Chinese Law Collection

1962 Reprint of the 1818 Publication
of the Code of Qing Dynasty’s
Annotated Administrative Regulations

The Chinese Law Collection is the third largest in the United States, ranking only behind Harvard and the Library of Congress.  This collection contains 3,581 titles and 6,528 volumes in Chinese and was started in the 1960’s by the late Professor William C. Jones (1926-2005), an American pioneer in Chinese legal scholarship who was on the faculty of the law school. Most of the collection is housed on the Law Library’s first floor within the classified materials under KNN (pre-1949 Chinese law), KNP (Taiwan), KNQ (P.R. China), and KNR (Hong Kong). To learn more about research in Chinese law, see How To Find Laws of the People's Republic of China.

  • Click here to view photos of the Chinese Law Collection

The Print Collection

The permanent collection of primary Chinese legal materials includes one set of Chinese laws and regulatory compilations and a number of Chinese case law reporters, such as:

  • the Collections of the Laws of the People’s Republic of China (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Fa Lu Quan Shu) published by Jiling People’s Publishing House since 1989;
  • the Selected Cases of People’s Courts (Ren Min Fa Yuan An Li Xuan) selected and published by the Supreme People’s Court monthly since 1992; and
  • the Chinese Significant Adjudicated Case Reports (Zhongguo Shen Pan An Li Yao Lan) published by the People’s University Press since 1992.

The law library collects almost all English monographs on Chinese law.  However, due to the large number of Chinese secondary sources published in Chinese, the library has restricted the Chinese vernacular collection to legal monographs authored by well-known Chinese legal scholars or junior Chinese legal scholars if the topics are on emerging Chinese legal issues.

The collection also contains a few sets of Chinese law textbooks used by the top Chinese law schools, plus a limited number of Chinese legal series for practitioners, including:

  • China Trial Guides (Zhongguo Shen Pan Zhi Dao Cong Shu), edited by various tribunals under the Supreme People’s Court and published by the People’s Court Press;  and
  • Guidelines for Patent Examination published by the State IP Office of the PRC.

Transitioning the Chinese Law Journals Collection from Print to Online

The Law Library once subscribed to more than two dozen major Chinese law journals in print. Since the cost of subscriptions and binding has increased and the fact that these journals require a lot of shelving space, the library has cancelled its subscriptions to these law journals and now collaborates with the Washington University’s East Asian Library to subscribe to the online database of Chinese Academic Journals: one of the most comprehensive online database on Chinese journals. Now any computer connected to the law school network can access to past and current issues of almost all Chinese academic law journals at http://china.eastview.com.

Online Access to Chinese Primary Legal Information

The library has subscribed to Chinalawinfo since 2000. Chinalawinfo is a subsidiary of Peking University Law School and became the first Chinese company to develop a computer-assisted Chinese legal research database in both Chinese and English. Westlaw and Lexis used to purchase and distribute its databases until the late 1990s and early 2000s when Chinalawinfo decided not to license its databases to these two companies.

Chinalawinfo has two major websites:

  1. http://www.chinalawinfo.com is for its Chinese contents where researchers have access to almost all Chinese primary legal sources published in Chinese including Chinese national and local legislation and around 300,000 published cases. The Chinese website also includes:
  • a Chinese law journals database, the “Annotated Chinese Laws” database where more than one hundred Chinese laws are explained article by article;
  • a case commentary database containing commentary on 2,500 cases;
  • a guide to Chinese law practice; and
  • several other sub-databases.

The most distinguishing research feature of this research website (which competing online Chinese legal information providers iSinolaw.com or lawyee.net, do not have) is the use of hypertext links. This editorial enhancement allows users to jump to related laws, regulations, cases, and law review articles.

  1. http://www.lawinfochina.com is for its English contents where researchers have access to:
  • the English translations of all of the laws enacted by the National People’s Congress;
  • the administrative regulations promulgated by the Chinese State Council;
  • the judicial interpretations promulgated by the Supreme People’s Courts; and
  • the cases adjudicated or published by the Supreme People’s Court.

Most of the important Chinese national administrative rules, especially related to foreign investment and trade, issued by the national administrative agencies are also translated into English and included in the English translation of Chinese laws and regulations database.  In addition to the primary sources, this website also has a database for the English version of the Chinese Law Yearbook.

Finally, although it contains more material, Chinalawinfo is cheaper than the iSinolaw, the CCH Chinese Law, or the Westlaw Chinalaw online databases. Chinalawinfo also provides Chinese legal research reference services for its customers and will translate up to three pieces of Chinese laws or regulations for free each year for any of its customers who could not find the laws or regulations they need in its databases.

Periodicals in English

  1. China law and practice, Hong Kong: China Law and Practice Ltd., 1987-, 10 issues per year. The library canceled its print subscription in 2008 but it is available on Lexis.
  2. 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.
  3. Frontiers of Law in China, Beijing: Higher Education Press, 2006- , quarterly. This is a scholarly journal about Chinese law and China's legal system.
  4. China law reporter, Chicago, Ill.: American Bar Association, Section of International Law, 1980-, quarterly. This periodical focuses on Chinese law practice.
  5. Journal of Chinese law, Lincoln, Nebraska: the Center for Chinese Legal Studies, Columbia University School of Law, 1987-1995, semiannual. This journal usually published scholarly research articles related to the law of China (including mainland China and Taiwan).
  6. 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 and commentaries on new Chinese legislation.
  7. 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 publications.

These materials are cataloged on OCLC and are searchable on Worldcat.org or through OPAC (library cataloging system) at http://catalog.wustl.edu.  To search and view these  titles via OPAC, please click on "Other Catalogs" tab, then select Viewing Chinese/Japanese/ Korean and other Non-Roman scripts in the Catalog, and Unicode display. To learn more about the Chinese Law Collection, please click on the above links or contact Mr. Wei Luo, Director of Technical Services, at (314) 935-8045, or e-mail him at luo@wulaw. wustl.edu.

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