Conflict of Laws in the People’s Republic of China

Conflict of Laws in the People’s Republic of China

Elgar Asian Commercial Law and Practice series

Zheng Sophia Tang, Yongping Xiao and Zhengxin Huo

The area of conflict of laws in China has undergone fundamental development in the past three decades and the most recent changes in the 2010s, regarding both jurisdiction and choice of law rules, mark the establishment of modern Chinese conflicts system. Jointly written by three professors from both China and the UK, this book provides the most up-to-date and comprehensive analysis of Chinese conflict of laws in civil and commercial matters. It takes into account the latest developments in legislation and judicial interpretation, case law and judicial practice, and historical, political and economic background, especially recognizing the scholarly contribution made by Chinese scholars to this field.


Zheng Sophia Tang, Yongping Xiao and Zhengxin Huo

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, law - academic, asian law, private international law


The rules of positive jurisdiction grant jurisdiction to a particular country, designed to define and exercise national judicial sovereignty; to express national interest to adjudicate cross-border disputes; to enforce the extraterritorial policy of a country; and to protect the right of its citizens. Negative jurisdiction requires a court not to take jurisdiction, even if it is competent, which reflects other policies, including procedural efficiency, the ends of justice and international comity. Negative jurisdiction in Chinese law is undeveloped. This is mainly because Chinese authorities, for historic reasons, place more emphasis on protecting judicial sovereignty. Judicial sovereignty takes priority over trial efficiency and international comity and the Civil Procedure Law (CPL) uses affirmative terms to make jurisdiction of Chinese courts compulsory. Article 123 of CPL provides that: ‘The people’s court must entertain the lawsuits filed in conformity with the provisions of Article 119 of this Law…’ Article 119 provides four conditions for a court to assert jurisdiction, namely a competent plaintiff, a definite defendant, a specific claim and the existence of jurisdiction. These two articles suggest that once the four elements are satisfied, the court must hear the case unless the law explicitly provides otherwise. However, it does not mean a Chinese court would never decline the jurisdiction granted to it by the positive jurisdiction rules.

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