Introduction to China’s Legal System 

There are both similarities and differences between the Chinese and U.S. legal systems.  This post provides a small selection of articles that provide an introduction to China’s legal system as well as laws that have greatly impacted its society.


China’s Legal system essentially has four different levels: the Constitution, Laws, administrative/military regulations and judicial interpretations, and local laws and regulations. (Further reading and source credit: What’s Chinese Legal System? – China Legal Research Guide)

Additionally, the Chinese Constitution is deliberately vague, allowing for the government to work out issues without a loss in faith or power. Vagueness allows for flexibility in how the government applies the law, either from a more strict, legalism application to a more malleable, pragmatic approach. (Further reading and source credit: The Value of Vagueness as the Door to Social Change)

Elections Like in the U.S. any citizen who has reached the age of 18 in China has the right to vote and stand for election. Voters may directly elect deputies and officials to represent them at local levels such as for towns, districts, and counties. (Further reading and source credit:How Do Elections in China Work?)
Court System The courts in China are divided into four levels with descending order of powers with the highest court being the Supreme People’s Court. (Further reading and source credit: What is the Court System Like in China?)
Jury There is no jury in China, but China does have something called the people’s assessors in which citizens are selected to take part in a panel along with a judge to take part in the decisions of some cases. (Further reading and source credit: Does the Jury Exist in China?)
Prison System The Prison Law of the People’s Republic of China was adopted and enforced starting in 1994. The Ministry of Justice supervises all prisons in the country in accordance with Prison Law so that the distribution of prisons can be optimized in its execution of penalties (Further reading and source credit: Jail System)



Important Laws

One Child Policy Implemented in 1979, China’s one-child policy limited many families to only one child or one birth. Its goal was to make sure that population growth did not outpace economic development or the supply of natural resources. (Further reading and source credit: Understanding China’s Former One-Child Policy)
Hukou System China’s hukou system was introduced in 1958 as a modern means of population registration. The Hukou system’s purpose was to control internal migration and to preserve social stability. (Further reading and source credit: China’s Hukou System Explained)
Social Credit The China social credit system is a broad regulatory framework aimed at enhancing the amount of “trust” within Chinese society. The system began with a focus on financial creditworthiness, similar to credit scores used in western countries, and moved on to include compliance and legal violations. (Further information and source credit: An Introduction to the China Social Credit System, China’s Social Credit System: Fact vs. Fiction)
China’s 2016 Charity Law In 2016, China passed the Charity Law, the first law to regulate domestic charitable organizations and their activities in China. (Further information and source credit: )
Overseas NGO Law In 2017, the Law on Administration of Activities of Overseas Nongovernmental Organizations in Mainland China became the first comprehensive law regulating the activities of all overseas non-governmental organizations in China.


G36 – intro


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