When Rene David was reviewing the Chinese
codification of the 1930s in his Major Legal System in the World Today: An
Introduction to the Comparative Study of Law, he concluded that "Chinese
law...can be ranked within the family of laws deriving from the Romanist
tradition". Today, the laws of the PRC to a large degree still share the
characteristics of the civil law system rather than those of the common law.
As David pointed out, this can be partly attributed to the Europeanization of
China between the 19th and 20th centuries. In addition,
this is also due to the fact that the PRC has inherited the Chinese legal
tradition, where the statutes or codes (written law) were highly valued even
back to the Qin Dynasty in 221-207 BC.
Though the Chinese legal system is claimed to
be distinct from all other legal systems, jurists of the PRC follow the same
rules of the civil law family. The legislation of the PRC reflects a
structural similarity to countries within the Romano-Germanic family, for
instance, German and France. Moreover, Chinese jurists value legal doctrines
and hold written law in high esteem; concrete judicial decisions are not
officially considered a source of law.
2. Sources of the Laws
of the PRC
In retrospective review, the formation and
progression of the modern legal system in mainland China had been disturbed by
a series of successive political movements from 1949 to 1976. Before the Criminal Code was enacted in 1979, the Constitution Law passed in
1954 was the only statute for 25 years. The governmental operation largely
relied on the policies and orders of the Party. The rule of law was not
constructed until the massive legislation enactment of the late 1980s, after
the Party decided to adopt the "opening-up policy" to develop the market economic system in the late
1970s. Since then, the skyrocketing development of the economy has led to
substantial legislative activities and proliferation of new laws and
regulations that have laid the foundation for the modern legal system. Now,
China has established a comprehensive scheme of legislation, including
national laws, administrative regulations, and local rules.
Among the sources of the laws of the PRC, the
statutes enacted by the National People's Congress (NPC, China's congress),
which includes the constitutional laws, civil codes, and criminal codes, have
the highest authority. Administrative regulations by the State Council
(China's cabinet) cannot be in conflict with its statutes. Cases decided by
various levels of judicial institutions are not considered official sources of
law, though decisions of the Supreme People's Court are factually used as a
guideline in the practice of lower courts when the provision of law is in
obscurity. Local laws and regulations are enacted by provincial legislatures
However, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Macao
Special Administrative Region (Macao SAR) are the exceptions from the legal
framework in the PRC. Those two special regions were set up directly under the
theory of "one country, two systems" by Mr. Deng Xiaoping, the former
President of the PRC and a giant of the Party. Right before the PRC resumed
the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao, the NPC of the PRC
enacted the Basic Law of the HKSAR (adopted on April 1990) and the Basic Law of Macao (adopted on March 1993), in order to simultaneously keep the state sovereignty
and the special economic position of those two regions. From their position
and nature, those two laws are national laws, not local laws; therefore, no
laws, ordinances, administrative regulations, and other normative documents of
the HRSAR and the Macao SAR shall violate the Basic Law. At the same time, the
Basic Law of both regions states clearly that the existing capitalist system
and the people抯 way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years, and the laws
previously in force shall be maintained. Hence, the legal system in the
regions combined the traditions of both civil and common laws, and the
political scheme turned out to be a mixture of the capitalist and socialist
Information Access in China
Parallel to the underdeveloped legal system,
the legal research and legal information supporting systems were primitive
in China before the 1980s. Unlike
Hong Kong and Macao, where the legal information resources are sufficient
and information structures sophisticated, and where legal research and
practice are supported by a sound legal information system, Chinese legal
professionals in the PRC were faced with by an exceptional
insufficiency of resources.
Twenty years ago, there was little knowledge
about legal information profession in China, and few experienced and
competent legal information personnel were able to assist fundamental legal
research. Moreover, few legal publishers existed before the 1970s because no
systematic legislation and legal research existed. Though legal publishers
were enlightened after the effect of the rule of law in the late 1980s,
standardized and advanced techniques for organizing legal information, such
as codification, indexing, cataloging, and superseding, had not yet been
implemented by legal publishers. Additionally, all legal institutions had
only a meager budget for acquiring materials. Even law schools had very
scanty funds to amass a legal collection. Back in the 1980s, law textbooks
were the primary sources (even the sole source for some subjects of law) for
legal study. To carry out research in thesis work, a graduate student had to
allot a significant amount of time traveling around the country collecting
data and materials. Within the agencies of law enforcement, the scarcity of
legal materials was even worse.
For a long period of time, the difficulty in
accessing legal information was the major obstruction to conduct legal
research in almost every legal institution. The poor information system is,
to some extent, responsible for impeding the construction of a modern legal
system and realization of the rule of law in China.
However, the rapid development of economy and
Internet technology from the 1980s provides unprecedented opportunities to
build up a modern legal information system in China. The Internet has very
quickly become a unique vehicle for storing and accessing legal information.
Moreover, aggressive construction of telecommunication infrastructures by
the government has hastened broader Internet access, which resulted in a
revolution in the process of building a new legal information system.
Facilitated with modern technology and aiming
to catch up with sophisticated online services, such as Westlaw and
Lexis-Nexis, law publishers, online products entrepreneurs, law schools, law
firms, and even law enforcement departments, are committing themselves to
create comprehensive databases and electronic legal services. Chinalawinfo.com and CEIlaw are two domestic pioneers in the
area. On the other hand, some western legal publishers also started making
efforts to include China law into their databases which supplement a
significant part of information to the current framework.
The zeal and endeavors by people in and out
of China have led to the emergence of a virtual China law library in
cyberspace. The vast availability of Chinese legal resources, including full
text law databases (commercial and non-commercial), online legal
publications, websites with research tools including library online
catalogs, legal services and the jurists networks, is certainly
exhilarating. However, these uncoordinated efforts by different forces have
inevitably yielded some negative outcomes, which will be discussed later.
One: Printed Materials
I. Primary Sources
As we have discussed, the PRC belongs to the
civil law system. Its primary source of law is statutes, including laws passed
by the National People's Congress and the local People's Congresses or
administrative regulations promulgated by the State Council and the local
people's governments. However, as discussed above, judicial interpretations
issued by the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate,
and advisory opinions and instructions issued by the State Council and other
administrative agencies are also playing a very important role in the Chinese
legal system. Therefore, in a broad sense, the primary sources of Chinese law
should also include judicial interpretation made by the Supreme People's Court
and the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Unfortunately, most Chinese law
compilations don抰 include judicial interpretations. Even in the few that do,
the inclusions are not complete. Currently, the Supreme People抯 Court and the
Supreme People's Procuratorate are compiling their interpretations for
1. Statutory Law
So far there is no codification system for laws
or regulations in China. Chinese statutes are arranged in the forms of
compilation or collection. Currently, most compilations of Chinese laws
include both laws and administrative regulations. Therefore, law and
administrative regulations are not going to be listed as two separate
categories herein. Rather, they are listed according to the publication抯
languages (in Chinese or both Chinese and English) and media (paper or
1.1 In English or in Both English and Chinese
When using English versions of Chinese laws, we
have to remember that the English translation is not treated as quite as
authentic to the Chinese versions under traditional Chinese practice, even
though accompanied by the Chinese official translation. Therefore, when there
is a conflict between the English translation and the original Chinese
language, the original Chinese language will be authentic.
China Laws for Foreign Business (looseleaf), North Ryde, N.S.W.: CCH Australia Ltd., 1985-. This looseleaf
service is a comprehensive compilation of Chinese laws and regulations with
respect to the PRC抯 foreign business published in English. It consists of
seven volumes and three parts: (1) Business Regulation (2) Taxation & Customs
and (3) Special Zones & Cities. All the legislation is presented with the
Chinese and English texts on facing pages throughout the entire set, which
makes it fast and easy to refer from the translation to the official text. It
is also easy to access specific current law provisions because this set has a
comprehensive English subject index. The main volumes are usually updated five
times annually and a special update and alert report in pamphlet form is sent
to subscribers almost every month.
The China Law Reference Service (looseleaf), Hong Kong: Asia Law & Practice Ltd., 1996-, quarterly. This
looseleaf service divides Chinese law into five broad subjects: (1)
Government, Administration & the Legal System, (2) Economic Law, (3) Tax &
Finance, (4) Real Property, Infrastructure & Transport, (5) Trade, Commerce &
Industry. It covers all the PRC抯 national and regional business law
implemented from December 1986 and key economic laws from 1979 to current. The
most remarkable features of this looseleaf service are its comprehensive
subject indexes with cross-referencing system and its special law digests and
editors? notes. The publisher developed its own numbering and indexing system
for this service so that users can use the index volume as a law finder to
access the text of the laws/regulations and use the cross references printed
in the texts to locate related legislation between volumes. Each law has an
editor抯 note written by prominent Chinese legal practitioners to highlight
and analyze the important points of the law. Each volume also includes a
section of law digests explaining all laws in summary form. The publisher also
offers a biweekly update service via fax for an extra charge and online
version of this publication at http://www.clrsonline.com/.
Laws of the People's Republic of China,
Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1987-, annually. These English editions of
Chinese laws and regulations are chronologically and selectively compiled and
translated by the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of
the National People's Congress of the PRC. The coverage begins with 1979. In
1995, this publication was taken over by Legal Publishing House.
Laws and Regulations of the People抯 Republic
of China Governing Foreign-Related Matters,
Beijing: China Legal System Publishing House, 1991-, annually. The first three
volumes of this publication cover major Chinese laws and regulations
promulgated between 1949 and1990. The laws and regulations in the publication
have been selected, translated and compiled by the Legislative Affairs Office
of the State Council of the PRC.
Statutes and Regulations of the People's
Republic of China (looseleaf), Hong
Kong: The Institute of Chinese Law (Publishers) Ltd. and University of East
Asia Press, 1987-1990, irregular. This compilation consists of six looseleaf
volumes, with a bound index published annually. The coverage is from 1950. The
index is very comprehensive but the publication ceased in 1990.
Commercial, Business, and Trade Laws of the
People's Republic of China (looseleaf),
Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, 1982-1991, irregular. This publication
is the first comprehensive English translation of Chinese law. Unfortunately
it ceased in 1991.
1.2 In Chinese
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Fa Lu Fa Guei (Laws and Regulations of the People抯 Republic of China) (looseleaf), Beijing:
Publishing House of Law, 1995-. As the first of its kind, this Chinese law
compilation is published by the PRC government in looseleaf format to
facilitate regular updating. It is compiled by the editorial board of the
Legal Affairs Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's
Congress and published by the Legal Publishing House in Beijing. This
looseleaf service consists of six volumes which contain the 1,435 laws and
regulations currently in force and promulgated by the National People's
Congress and the State Council respectively from 1949. Each volume has a
comprehensive index for law finding. The service will be supplemented
bimonthly to add new laws and regulations or delete certain items according to
decisions made at the six sessions of the Standing Committee of the National
People's Congress or the Plenary Meeting of the State Council. The sole agent
for overseas distribution is Joint Publishing (Hong Kong) Ltd.
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Fa Lu Quan Shu (Collection of the Laws of the People's Republic of China), Changchun: Jilin
People's Press, 1989-, annually. This publication has been compiled by a group
of Chinese legal experts. It includes laws, administrative regulations,
legally binding interpretations1 and the international treaties to
which China is a party. The provisions that are no longer effective are
annotated with notes or references to the new laws or regulations. The
distinguishing features of this compilation are its inclusion of substantial
legally binding interpretations and documents (wenjian) that used to be
in the category of "internal documents" which were not available to the
general public before. The table of contents is also in English. Though not an
official compilation, it is the most thorough collection of Chinese laws and
The first volume was published in 1989 and
collected the laws, regulations and normative interpretations that were
promulgated between October 1, 1949 and April 4, 1989 and were still effective
by April 4, 1989. The first supplement was published in 1990 to cover the
laws, regulations and normative interpretations that were failed to collected
in the first volume. At the beginning, there were no plans for its
continuation. In 1992, the same editorial board and the same publisher
compiled and published the second supplement to collect the laws, regulations
and normative interpretations promulgated between 1990 and 1992. Between 1992
and 1999, a supplementary volume was published annually. Due to the growth of
Chinese legislation, two supplementary volumes have been published annually
since 2000 (the first volume covers laws and regulations promulgated the first
six months of that year while the second volume covers the rest of month of
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Xian Xing Fa Luo Xing
Zheng Fa Guei Hui Bian (Compilation of
the PRC's Laws and Administrative Regulations in Effect), Beijing: Zhongguo Fa
Zhi Chu Ban She (Chinese Legal System Publishing House), 1995-. This is the
only authoritative and official publication which consolidates and compiles
all the Chinese national laws and administrative regulations which were still
in effect when they were published. This publication is compiled by the
Legislative Affairs Office (formerly the Legislative Affairs Bureau before
1998) of the State Council, which is responsible for drafting, promulgating,
recording, and compiling administrative regulations, drafting laws on the
behalf of the Chinese executive branch, and consolidating and compiling
national laws as well. The first two volumes of this publication were
published in 1995 to include 237 pieces of the laws and 619 pieces of the
administrative regulations which were promulgated by the Chinese central
government from September, 1949 to 1994 and were still in effect in 1995. The
first supplement was published in 1998 to include 66 pieces of the laws
enacted by the National People抯 Congress and 102 pieces of the administrative
regulations promulgated by the State Council. The laws and regulations are
compiled chronologically. A subject oriented list of laws and regulations is
included at the end of each volume. And a list of abolished laws and
regulations is also included at the very end of 1995-1997 volume.
Zhong Yang Ren Min Zheng Fu Fa Ling Hui Bian (Collection of the Laws and Decrees of The Central People's Government),
Beijing: People's Press and China Law Press, 1952-1955, annually. This
publication was compiled by the Legal Committee of the People's Central
Government of the PRC (Zhongyang Renmin Zhengfu Fazhi Weiyuanhui) comprising
five volumes. The coverage is from 1950 to 1954. This set was succeeded by Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Fa Guei Hui Bian (Collection of the China Laws
and Regulations), Beijing: Legal Publishing House, 1955-1965, 1985-, annually.
This publication has been compiled by the Legislative Affairs Office of the
State Council of the PRC since 1955. However, due to "the Culture Revolution,
the publication was interrupted for 20 years. Thus, there is a gap between
1964 and 1978. In 1985, publication was resumed and the laws and regulations
promulgated during 1979-1984 were compiled and published retrospectively.
These two sets can be considered the most thorough official compilation of the
Chinese laws and regulations in the chronological manner.
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Xian Xing Fa Guei Hui
Bian, 1949-1985 (Compilation of the
PRC's Laws and Regulations in Effect between 1949 and 1985), Beijing: Jen Min
Chu Pan She (People's Press), 1987. This set was compiled by the Legislative
Affairs Bureau of the State Council. The compilation collects all the
administrative regulations that were promulgated or approved by the State
Council during 1949-1985 and still effective or valid by the end of 1985. The
compilation consists of seven volumes upon seven subject categories: 1) Caimao (Finance and Trade), 2) Nonglin (Agriculture and Forest), 3) Waishi waijingmao (Foreign Affairs, Foreign Economy and Trade), 4) Gongjiao Chengjian (Industry, Transportation and Construction), 5) Laodong Renshi (Labor and Personnel), 6) Kejiao Wenwei (Science,
Education, Culture and Health), 7) Zhenfa (Politics and Law
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Xin Fa Guei Hui Bian (Compilation of New Laws and Regulations), Beijing: Chinese Legal System
Publishing House), 1988-, quarterly. At the beginning this publication was
published by Xinhua Publishing House. It has been compiled by the Legislative
Affairs Office of the State Council, and includes laws and regulations
promulgated by the central and local governments. The compilation is divided
into four main categories: (1) law and administrative regulations, (2)
regulations listed by the promulgating administrative agency, (3) local laws
and regulations, and (4) laws and regulations listed chronologically.
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Guo Wu Yuan Gong Bao (Gazette of the State Council of the PRC), Beijing: Zhonghua Renmin
Gongheguo Guo Wu Yuan Ban Gong Ting (the General Office of the State
Council), 1954-, irregular (published 3-4 times per month since 1984). This
gazette has been edited and published by the State Council of the PRC since
1954. It was suspended during the "Culture Revolution" and resumed in 1979.
Since September 29, 1990, the table of contents of the gazette has also been
published in English. The gazette includes all laws, regulations and orders,
notices and other policy pronouncements made by the government. Because the
gazette is published frequently, it can be used to update the Chinese laws and
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Quan Guo Ren Min Dai
Biao Da Hui Chang Wu Wei Yuan Hui Gong Bao (Gazette of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of the
PRC), Beijing: Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Quan Guo Ren Min Dai Biao Da Hui
Chang Wu Wei Yuan Hui Ban Gong Ting (the General Office of the NPC抯 Standing
Committee of the PRC), 1957-, irregularly. All laws enacted and resolutions
passed by the National People's Congress are reported in this gazette. It also
includes legislative explanations so this publication is good for Chinese
legislative history research.
Zhanghua Renmin Gongheguo Zui Gao Ren Mi Fa
Yuan Si Fa Jie Shi Quan Ji (Complete
Collection of the Judicial Interpretation of the People抯 Supreme Court of the
People抯 Republic of China), Beijing: Jen Min Fa Y黙n Chu Pan She, 1994 and
1997. The second volume of the same title covering between July 1993 and June
1996 was published in 1997. This official publication includes not only the
judicial interpretation but also a great number of typical cases.
1.3 In CD-ROM
Beida Fabao (Legal Treasure of Peking University)
This is a series of Chinese legal CD-ROM
products produced and published by Chinalawinfo Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of
Peking University Law School. This series includes a product called China Law
Retrieving System Bilingual Version, which contains English translation of
Chinese laws and regulations related foreign business as well as some cases.
The data in the Chinese Legal Research System Professional Version is
duplicated from the Laws and Regulations Center of Chinalawinfo Company抯
website at, which includes Chinese national, local, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese
laws and regulations, international agreements and treaties that China is a
party, and cases. The coverage of Chinese laws is from 1949. This series
probably is the most comprehensive Chinese laws published in CD-ROM. The
series uses its own proprietary software and searching engine. All the
products of this series are updated bimonthly
Guojia Fagui Shuji (Chinese Laws and Regulations Databank on CD)
This database on CD is developed and published
by Ceilaw.com.cn, a subsidiary of the State Information Center of the PRC,
which is a government agency under the State Council of the PRC. All the
Chinese legal documents published one year and six months ago are free for searching
and retrieving on its website. For the new legal
documents published within the last eighteen months, only the subscribers
can retrieve them from its website.
1.4 WESTLAW and LEXIS
The CHINALAW Computer-Assisted Legal Research
Center (the new name is the Center for Legal Information) of Peking University
used to sell its ChinaLaw database which consisted of the English translations
of some of the PRC national and provincial laws and regulations (mainly in
economic aspects, relevant to dealing with foreign businesses in China) to
WESTLAW and LEXIS. However, the Center stopped the transaction and launched www.Chinalawinfo.com in 1997 to
market its Chinese law database on the Internet (Chinalawinfo is discussed
below). WESTLAW has deleted the ChinaLaw database recently, but it is still
available on LEXIS' ASIAPC/CHINAL file. However, the CHINAL file on Lexis has
not been updated since 1994. Some of the Chinese laws in English full text can
also be located in LEXIS' ASIAPC/BBCSWB file. BBCSWB stands for the BBC
Summary of World Broadcasts and Monitoring Reports. This database does not
specialize in law but contains a significant number of Chinese laws, some of
which cannot be found in its CHINAL database.
Chinese Patent Abstracts in English is available on WESTLAW. The database identifier is CHNPATABS. This database
is provided by A K-R Info., Inc. and is originally produced by the Patent
Documentation Center of the People's Republic of China. Document records
provide bibliographic information and English language titles and abstractions
of all patents published in the People's Republic of China since the opening
of the Chinese patent office. Coverage begins with April 1985, and the file is
2. Case Law
There is no comprehensive official or
unofficial reporting system of case law in China. Only some important cases
are reported in the Gazette of the Supreme People's Court of the PRC.
In recent years, a few selective collections of cases have been compiled and
published in China. However, it is still very difficult to access current
cases and judgments.
In English or in Both English and Chinese
Legal Precedents (Cases) Database (available in both Chinese and English). This database is part of China Law
Retrieving System Bilingual Version (CD-ROM) published by Chinalawinfo Co.
Ltd. There were about 115 important cases being translated into English on
this database as of May 16, 2002. Its online version is available only for its
China Law Reports, Hong Kong: Butterworths Asia, 1995-, irregularly. This series is the English edition of
Chinese Significant Adjudicated Case Reports (Zhongguo Shen Pan An Li Yao Lan)
(discussed below). The cases reported in this series were selected and edited
by the Senior Judges Training Center (a subsidiary of the Supreme People抯
Court) and the People抯 University of China. The cases reported are
adjudicated from different levels of courts in China. The first four volumes
covering some cases adjudicated in 1991 was published in 1995. The second
publication of four volumes covering some cases adjudicated between 1992 and
1994 were published in 2001. Each volume covers cases on Civil, Criminal,
Administrative, and Economic Law. The pros of this series are well edited and
translated while the cons are slow in publishing and very expensive.
Hong Kong: China Law Magazine Co. Ltd., 1994-, bimonthly (since 2000). This
magazine is published in both Chinese and English. Every issue of this
magazine usually reports two prominent cases.
China Law & Practice,
Hong Kong: Asia Law & Practice Ltd., 1987-, ten times a year. This periodical
often reports important Chinese cases related to Chinese business law
2.2 In Chinese
Ren Min Fa Yuan An Li Xuan (Selective Compilation of the People抯 Courts
Cases), Beijing: Jen Min Fa Y黙n Chu Pan She (People抯 Court Press),
1992-, 4 issues annually. This is an official compilation of cases published
by People抯 Court Press. The Supreme People抯 Court authorized the Chinese
Practicing Law Institute (Zhongguo Yingyong Faxue Yanjiu Suo), a subsidiary of
the Supreme People抯 Court, to select and compile this publication from the
influential, important, or controversial cases which were tried and decided by
various level of courts. Every case collected in this publication consists
three segments: facts, judgments, and commentaries. The publication does not
have an index system but have a table of cases for each issue, which are
divided by seven major categories: criminal, civil, economic, intellectual
property rights, maritime, and administrative. These seven major categories
are further divided into many subcategories. In 1997, four volumes cumulative
compilation covering cases adjudicated between 1992 and 1996 were published.
In 2000, seven volumes of cumulative compilation covering cases adjudicated
between 1992 and 1999 were published.
Dian Xing Yi Nan An Li Ping Xi (Commentary and Analysis of Typical and Difficult
Cases), Beijing: Zhongguo Jian Zhe Chu Pan She (Chinese Procuratorate
Press)1999-, twice a year. This publication is edited by the Law and Policy
Research Institute of the Supreme People抯 Procuratorate.
Zhongguo Shen Pan An Li Ya Lan (Chinese Significant Adjudicated Case Reports), Beijing: Zhongguo Ren Min Da
Xue Chu Pan She (the People抯 University of China Press, 1992-, annually. This
publication is compiled and edited by the Senior Judges Training Center (a
subsidiary of the Supreme People抯 Court) and People抯 University School of
Law and published by Chinese People抯 Public Security University. Between 1992
and 1996, the compilation committee has selected and compiled some important
cases in which final decisions have been entered in the previous years, and
published them in a volume annually. Every case in this publication
includes not only facts and holdings but also plaintiffs? and defendants?
arguments, legal reasoning of judges and the editorial commentary. The cases
collected in this publication are divided into four major categories: Criminal
Cases, Civil Cases, Economic Cases, and Administrative Cases. Since 1997, its
annual publication consists three volumes. For the English translation of this
publication, see above China Law
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Zui Gao Ren Min Fa
Yuan Gong Bao (Gazette of the Supreme
People's Court of the PRC), Beijing: Zui Gao Ren Min Fa Yuan Ban Gong Ting,
1985-, quarterly. This gazette is edited and published by the general office
of the Supreme People's Court. It includes important cases, the Supreme
People's Court's advisory opinions, instructions, and judicial
interpretations. The table of content is also in English.
Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Zui Gao Ren Min Jian
Cha Yuan Gong Bao (Gazette of the
Supreme People's Procuratorate of PRC), Beijing: Zhongguo Jian Cha Chu Pan She
(Chinese Procuratorate Press), 1989-, quarterly. This gazette is edited by the
general office of the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Like the Gazette of the
Supreme People抯 Court, it also includes some important Chinese cases, the
Supreme People's Procuratorate's advisory opinions, instructions and judicial
Min Shang Fa Xin Lei Xing An Li Jing Xuan (Selection of New Typical Civil and Commercial Law Cases), Beijing: Jen
Min Fa Y黙n Chu Pan She, 1996. Although this publication is not an
official collection of cases, the editorial board consists many Chinese
judges. Five hundred cases are collected in this volume. The specialty of this
publication is every case has an in-depth legal analysis.
Zhonghua Renmin Gonghegou 12 Fa An Li Hui Lan (Compilation of the Cases about the PRC's 12 Laws), Beijing: Zhongguo Zheng Fa
Da Xue Chu Pan She (Chinese University of Politics and Law Press), 1992. This
Chinese case law collection was selected and annotated by a group of Chinese
legal experts. The cases collected in this publication were divided into
twelve main legal topics: (1) constitutional law, (2) administrative law, (3)
general civil law provisions, (4) family law, (5) heirloom law, (6) economic
law, (7) military law, (8) criminal law, (9) administrative procedure law,
(10) civil procedure law, (11) criminal procedure law, and (12) international
law. Each case consists of three parts: (1) main facts, (2) holdings, and (3)
analysis. The analyses were not written by judges, but by the editors with
references to the statutory sources. The cases are real, but the editors
intentionally omitted the names of parties and places for most of the cases
and did not give the original citations. Therefore, the usefulness of this
publication for lawyers is limited.
Due to the immense amount of literature on
Chinese law, only a few important bibliographies, encyclopedias, dictionaries,
journals, periodicals, and loose-leaf services about Chinese law are listed
below, with emphasis on literature published in English.
Bibliographies and Research Guides
The following bibliographies are compiled in
reversed chorological order.
Joan Liu, Beyond the Border: Chinese Legal
Information in Cyberspace, 29 International Journal of Legal Information
120-43 (2001). This article revealed some insides about Chinese legal
information website development in China and gave a comprehensive annotated
list of major Chinese legal websites. This article can also be found at LLRX - Comparative &
Foreign Law Resource Center.
Wei Luo, How to Find the Law of the
People's Republic of China: a Research Guide and Selective Annotated
Bibliography, 88 Law Library Journal, Summer 402-426
Josephine M.T. Khu, Selected
Bibliography of English-Language Materials on the Law of The People's Republic
of China, 28 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 531-575
Thomas H. Reynolds & Arturo A. Flores, Foreign law: Current sources of codes and basic legislation in jurisdictions
of the world (looseleaf), Littleton, Colo.: F.B. Rothman, 1989-,
irregular. Volume 3 has a section on China. This section has a very good
introduction to the PRC legal system. The bibliographies are selective and
arranged by legal subjects.
James L. Kenworthy, A Guide to the Laws,
Regulations and Policies of the People's Republic of China on Foreign Trade
and Investment, Buffalo, New York: William S. Hein & Co., Inc., 1989. This
book begins with a good commentary on PRC law publishing, lists most titles of
Chinese laws and regulations on foreign business by subjects, and includes a
selective bibliography on Chinese law published in English.
Constance A. Johnson, Chinese law: a
bibliography of selected English-language materials, Washington, D.C.: Far
Eastern Law Division, Law Library of Congress, 1990. The coverage is from the
middle of 1985 through the middle of 1989. This bibliography is intended to
serve as a continuation of the 1985 Law Library publication compiled by
Jeanette L. Pinard entitled, The People's Republic of China: A Bibliography
of Selected English-Language Legal Materials, reprinted in volume 3 of the China Law Reporter (1985, P. 46-143).
MonYin Lung, Annotated Bibliography of
Selected English-Language Literature on Chinese Law, 6 Legal Reference
Services Quarterly 95-121 (1986). This bibliography lists and annotates the
most important materials on Chinese law published in American legal literature
between early 1983 and early 1986.
Joni J. Langevoort, Chinese law in English:
a selected bibliography, 14 International Journal of Legal Information
111-154 (1986). This bibliography includes most articles and books on Chinese
law dated from 1980 to 1986, and provides a subject-keyword index.
Phillip Yun, etc., Annotated Bibliography
(China Legal Development), 22 Colum. J. Transnational L. 175-232 (1983).
This bibliography evaluates English literature on Chinese law, particularly on
various aspects of China's foreign business law.
Tao-Tai Hsia, Guide to Selected Legal
Sources of Mainland China, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1967.
The guide includes a brief survey of the PRC's justice system; lists the
titles and passing dates of the Chinese laws, decrees, and regulations
published in Collection of Laws and Decrees of the Central People's
Government September 1949 to September 1954 and in Collection of Laws
and Regulations of the PRC September 1954 to December 1963; and includes a
selective list of periodical legal literature published in English and Chinese
Fu-shun Lin, Chinese law, past and present;
a bibliography of enactments and commentaries in English text, New York:
East Asian Institute, Columbia University, 1966. This bibliography includes a
part on "Communist Chinese Law" which covers only materials written in English
or translated into English from other languages. Some entries are annotated
with a brief comment. It also lists the enacting information about Chinese
laws and regulations promulgated before 1966.
Zhang Boyuan, Fa Lu Wen Xian Xue (Legal
Bibliography), Hangzhou: Zhejian Ren Min Chu Pan She (Zhejian People抯 Press),
Chen Guangxin, et al., Fa Xue Wen Xian Qing
Bao Jian Suo Ji Chu (Legal Research Basics) Chongqing: Chongqing Da Xue
Chu Ban She (Chongqing University Press), 1993.
Zhongguo Fa Xue Zhu Zuo Da Ci Dian (Encyclopedia of Chinese legal works), Beijing: University of China Politics
and Law Press, 1992. This comprehensive annotated bibliography primarily
collects bibliographical information about legal works published in China
between 1949 and 1991. Each title is annotated with an abstract or table of
Zhongguo Fa Lu Tu Shu Zong Mu (Comprehensive
Bibliography of Chinese law books),
Beijing: Zhongguo Zhen Fa Da Xue Chu Pan She (Beijing: Chinese University of
Politics and Law Press), 1991. This work was compiled by the Library of
University of China Politics and Law. This comprehensive bibliography covers
the law books including foreign law books distributed in China between 1911
Zhongguo Fa Xue Tu She Mu Lu (Bibliography of
Chinese law books), Beijing: Chun chung
chu pan she, 1986. This is a union list of law books held by 40 major Chinese
libraries and law school libraries by the end of 1983.
Bao Kan Zi Liao Suo Yin, Di 2 Fen Ce, Zheng Zhi,
Fa Lu (Index to Periodicals. 2nd Part,
Politics and Law), Beijing: Periodical Information Press of Chinese People's
University, 1983-, annual. The second part indexes Chinese political and legal
articles published in Chinese periodicals.
Services in English
Doing Business in China,
Yonkers, NY: Juris Publishing, Inc., 1995-. This loose-leaf service used to be
published by Mathew Bender between 1990 and 1994. The general editors were
changed in 1996. The articles in this publication are contributed by many
Chinese legal scholars and practitioners in the United States and Hong Kong.
This treatise incorporates discussion of a broad range of important issues
from institutional structures and investment policy, to business vehicles,
specific practice areas, and dispute resolution options, to the various
industry sectors relevant to foreign business and organizations active in
China. It also includes separately numbered newsletter: Doing Business in
China newsletter, which highlights and analyzes current legal issues and
summarizing major regulatory developments affecting investment in China. This
treatise is a must for lawyers who practice Chinese law.
China Business Law Guide (loose-leaf), North Ryde, N.S.W.: CCH
International, 1991-, quarterly updating. The guide explains China抯 business
laws and the implications for foreign business operations in China and foreign
trade with China. The Guide has been prepared for CCH by Michael Moser and a
panel of Chinese law specialists. Michael Moser is an American lawyer and one
of a few foreign nationals appointed by the Chinese Government to the Panel of
Arbitrators of the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration
Commission in Beijing.
China Tax Guide, Singapore: CCH Asia Ltd, 1997-, quarterly update. This treatise provides
business professionals, tax managers, legal counsel, financial controllers and
managers with a systematic explanation of China tax laws.
Corporate Counsel's Guide to Doing Business in
China, Chesterland, Ohio: Business
Laws, Inc., 1995-. This guide also includes substantial information about
China抯 business laws and regulations.
Encyclopedias in English
Encyclopedia of Chinese Law,
Hong Kong: Asia Law & Practice Ltd., 1993-. As of the end of 1995, this title
includes two volumes. Volume I spans 1987 to 1993, while Volume II spans June
1993 to December 1994. This encyclopedia comprises thousands of digests of
Chinese laws which impact foreign investment and trade in China. All laws
digested in the Encyclopedia are originally published in China Law &
Practice, a monthly journal also published by Asia Law & Practice Ltd.
This book is very well organized for instant and easy access to Chinese laws.
It features two sections, one for national legislation, and one for regional.
Within each section, the digests are chronologically listed under alphabetical
topic headings. The major topics are divided into subheadings, introduced in a
detailed index. For Chinese law research, this title is a very good source
with which to start.
Encyclopedia of Chinese Commercial Law,
Hong Kong: Leisure Overseas Education, 1995. This title consists of 12
subjects in Chinese civil and commercial law and is published in two
loose-leaf volumes. Each subject is written by faculty at the School of Law,
Wuhan University, PRC. The editor and English translator is Sung Chow Wing,
Barrister-at-Law at Sino Link Strategy Limited, a consultant firm in Hong
Kong. The information in this title has been used as course material for the
postgraduate diploma program on Chinese Commercial Law offered by the School
of Law of Wuhan University for people who cannot read Chinese.
China Business: the Portable Encyclopedia for
Doing Business with China, San Rafael,
CA: World Trade Press, 1994. This encyclopedia includes some of China抯 basic
business laws and government policies.
China Law and Practice,
Hong Kong: China Law and Practice Ltd., 1987-, 10 issues per year. This
publication translates documents and analyzes business and legal developments
in the PRC. Each issue includes full translations of key laws side by side
with the original Chinese text and a full set of Editors Note抯. Its Case
Digest column outlines recent Chinese court decisions on issues arising out of
the practice of Chinese law. All the Chinese legal digests published in this
journal are later recompiled and published in the Encyclopedia of Chinese
Law. Any subscriber to this periodical can receive three full texts of
laws in Chinese or English (depending on the original source) free of charge
China Economic News (in both English and Chinese), Hong Kong: Economic Information & Consultancy
Co., 1983-, weekly. This weekly periodical usually includes full text of newly
promulgated laws and regulations related to foreign economic and commercial
activities. This is one of the best sources for updating some Chinese laws and
reference materials because it is published weekly and can be received soon
China Law (in both Chinese and English), Hong Kong: China Law Magazine Ltd., 1996-,
quarterly. China Law magazine is a product of the China Legal Service
(Hong Kong) Co. Ltd., which emphasizes providing information about new Chinese
legislative, judicial, legal service and law research to foreign lawyers and
businessmen who are doing business with China. This magazine has two
remarkable features. The first is that there is a column recording events in
China as data with reference to current reports on the existing and developing
status of Chinese laws. The second feature is a listing of major service
institutions in China such as law offices, public notary offices, tax agents,
intellectual property agents, etc. Therefore, this magazine can serve as a
good reference source for Chinese law practitioners.
China Law Quarterly,
Hong Kong: Baker & McKenzie, 1985-, quarterly. This publication summarizes
recent legal developments in China.
China Law Reporter,
Chicago, Ill.: American Bar Association, Section of International Law, 1980-,
quarterly. This is a scholarly journal about Chinese law and China抯 legal
Journal of Chinese Law,
Lincoln, Nebraska: the Center for Chinese Legal Studies, Columbia University
School of Law, 1987-, semiannual. This journal usually publishes scholarly
research articles related to the law of China (including mainland China and
China Patents & Trademarks,
Hong Kong: China Patent & Trademark Publications, quarterly, 1985-, quarterly.
This publication focuses on issues of Chinese patent and trademark law and
practice. New Chinese legislation in English relating to patent and trademark
is often published in this periodical.
The Chinese Business Review,
Washington, D.C.: National Council for US-China Trade, 1977-, bimonthly. This
publication often features analytical articles on current legal issues of
Chinese foreign trade and investments, or commentaries on new Chinese
Chinese Law and Government,
White Plains, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe Inc., 1968-, quarterly. This publication
translates articles relating to Chinese law and government issues from Chinese
China Law for Business,
Hong Kong: FT Law & Tax Asia Pacific, 1996-, monthly. It continues China
law briefing. This new periodical briefs new Chinese laws and regulations.
Hong Kong Lawyer, Hong Kong: Legal Business in Asia Ltd, 1993-. This
publication has a section called China Law Update. Many international law
firms put job ads related to Chinese practice in this periodical.
China Law Yearbook (English ed.), Boston: Butterworths, 1989. This is the English edition of China Law Yearbook which consists of English translations of selected
articles published in the Chinese edition of China Law Yearbook. It
also combines legislative digests with descriptive commentary, statistics and
other information about China抯 contemporary legal system. It only published
1987 edition in 1989 then stopped.
China Current Laws,
Hong Kong: Longman, 1987-1993, quarterly. Like China law quarterly,
this publication covers new developments in Chinese laws.
Current Law Index,
Foster City, Calif.: Information Access Company, Jan. 1980-, monthly updating.
Current Law Index is an extensive index to articles that have appeared in more than 850 journals
from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia. Its
coverage includes legal periodicals, such as law reviews, bar association
journals and legal newspapers, as well as selected legal articles from
newspapers and periodicals that generally cover subjects other than law,
indexed after December 1979. All the legal articles about China are listed
under the main entry of China and then indexed under different subject terms
in its subject indexes. The electronic version of Current Law Index is
also available in CD ROM (InfoTrac─LegalTrac Database) and on WESTLAW
and LEXIS (Legal Resource Index). The ability to search using groups of
words, fields, and combinations of searches makes using the Legal Resource
Index on WESTLAW and LEXIS easier and more flexible.
Index to Legal Periodicals,
[New York, etc.]: H.W. Wilson Co., Jan. 1908-, monthly updating, except
H.W. Wilson抯 Index to Legal Periodicals provides an index to articles from more than 500 legal journals, yearbooks,
institutes, bar association organizations, university publications, law
reviews, and government publications. The indexed items originate from the
United States, Puerto Rico, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New
Zealand. Unlike Current Law Index, Index to Legal Periodicals does not have geographic terms in the main subject entries. Therefore, to
search for the legal articles about China in Index to Legal Periodicals,
one has to look for the subject in which he is interested and then look for
the geographic term, China under a certain subject.
Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals,
Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press for the American Association
of Law Libraries, [etc.], 1960-, quarterly updating (three supplements and one
bound cumulative index yearly).
This index covers six Chinese legal periodicals
that are published in Chinese vernacular. They are Zhongguo guojifa niankan (Chinese Yearbook of International Law), (Legal Science Review), Faxue
yanjiu (Studies in Law), Xiandai faxue (Modern Law Science), Zhongguo faxue (Chinese Legal Science) and Zhongguo shehui zhuyi
jianshe (Chinese Socialism Construction). Index to Foreign Legal
Periodicals has a subject index and geographical index for convenient
Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals (1984 to date) is now available on WESTLAW as the IFLP database. However, the
IFLP database is not available to academic/educational subscribers to WESTLAW.
Directories and Dictionaries
China抯 Top 200: a Guide to the World抯 Top
Advisors on Investing and Doing Business in the PRC,
Hong Kong: Asia Law & Practice Ltd., 1997-. This directory is divided into
three sections: legal services, financial services and consulting. Each
section begins with a detailed overview, focusing on the role of foreign and
local service firms in their specific sectors and offering commentary based on
research and discussions with relevant service providers. The introduction is
followed by an alphabetical directory of profiles of foreign and local firms
serving international clients in each sector.
A Chinese-English Dictionary of Law,
Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1995. Most of the entries of this dictionary
are drawn from Chinese local legal terms with English translation.
Ying Han, Han Ying Fa L? Ci Hui =
English-Chinese &Chinese-English Dictionary Of Law, Beijing: Fa L? Chu Ban She, 1999. This is a two-way law dictionary from
English to Chinese and from Chinese to English.
Ying Han Fa L? Ci Dian = English-Chinese
Dictionary of Law, Beijing : Fa L? Chu
Ban She, 1999.
Laws of Hong Kong and Macao
According to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong may maintain its traditional legal
system. Therefore, Hong Kong is still a common law jurisdiction. Thus, the
sources of law in Hong Kong include cases, statutes, and ordinances.
Government of the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region Gazette (formerly, Hong Kong Government Gazette), Hong Kong: Government
Printer, 1998-, weekly. All Hong Kong ordinances and regulations are first
published in this publication. The Gazette is published in bilingual (English
and Chinese) and consists of one main volume and seven supplementary volumes.
These seven volumes consist of Legal Supplement No. 1: ordinances, Legal
Supplement No. 2: regulations made under ordinances, Legal Supplement No. 3:
Bills, Legal Supplement No. 4: directories and lists of government official
appointments, Legal Supplement No. 5: treaties and international agreements,
Legal Supplement No. 6: public notices under the Companies Ordinance or
notices relating to trademarks, and Legal Supplement No. 7: declaration orders
and notices including all authorized Chinese translations of ordinances.
Halsbury's Laws of Hong Kong (loose-leaf), Hong Kong: Butterworths Asia (Hong Kong), 1997-. This looseleaf
service is published in English and Chinese in parallel columns. A subject
index and a chronological index are included in Volume 1. To search Hong Kong
statutory law, you could use this loose-leaf service first and then consult
the Government Gazette and Legal Supplements discussed above.
Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu De Tiao Li =
Ordinances of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Year,
Hong Kong: Hong Kong Government Printer, 1998-. This serial is a compilation
of Hong Kong ordinances and published in Chinese.
In Hong Kong, the lower judicial bodies include
the District Court (which has limited jurisdiction in civil and criminal
matters), the magistrate courts (which exercise jurisdiction over a wide range
of criminal offenses), the Coroner's Court, the Juvenile Court, the Lands
Tribunal, the Labor Tribunal, the Small Claims Tribunal, and the Obscene
Articles Tribunal. The High Court is composed of the Court of Appeal and the
Court of First Instance. The highest court is the Court of Final Appeal.
Hong Kong Law Digest,
Hong Kong : Hong Kong Legal Publications, 1989-1996. This is used to be a
monthly publication with a subject arrangement of digests of significant cases
decided. Its annual accumulation is called Hong Kong Law Digest Yearbook.
Hong Kong Law Reports,
Hong Kong: Printed and Published by the Government Printer, 1905-1996.
The Hong Kong Law Reports & Digest,
Hong Kong: Pearson Professional Asia Pacific, 1997- monthly. This publication
merges and continues Hong Kong Law Digest and Hong Law Reports.
It provides a complete coverage of Hong Kong judicial decisions by reporting
relevant cases and digesting cases of lesser important. It serves both case
reporter and case finder. It is also available in CD-ROM format. If you are
searching cases decided before 1997, you have to use Hong Kong Law Reports.
The Authorized Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal
Reports, Hong Kong: Sweet & Maxwell
Asia, 1998-. Sweet & Maxwell has been authorized by the Hong Kong judiciary to
provide the official reporting service of Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal.
This publication also includes translations of headnotes, subject index, and
index of cases and table.
Hong Kong Cases,
Hong Kong: Butterworths Asia, 1946-. This serial publication is a
comprehensive selection of the most significant decisions of, and appeals
from, Hong Kong courts, from its founding as a colony through to its
transition to Chinese sovereignty. It is also available in CD-ROM.
2.1 Indexes, Research
Guides, and Dictionaries
Consolidated Index to All Reported Hong Kong
Decisions, Hong Kong : Butterworths
Asia, 1996-. This is a complete consolidated index to the Hong Kong Law
Reports, Hong Kong cases, and twenty other series of law reports
worldwide, in which Hong Kong judicial decisions have been reported. A
comprehensive index is to be used to find cases.
Jill, Cottrell, Legal Research: a Guide for
Hong Kong Students, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1997.
English-Chinese Glossary of Legal Terms, 3 ed., Hong Kong: the Law Drafting Division of the Department of
Chinese-English Glossary of Legal Terms,
Hong Kong: the Law Drafting
Division of the Department of Justice, 1999.
Glossary of Terms Used in Electoral Legislation,
Hong Kong: the Law Drafting
Division of the Department of Justice, 1998.
Note: the above three glossaries are also
available on the web at http://www.justice.gov.hk/glossary/index.htm.
2.2 Major Law
Journal Of Chinese And Comparative Law = Zhong
Guo Fa Yu Bi Jiao Fa Yan Jiu, Hong Kong: Centre for Chinese and Comparative Law of the City University of Hong Kong,
Hong Kong Lawyer = Xianggang Lu Shi,
Hong Kong : Legal Business in Asia Ltd., 1993-. This is the official
publication of Hong Kong Bar Association.
Hong Kong Law Journal,
Hong Kong: Hong Kong Law Journal Ltd., 1971-. This is the law journal of Hong
Kong University Faculty of Law.
Part Two: Online Resources
In the common law system, legal sources are
normally classified into two categories: primary and secondary. However,
online resources will not be divided as printing materials in this article
due to their complicated nature.
Among the online resources available on China
law, legal online services are usually commercial services that provide
systems similar to computer-assisted legal research (CALR) to legal
professionals. These services usually consist of comprehensive databases
with a systematic updating process, standardized data retrieval systems, and
powerful technical support, all of which are operated by professional
information institutions. Electronic publication is another type of database
that covers specific subjects and topics. While online legal services focus
on primary legal sources such as statutes, regulations, case reports, and
other core legal documents, electronic journals supply the most current
briefing on changes in China law. The remaining online resources are grouped
as "research tools and directorial websites." Though some of these websites
may also maintain databases covering a significant amount of law, the
databases usually lack systematic updating and standardization, thus, they
are regarded as mainly providers of bibliographic and directorial
information. The major sites for research guides, governmental sites, and
legal publishers and vendors are also listed and annotated in this part.
I. Online Resources in English
1. Commercial Services
& Full Text Databases
- Chinalawinfo - the English interface and the Chinese interface.
- The Chinalawinfo is provided by
Chinalawinfo Co., Ltd., which was formally founded in the summer of 1999 by
Peking University Law School. Its Chinese Law Database and retrieval system
originated from the Chinalaw Database, which was developed by the Legal
Information Center of Peking University Law School since 1985. The retrieval
system has both English and Chinese versions that can be accessed via its
website. The full text of Laws & Regulations is a fee-based service
and the materials are updated biweekly. The Free Law provides free
access to some national statutes and regulations. The Cases offers
free access to a list of selected cases that are confirmed by the Supreme
People's Courts. The system also provides the capability of keyword search
to the index of the "four big gazettes", namely the Gazette of the Standing
Committee of the People's Congress, the Gazette of the State Council, the
Gazette of Supreme People's Court, and the Gazette of the Supreme People's
- Some new features were added into the
service in the summer of 2002: the provisions of the laws and the
regulations are hyper-linked to the annotation for related legislations or
cases reports; also e-mail notices as "Chinalawinfo.com Database New
Updates" are periodically distributed to subscribers.
- This bilingual commercial database has
expansive coverage on the laws and regulations of the PRC and Hong Kong. It
probably is the best place to find English versions of newly enacted laws or
regulations for the PRC and Hong Kong for the time being. Its Bilingual
Split Screen is a unique and good tool. Database retrieval and downloading
are user-friendly. This online service recently started notifying its
subscribers of current updates via e-mail.
- The CLRSonline is produced by Asia Law &
Practice in Hong Kong. The electronic version of its publications can be
accessed via the web under paid subscription, The China Law Reference
Service (loose-leaf service) -- a major source for newly enacted laws of the PRC in English. The database is
equipped with advanced searching capabilities. BLIS stands for Bilingual
Laws Information System, a database of the laws of Hong Kong. This official
legal online service is located at the web site of the Department of Justice of the HKSAR. It is available to the public
without fee. BLIS contains the statutory Laws of Hong Kong and selected
constitutional documents in both English and Chinese. Some cases from the Court of Final Appeal are
reported at the same site, but the information is not up-to-date. The
section of the Current Ordinances corresponds to the printing version of the
Ordinances as published in the Loose-leaf Edition of the Laws. In
International Agreements section, both bilateral agreements and multilateral
treaties are listed. This database provides the most up-to-date version of
the Laws of Hong Kong SAR, and currently it is kept updated to within an
average of two weeks after the publication of the Gazette.
Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Gazette can be
accessed in full text, but the database is not archived, and only the latest
issue of the Gazette is available from the database. The laws of the
Macao SAR can be found at the website of the Government Printing Office
in Macao. The database contains the complete laws of Macao and some national
laws of the PRC in Chinese and Portuguese. It is archived and up-to-date.
- Sinolaw is the first commercial online legal service in English in China. The model
and layout of the database has likely been taken as the template for other
online databases in English . This Internet-based database is run by a
Chinese information service agency in Beijing and consists of both Sinolaw
Legal Online (SLO) and China Government Guide (CGG). Though SLO emphasizes
commercial and business laws, it also consists of basic laws, major
statutes, and regulations of the PRC as well.
- Lexis-Nexis Online Service has a database on
China laws and regulations of the PRC which consists of selected laws and
regulations from the PRC. The materials were translated by the Chinalaw
Assisted Legal Research Center, Beijing University in the 1980s, and have
not been updated since January 1994. The e-version of Hong Kong Law
Journal is also available at Lexis-Nexis.
- This is an U.S. official foreign news
service that covers extensive reports on politics and laws of the PRC. It
collects most of the important sources, including Daily Report China,
which was published by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service and was
taken over by WNC in 1996. Some of the laws of the PRC are available in
this database. The documents can be searched via various searching methods.
Electronic Legal Publications