legal world in the People’s Republic
of China.
Picture source 2: https://www.chinalawblog.com/,
access: 22.12.2020.
5 https://www.chinalawblog.com/author/danharris, access: 07.12.
2020.
56
Chapter 3
e China Law Translate6 website founded by Jeremy
Daum7, a Yale Law Tsai Center Fellow, is also very helpful
resource. It is a crowdsourced, crowdfunded translation
project, which include English-Chinese translation for le-
gal acts and news.
Picture source 3: https://www.chinalawtranslate.com/en/,
access: 22.12.2020.
Finnish China Law Centre blog8 is promoting new
research on Chinese law and legal culture, organising aca-
demic and networking events and publishing interesting
posts on recent developments and research about the
Chinese legal system. e Centre’s member institutions
include nine leading Finnish universities and the Institute
of Criminology and Legal Policy (Krimo), a research insti-
tute at the University of Helsinki9.
China Law Insight10, authored by lawyers from King
6 China Law Translate https://www.chinalawtranslate.com/en/, ac-
cess: 07.12.2020.
7 Jeremy Daum, https://law.yale.edu/jeremy-l-daum, access: 08.12.
2020.
8 Finnish China Law Center https://blogs.helsinki.fi/chinalawcenter/,
access: 07.12.2020.
9 Member Institutions, blogs.helsinki.fi/chinalawcenter/memberinsti-
tutions, access: 11.12.2020.
10 China Law Insight https://www.chinalawinsight.com/tags/english/,
access: 07.12.2020.
57
INTERESTING WEBSITES AND BLOGS ABOUT CHINESE LAW
& Wood Mallesons, an international law firm headquar-
tered in Asia, is another blog which can assist in develo-
ping a commercial and legal awareness of China. It covers
topics like Chinese company law, finance law, intellectual
property law, dispute resolution and international trade
law.
e Chinese Law Discussion Group11, co-founded by
Dr Mimi Zou, is a discussion forum established at Uni-
versity of Oxford for exploring a full range of issues with
respect for the intersection/comparison of Chinese, civil,
and common law and legal traditions as well as internatio-
nal law issues relating to China12. e group organizes or
co-hosts interesting events and publishes articles about
China on their blog13.
Picture source 4: https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/current-students/
graduate-discussion-groups/chinese-law-discussion-group,
access: 07.12.2020.
11 Chinese Law Discussion Group https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/cur
rent-students/graduate-discussion-groups/chinese-law-discussion
-group, access: 07.12.2020.
12 Ibidem.
13 https://www.law.ox.ac.uk/current-students/graduate-discussion-gr
oups/chinese-law-discussion-group/blog, access: 07.12.2020.
58
Chapter 3
China Justice Observer14 co-founded by Guodong
Du (杜国栋) and Meng Yu (余萌) and sponsored
by the Academy of Comprehensive Rule of Law at China
University of Political Science and Law15 is an insightful
source of knowledge about the Chinese judicial system
in practice.
e Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy
of China is a research unit of the Faculty of Law and
Administration of the University of Warsaw16. e Cen-
tre, established in 2016, conducts academic research
in the areas of law and economy of contemporary China,
and from time to time it publishes analyses and reports
on Chinese law and business, such as the Polish-language
‘Inside China’ reports17.
For German speakers, an interesting source
of knowledge could be the German Journal of Chinese
Law (Zeitschrift für Chinesisches Recht)18 which is one
of the most influential German-language publications
addressing Chinese law. e journal publishes detailed
reports and analyses - “Aufsätze” (Articles), current legal
developments - “Kurze Beiträge” (Notes) and translations
of the most important new Chinese legal acts “Dokumen-
tationen” (Documentation)19. On their website in sec-
tion “Übersetzungen chinesischer Rechtstexte” (Translations
of Chinese legal texts), there are German translations
14 China Justice Observer https://www.chinajusticeobserver.com/, ac-
cess: 07.12.2020.
15 https://www.chinajusticeobserver.com/p/about, access: 07.12.2020.
16 Polish Research Centre for Law and Economy of China, http://
chinalaw.wpia.uw.edu.pl/research-centre/, access: 07.12.2020.
17 Ibidem.
18 Zeitschrift für Chinesisches Recht (German Journal of Chinese
Law) https://www.zchinr.org/index.php/zchinr, access: 25.12.2020.
19 Ibidem.
59
INTERESTING WEBSITES AND BLOGS ABOUT CHINESE LAW
of many Chinese legal acts and they are publishing an-
nually bibliography of academic writings in the field
of Chinese law in western languages (mostly German and
English).
In 2020 a new blog has been created for Polish speak-
ers - prawochinskie.com.pl20, which is running by lawyers
from Polish law firm JGBS Biernat & Partners. e blog
is about practical legal issues in relation to China that law-
yers and entrepreneurs face every day.
If your Mandarin Chinese skills are sufficiently ad-
vanced, but you need to learn more about Chinese law and
Chinese legal culture, you can register for free MOOC
courses on www.icourse163.org21. ere is a wide range
of free online courses organized by Chinese universities.
20 prawochinskie.com.pl, access: 26.12.2020.
21 For example: 法学方法论 [Methodology of Law], https://www.
icourse163.org/course/cupl-1002597082, access: 12.12.2020 or
较法总论 [Introduction to Comparative Law], https://www.ico
urse163.org/course/0301CUPL011-1002843009?outvandor=zw_
mooc_pclszykctj, access: 12.12.2020.
61
FINAL REMARKS
China and Chinese law grow more important eve-
ry day from a global perspective. However, studying and
conducting research on Chinese law can be extremely
challenging, especially if you do not know Mandarin well.
We hope that this Research Guide increased your under-
standing of how to conduct research on Chinese law and
convinced you that this is not an impossible task. With
the increasing popularity of Chinese law in Poland and
in Europe, we hope that reading this guide was useful and
encouraged you to continue your research.
Every time when you are conducting your research on
Chinese law you should check whether you have properly
evaluated all sources you have gathered. Below you will
find a few questions1 that you should answer:
1) What information is relevant for the research? –
You should be able to answer the questions: what is the
purpose of your research and what is your focus.
2) Who is providing the data and how credible
is the resource? - Academic books or journal articles that
1 R. LeRoy Miller, G. A. Jentz, F. B. Cross, Online Legal Research
Guide to Accompany 2004 Business Law and Legal Environment Texts,
Mason 2004, p. 25-28.
62
FINAL REMARKS
peer-reviewed and published by recognised publishers are
usually credible resources, but you should be more careful
regarding news and posts on blogs which you have found
on the internet.
3) How accurate is the information? – Although
sources might be credible, sometimes it is better to cross-
check some not obvious matters.
4) What about objectivity? – It is much better if you
are able to confirm the information given in several sourc-
es, especially when it comes to specific dates related to
Chinese history.
5) Are the data you have gathered up-to-date? –
please consider timeliness of the data.
We wish you all well and 加油2!
2 Mandarin Chinese: Good luck!
63
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Below you will find a list of the books that have been used
in this Research Guide, in alphabetical order. Among them the-
re are also works that were not directly cited, but in the authors’
view were worth mentioning in light of their strong influence
on this book. We hope that they will also serve as a list that will
help you find academic papers directly relevant to your own
research. We have collected these materials using hard-copy so-
urces as well as electronical databases belonging to the Bodleian
Law Library of University of Oxford, the Jagiellonian Univer-
sity in Cracow library, the University of Bristol library and the
Nottingham Trent University library.
Books and academic journal articles:
1. Auslin Michael R., Negotiating with Imperialism: e
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77
APPENDIX:
INDEX
OF CHINESE LEGAL TERMS
Chinese Pinyin English
儒家 Rújiā Confucianism
(philosophy)
法家 Fǎjiā Legalism
(philosophy)
FǎLaw
道家 Dàojià Daoism (philosophy)
汉传佛家 Hànchuán fójiā Chinese Buddhism
LǐRitual
Xiào Filial piety
健全法制 Jiànquán fǎzhì Improving
the legal system
法制 Fǎzhì Legal system
and institutions
实行法治 Shíxíng fǎzhì Enforcing
the rule of law
中华人民共和国 Zhōnghuá rénmín
gònghéguó e Peoples
Republic of China
全国人民代表大会 Quánguó rénmín
dàibiǎo dàhuì National People's
Congress
78
PREFACE
中华人民共和国全
国人民代表大会
Zhōnghuá rénmín
gònghéguó quánguó
rénmín dàibiǎo
dàhuì
e National
People's Congress
of the People's
Republic of China
中华人民共和国
宪法 Zhōnghuá rénmín
gònghéguó xiànfǎ
Constitution
of the People's
Republic of China
宪法 XiànfǎConstitution
通过 Tōngguò To enact/to pass
公布 Gōngbù To promulgate
修正 Xiūzhèng To amend/To revise
行政法规 Xíngzhèng fǎguī Administrative
regulations
行政 Xíngzhèng Administrative;
Executive
条例 Tiáolì Rules; regulations
案例指导制度 Ànlì zhǐdǎo zhìdù Guiding cases system
案例 Ànlì Case
指导 ZhǐdǎoTo guide/To give
directions
制度 Zhìdù System
习惯 Xíguàn Custom; Habit
中华人民共和国司
法部 Zhōnghuá rénmín
gònghéguó sīfǎ
Ministry of Justice
of the People's
Republic of China
司法部 Sīfǎ Ministry of Justice;
Justice Department
法规 Fǎguī Legislation
规定 Guīdìng Regulations
最高人民法院 Zuìgāo rénmín
fǎyuàn Supreme People’s
Court
高级人民法院 Gāojí rénmín
fǎyuàn High People's Court
法院 Fǎyuàn Court
刑法 XíngfǎCriminal Law
79
PREFACE
民法 MínfǎCivil Law
民法典 Mínfǎ diǎnCivil Code
民法总则 Mínfǎ zǒngzé General Rules
on the civil law
合同法 HétóngfǎContract Law
合同 Hétóng Contract
婚姻法 HūnyīnfǎMarriage law
婚姻 Hūnyīn Marriage
侵权责任法 Qīnquán zérèn fǎTort law
责任 Zérèn Liability
继承法 Jìchéng fǎSuccession law
继承 Jìchéng To inherit/To suc-
ceed to
物权法 Wùquán fǎProperty law
物权 Wùquán Property right
知识产权法 Zhīshì chǎnquán fǎIntellectual Property
Law
收养 Shōuyǎng Adoption
公司法 Gōngsī fǎCompany Law
公司 Gōngsī Company
律师 Lǜshī Lawyer
律师事务所 Lǜshī shìwùsuǒLaw firm
律师费 Lǜshī fèi Lawyer’s fee
审判官 Shěnpàn guān Judge
诉讼 Sùsòng Litigation
起诉 QǐTo start a lawsuit
上诉 Shàngsù Appeal
证据 Zhèngjù Evidence
法律研究 Fǎlǜ yánjiū Legal research
数据库 Shùjùkù Database
Zuzanna Kopania
ResearchGate account
Igor Szpotakowski
ResearchGate account
ISBN: 978-83-66709-47-8
eISBN: 978-83-66709-48-5
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
is Research Guide will be the first step in your journey with
Chinese law. China grows more important every day from
a global perspective. However, studying and conducting re-
search on Chinese law can be extremely challenging, especial-
ly if you do not know Mandarin well. is book is intended as
a compact but comprehensive research guide that would pro-
vide students (especially those who are preparing coursework
or dissertations about Chinese law), researchers and legal prac-
titioners with the necessary knowledge about how to conduct
effective Chinese legal research.
Recommended by:
Szkoła Prawa i Kultury Chińskiej
Zuzanna Kopania
ResearchGate account
Igor Szpotakowski
ResearchGate account
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