Jurisdiction in this book only refers to adjudication jurisdiction, which is a court’s competence to hear a dispute. In international civil and commercial matters, a dispute usually involves elements that are located in more than one country. In most cases, the connections with more than one country may lead to a conflict of jurisdiction between the different countries. Although the international community has conducted extensive work to establish judicial cooperation and harmonize jurisdiction rules, it has made some but rather limited progress. Harmonized jurisdiction rules exist either regionally, or in a number of treaties concerning special matters in a piecemeal manner. China is not within any jurisdiction treaties. Jurisdiction in Chinese courts, thus, is largely decided by Chinese domestic law, which primarily demonstrates the national interest and international policy, instead of judicial cooperation with other countries in the world. Many Chinese jurisdiction rules, as a result, are remarked as exorbitant and excessive. However, after a 40-year ‘open door’ policy and intensive connections with foreign countries, Chinese jurisdiction rules have gone through gradual development and modernization. As in many other countries in the world, Chinese jurisdiction rules can be generally classified as ‘positive jurisdiction rules’ and ‘negative jurisdiction rules’. The positive jurisdiction rules refer to rules based on which the courts are empowered to assert jurisdiction. The negative jurisdiction rules provide the otherwise competent courts with the discretion to decline exercising jurisdiction.
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