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Chinese (PRC) & Hong Kong Law

A guide for researching Chinese (PRC) & Hong Kong Law including Legislation, Case Law, Treaties and Law Reform..

The Constitution of China


For commentary on the Constitution, see:

Books and Articles

Judicial Interpretation of Legislation

Legislation can be judicially interpreted without a specific case necessarily before the court. These interpretations provide lawyers, judges and researchers with invaluable information on the state of a legal issue or a disputed area of law. 

About the Legislative process

As court judgments do not have precedential value in China, most legal research will be based on legislation and administrative regulations.

The Constitution of the People's Republic of China authorises both a legislative and an administrative hierarchy for the central and local governments to enact laws. The Constitution also provides for different legal effect for laws enacted by different levels of legislative bodies or administrative agencies.

China’s legal system covers laws that fall under seven categories: the Constitution and Constitution-related, civil and commercial, administrative, economic, social, and criminal laws and the law on lawsuit and non-lawsuit procedures.

China’s legal system covers laws at three levels: state laws, administrative regulations and local statutes.

The hierarchy of Chinese legislatures:

  1. The National People's Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee: Constitution and Laws
  2. The State Council: Administrative Regulations
  3. Local People's Congresses: Local Regulations, Autonomous Regulations, and Specific Regulations
  4. Ministries of the State Council: Departmental Rules
  5. Local People's Government: Local Rules
  6. The Central Military Commission: Military Regulations and Rules

National Legislation is passed by the NPC and typically provides the overall foundation of the Chinese legal system. For example, the NPC passes all civil, criminal and contract laws. The NPC also promulgates all Primary and Implementation Regulations. Local governments may also implement their own regulations. Legislative power is granted to various national and local administrations, which promulgate regulations according to the scope determined by the NPC.

Chinese laws in Chinese

Subscription Resources (UniMelb staff & student access)

Chinese legislation in English

There is no comprehensive or up-to-date collection of Chinese laws in English on open access websites. Subscription databases have the best collections. Note that translated laws are never official.

Subscription Resources (UniMelb staff & student access)

Open Access Resources

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