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Chinese Law Research Guide: Free Web Resources & Research Guides

Resources for researching Chinese law.

Four Official Websites Publisizing Court Information

China has four official online platforms for publicizing court information.  For an overview of these resources, see the July 2015 White Paper: Judicial Transparency of Chinese Courts:

  • Live Broadcast of Court Trials - In September 2016 China officially launched this website to live broadcast court trials in an effort to increase judicial transparency.
  • China Trial Process Information Disclosure Website - In 2014 the Supreme People’s Court became the first court in China to disclose information on trial process at this disclosure website. Parties to the case may log on with their ID cards to search and download court records, trial documents, and process information.  
  • China Judgments Online - In 2013, the Supreme People's Court began making judgment documents from more than 3,000 courts across China accessible and searchable through this website.
  • Enforcement of Court Decisions - The Supreme People’s Court has integrated the disclosed information of all courts in China to develop and construct a uniform China Enforcement Information Disclosure Website. 

Free Sources of Chinese Law Online

  • World Legal Information Institute: China - This is an excellent collection of links to most of the best websites for Chinese legal information on the Internet.
  • The China Guiding Cases Project is an initiative of Stanford Law School aimed at advancing knowledge and understanding of Chinese law. It allows judges and legal experts both inside and outside of China to contribute to the evolution of Chinese case law through ongoing dialogue on “Guiding Cases” released by China’s Supreme People’s Court.  It includes the full-text of the fifty-six Guiding Cases, provisions of the Supreme People’s Court concerning Guiding Cases, expert commentaries on the Guiding Cases, and summaries of selected laws.
  • China Judgments Online - The official Chinese language web site developed by the Supreme People's Court for searching judgments.  It contains selected PRC judgments from the Supreme People's Court and local courts since 2013. Judgments can be searched by keywords or case number, or can be browsed by region or subject areas (e.g. civil, criminal, administrative, intellectual property, etc.). 
  • Supreme People's Court - Includes Resources, Judicial System, Reports, Laws & Rules, Court Statistics.
  • Ministry Of Foreign Affairs - Includes Foreign Policies, Official Activities, Speeches, Communiqués & Diplomatic Agenda.
  • Government White Papers - A collection of official Chinese government "White Papers" (in English) published by the Information Office of the State Council. Some of these may be useful research resources on various topics. State Council documents available online in English include: State Council Gazettes, White Papers, and Work Reports.
  • National People's Congress - The news website maintained by The National People's Congress, The People's Republic of China, is very good and is updated frequently. This website focuses on reporting all major missions and activities of the congress and its standing committee, releasing the laws, resolution/decisions and lists of appointments and removals passed by the standing committee. One interesting feature at this site is the Law & Regulations Database. Using this database you can quickly research English translations of Chinese statutes -- Either browse the collection or search by keyword using the search boxes at the bottom of the webpage. [Note: For some reason, this Law Database isn't always available.]
  • Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council P. R. China - This website includes the free Chinalaw.gov.cn database which provides the summaries of English translations of selected laws and regulations, summaries of departmental rules, and summaries of judicial interpretations up to 2007.
  • CriminalLaw.com - Primarily in Chinese. The English version of this website publishes some introductory articles written in English regarding Chinese criminal law. It has limited resources for Chinese criminal law, criminal procedure, and evidence.
  • Congressional-Executive Commission on China - This website was created by U.S. Congress in October 2000 with a legislative mandate [H.R. 4444, 106th Cong. (2000)] to monitor human rights and the development of the rule of law in China, and to submit an annual report to the President and the Congress. The commission consists of nine Senators, nine members of the House of Representatives, and five senior Administration officials appointed by the President. This website includes the annual reports of the commission, the topical papers, and the statements of panelists participating in the roundtables organized by the commission. It includes the full-text of Selected PRC Legal Provisions and is a good place to track current legal issues in China.
  • China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) - If you want to do business in China, you need to know about CIETAC. At this website you can find arbitration rules, Chinese laws, case analysis, and reports.
  • The Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China - This is an official website. It is a gateway to all Chinese government information and services, and an interactive channel between government and the public. It includes laws and regulations, the Constitution, official publications (such as State Council Gazettes, Statistical Communiqués, White Papers, & Work Reports), and the searchable China Legislative Information Network System.
  • China's Ministry of Justice website - It includes information on legislative developments, judicial assistance, legal aid, and a Chinese law search system.
  • Bilingual Laws Information System - This free online database contains: the statutes & laws of Hong Kong in English and Chinese; constitutional and other relevant documents, the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the PRC national laws that apply in the HKSAR; English-Chinese Glossary of Legal Terms and the Chinese-English Glossary of Legal Terms; Chinese Subject Index of Ordinances; English Subject Index of Ordinances. 
  • The China Business Information Center - Maintained by the U.S. government, this site contains a list of links to China-U.S. Trade News sources, links to: China Commercial Guide and Advice on doing business in China
  • China Labour Bulletin - Publishes research reports on issues such as the Chinese workers' movement, migrant workers, health and safety, and trade unions and collective bargaining.  Provides overviews on topics like the Chinese dispute resolution system and social security along with links to Chinese laws and empirical data.
  • China.org.cn - See the Laws section

China Legal Research Guides

An Overview of English Resources for Chinese Legal Research - An excellent overview of Chinese legal research by John Bahrij and Lily Ko published in 13 Legal Information Management 25 (March 2013).

Asian Law Online - A website maintained by Melbourne Law School's Asian Law Centre with useful links to online PRC legal information and a bibliography of print resources.

Beyond the Border: The Construction of the Chinese Legal System in Cyberspace - By Joan Liu, China law research liaison, New York University Law Library. Published on July 4, 2000.

Chinese Law and Legal Research (2005) - This book, published by Wei Luo of Washington University School of Law Library, is a comprehensive treatment of how to research Chinese law. It covers print and online resources and provides background on the legal system, court system and legislation.

Chinese Law Resources on the Internet - Wei Luo of the Internet Chinese Legal Research Center maintains a webpage of annotated links to Chinese Law Resources on the Internet, including databases of China law mostly in Chinese with limited availability of English translations. This site is in English, but is more useful for students who read Chinese.

Chinese Legal Research (2014) - By Paul Kossof, this book covers China's legal system, constitution, government, legislation, and treaties.  It provides research guidance on finding laws, using secondary sources, and citations.

Complete Research Guide to the Laws of the People's Republic of China by Chinese law experts Wei Luo and Joan Liu. This extensively documented guide details the major print and online sources on the PRC's legal system, case law, primary and secondary sources, commercial database services, periodicals, directories, government agency websites, and also evaluates the authority of these resources.

Finding Chinese Law on the Internet (Updated 1995) - Globalex guide by Joan Liu, associate curator and head of the Acquisitions & Serials Department of the New York University School of Law Library. Includes background information about the Chinese Legal System, Characteristics and Sources of Chinese law, a list of Major Chinese or Bilingual Online Sources, and a discussion about features of Online China Law Sources and Search Strategies

Foreign Law Guide: China - This online guide to foreign law is available through the  Hastings library. Select the country guide at the bottom of the page.  Includes useful information about China's legal history, legislation, and judicial system. [Note: To access this resource off-campus, you are required to authenticate that you are a Hastings student by entering your email username/password or your name and the barcode number from your Hastings ID.]

Guide to Foreign Law - by NYU Law Library

Library of Congress China Law Research Guide - Basic Guide to China Law, including links to China Courts and Government Agencies.

"One Country, Two Systems” of Legal Research: A Brief Guide to Finding the Law of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - By Foreign and International Law Librarians, Sergio Stone & Roy L. Sturgeon

PRC: Legal Resources - Legal research guide published by the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library.  Includes descriptions of Legal Resources, Major Ministries, and Useful Links

Section of International Law: China Committee - A limited collection of ABA links to web-based and print research guides on PRC legal & business resources.

Selected Resources on Chinese Business Research - This pdf Guide to China business law is prepared by Kara Phillips, Collection Development Librarian/Associate Director, Seattle University Law. It contains links to online research guides, useful websites and a select bibliography of relevant books.

WashLaw's PRC Law Guide - People's Republic of China law resource page with links to the China constitution, China government, China law firms, China law, China law discussion group, China legal research, China judiciary, China study abroad programs, China law schools, China legislature, China law guide, and more.

Web Guide to Free Legal and Compliance Resources on the Asia Pacific Region - By Jane Macoustra, Assistant Vice President and Asia Pacific Regional Librarian and Information Officer of the Legal and Compliance Department at the Credit Suisse First Boston (Hong Kong) Limited, with over 20 years experience in Librarianship. Published on June 2, 2002.