Laws of the Peoples Republic of China updated Sp09


Laws of P. R. China 


How To Find Laws of the People's Republic of China: A Research Guide with Selective Annotated Bibliographies - Created in Fall, 1998 and last updated in Jan. 2009


Wei Luo, J.D. & M.L.S., Director of Technical Services and Lecturer in Law, Washington University School of Law Library, Phone: 935-8045, E-mail: 


Table of Contents 



I. Sources of Chinese Law 

II. Primary Sources 

III. Secondary Sources 

IV. Chinese Legal Resources on the Internet and How to View Chinese 



This research guide is intended to help would-be researchers to find the laws and regulations of the People's Republic of China. The following annotated bibliography covers the major sets of Chinese law collections and the secondary sources owned by the Washington University School of Law Library. Some Chinese legal resources on the Internet are also listed.


This guide focuses on materials published in English, but also includes some important sources published in Chinese. It should be noted that the Chinese Romanization systems used in the United States is Pinyin. Therefore, for the Chinese titles herein, Pinyin is given with their English translations to assist readers in finding these publications via the Library’s online catalog.


I. Sources of Chinese Law

A. Legislatures 


  1. The National People's Congress
  2. The State Council
  3. Local People's Governments


B. Interpretation of Laws 


  1. lifa jieshi)
  2. The Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate, "judicial interpretation" (sifa jieshi)
  3. The State Council and the competent department, "administrative interpretation" (xingzheng jieshi)


In practice, the NPC Standing Committee has rarely issued documents interpreting a specific point of law, but the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorates and the State Council and its ministries have often issued documents of this nature.


C. Case Law 


The current Chinese legal system does not formally recognize cases or judicial precedents as a source of law. However, in practice, cases are often cited as persuasive authority and some courts follow judicial precedents to decide issues when statutes are vague.


II. Primary Sources

A. Statutory Law 


1) In English or in Both English and Chinese 


When using the English version of Chinese laws, remember that the English translation is not quite as authentic as the original Chinese language 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 prevailed.


The English Version of ChinaLawInfo by the Peking University Law School (


This is the most comprehensive database for English translation of Chinese laws and cases. It is a fee-based Chinese legal website. However, there are many freebies which includes many English translations of Chinese laws and regulations, full text of the Chinese government's White Papers, the table of contents of the Gazettes of the NPC, the State Council, the Supreme Court, and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, and an index to four major Chinese legal periodicals. The Washington U. Law Library subscribes to it. It is only accessible via the computers logging into the law school network.


2) In Chinese:


The Chinese Version of ChinaLawInfo by the Peking University Law School (


ChinaLawInfo is the earliest computer-assisted legal research system developed in China. It has been disseminated via floppy-disk, CD-ROM and the Internet. This website includes a retrieving system to do full text searching of Chinese laws and administrative regulations both at national and local levels. The more useful stuff also includes a list of new law and regulation titles, a column of legal news, a column of law review, and full text of major Chinese law journals. The Washington U. Law Library subscribes to it. It is only accessible via the computers logging into the law school network.

Zhonghua renmin gongheguo falu chuanshu (Collection of the laws of the People's Republic of China), Changchun : Jilin People's Publishing House, 1989- . The publication was compiled by a group of Chinese legal experts. It includes laws, administrative regulations, legally binding interpretations and the international treaties to which China is a party promulgated since 1949. KNQ12 .C447, on reserve.


Zhonghua renmin gongheguo faguei huibian (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 (Kuowuyuan fazhiju) since 1955. KNQ12 .C57


Zhonghua renmin gongheguo xianxing faluo xingzheng faguei huibian 1949- (Compilation of the PRC's laws and administrative regulations in effect, 1949- ), Beijing: 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). KNQ13.Z6 1995, 1998


Zhonghua renmin gongheguo guowuyuan gongbao (Gazette of the State Council of the PRC), Beijing : Chung-hua jen min kung ho kuo kuo wu yuan pan kung ting, 1954-, irregular (published 3-4 times per month since 1984). Current loose issues on reserve. Bound volumes at KNQ7.K86


Zhonghua renmin gongheguo chuanguo renmin daibiao dahui changwu weiyuanhui (Gazette of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress), edited and published by the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the PRC, 1957-, irregular. Current loose issues on reserve. Bound volumes at KNQ7.Q83


B. Case Law 


There is no comprehensive official or unofficial reporting system of case law in China. Only some important cases are selected and 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.


1) In English or in both English and Chinese 

The Case Database at ChinaLawInfo (, which translated all cases published on the Supreme People’s Court Gazette and some other important cases selected by Chinalawinfo.


2) In Chinese 


(1)Chinese Case Law Database (司法案例库) at ChinaLawInfo(, which is a very comprehensive case law database with more than twelve thousand cases. The database has a very sophisticated searching engine to search cases by subjects or jurisdictions. 


(2) Renmin fayuan anli xuan (Selective Compilation of the People's Courts Cases), Beijing: the People's Court Publishing House, 1992- , 4 issues annually. This is an official compilation of cases published by the People's Court Publishing House. The Supreme People's Court authorized the Chinese Practicing Law Institute (Zhongguo Yingyong Faxue Yanjiusuo) to select and compile this publication from the influential, important or controversial cases which were tried and decided by various level of courts. In 1997, four volumes of 1992-1996 Cumulative Compilations were published. KNQ19 .A13.


(3) Zhonghua renmin gongheguo zuigao renmin fayuan (Gazette of the Supreme People's Court of the PRC), Beijing : Chung-hua jen min kung ho kuo tsui kao jen min fa yuan pan kung ting, 1985-, quarterly. This gazette is edited and published by the Supreme People's Court. It includes important cases, the Supreme People's Court's advisory opinions, instructions and judicial interpretations. KNQ7.Z851


(4) Zhonghua renmin gongheguo zuigao renmin jianchayuan gongbao (Gazette of the Supreme People's Procuratorate of PRC), Beijing : Chung-kuo chien cha chu pan she, 1989-, quarterly. This gazette is edited and published by the Supreme People's Procuratorate. Like The Gazette of the Supreme People's Court, it also includes some important Chinese cases, the Supreme People's Procuratorate's advisory opinions, instructions and judicial interpretations. KNQ7.Z852


(5) Zhanghua renmin gongheguo zuigao renmi fayuan sifa jieshi 1949.10-1993.6 (Collection of the judicial interpretation made by the People's Supreme Court of the People's Republic of China, 10/1949-6/1993), Beijing : the People's Court Publishing House, 1994. 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. KNQ18 .C48 1994, on reserve.


(6) Zhongguo shenpan anli yaolan (Important Collections of Chinese judicated Cases), Beijing : the Peope's University Press, 1992-, annually. This publication is compiled and edited by the Training Center for Chinese Senior Judges and People's University School of Law. KNQ494.6 .C48, on reserve.


III. Secondary Sources

A. Looseleaf Services of Chinese Law in English 


Doing Business in China (People's Republic of China) / William P. Streng and Allen D. Wilcox, general editors, New York, N.Y. : M. Bender, 1990- . KNQ3202 .D653


B. Journal Articles in English 

There are thousands of law review articles being published in English about China law. To run a thorough search for law review articles on your topic, you should use one of the most comprehensive legal periodical indexes, such as H.W. Wilson’s Legal Periodical Index or LegalTrack. You could access these indexes online via Legal database at the Library’s Homepage or through Westlaw or Lexis. To retrieve law review articles, you could also try the following law journal full text databases: Heinonline and Index to Legal Periodicals Full Text (WilsonWeb) (listed under Legal Database at the Library Homepage), and the law journal full text databases on Westlaw or Lexis. Besides the above full-text law journal databases, there are about ten periodicals specialized in Chinese law, which are listed as follows:


(1) China Law and Practice, Hong Kong : China Law and Practice Ltd., 1987-, 10 issues per year.


(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) China Law Quarterly, Hong Kong : Baker & McKenzie, 1985-, quarterly. This publication summarizes recent legal developments in China.


(4) China Law Reporter, Chicago, Ill. : American Bar Association, Section of International Law, 1980-, quarterly. This is a scholarly journal about Chinese law and China's legal system.


(5) 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 Taiwan).


(6) 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 full-text relating to patent and trademark is often published in this periodical. (The library does not have).


(7) 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 legislation.


(8) 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.

(9) China Law Briefing, Hong Kong : FT Law & Tax Asia Pacific, 1995-, monthly. This new periodical briefs new Chinese laws and regulations. (The library does not have)


(10) China Law Yearbook (English ed.), Boston: Butterworths, 1987-, annually. 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's contemporary legal system, so it can be used as a reference tool. However, so far only one issue was published in 1987.


C. Periodicals in Chinese 


The library subscribes the Chinese Academic Journal Database including law, published by Tsinghua University. To access this database, please point your web browser to the Library Homepage – Legal database – “C” – “Chinese Academic Journals (CAJ).”


E. Legal Dictionaries 


(1) Ying Han Han Ying shuang xiang fa lü ci dian = An English-Chinese and Chinese-English two-way law dictionary / zhu bian Cheng Chaofan. K52 .C5 Y59 2007, on reserve.


(2) Fa lü Han Ying ci dian = A Chinese-English dictionary of law / Xue Bo zhu bian ; Xu Zhaohong, Niu Fengguo, Shen Hong fu zhu bian.  K52.C5 F33 2001


D. Chinese Law Books


The library collects thousands of titles on Chinese law published in both English and Chinese. They are classified under the call numbers of KNQ on the second floor of the library. There are also following five Chinese law monograph series published in English:


  • The China Law Series, HK: Sweet & Maxwell Asia
  • Routledge Studies on China in Transition, London: Routledge
  • Asian Law Series, Seattle, U. of Washington Press
  • Asian Law Series: Kluwer
  • Chinese Law Series, NY: Hein


IV. Chinese Legal Resources on the Internet and How to View Chinese

Internet Chinese Legal Research Center at /Chinalaw 


This website maintains an annotated list of links to Chinese law-related websites on the Internet.


Viewing Chinese Online 

To view and input Chinese text on the Internet and in e-mail, it is necessary to have either an operating system with built-in Chinese capacity such as MS Windows 2000 and up or Chinese Windows or some kind of front end software (such as an MS IME or Input Method Editor, NJStar, Unionway, etc.) that works with English Windows to supply the fonts and input methods for Chinese. Your Internet browser and e-mail program also must be configured properly to allow display and input of Chinese. Additionally, you may find it helpful to familiarize yourself with the meaning of GB, Big-5, HZ, ASCII, Unicode, and other character sets used to encode simplified and traditional Chinese and other languages. When viewing Chinese text, you may also need to expressly choose a Chinese font in order to display or print text properly. For instance, when you need to print a page with Chinese characters from a web browser, you need to choose "Print True Type as graphics" under Font.