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White paper published on China's rule of law
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VIII. International Exchange and Cooperation in Legal Construction

China upholds that the practice in regard to the rule of law should proceed from the country's actual conditions. At the same time, it pays attention to draw on other countries' valuable experience in legal construction and the achievements in legal civilization made by mankind to enrich and improve the socialist legal civilization with Chinese characteristics.

China pays attention to making reference to and learning from other countries' experience in legislation. In the field of civil and commercial legislation, the General Principles of the Civil Law, Property Rights Law and Contract Law have adopted the basic systems of both common law countries and continental law countries, used the spirit of the private law and legislation principles applicable throughout the world, confirmed the liberty of contract, autonomy of the will and subject equality, and safeguarded both public property and legitimate private property of citizens. In the field of administrative legislation, China has adopted the principle of trust protection and the principle of proportionality applicable in modern administrative law. In the field of criminal legislation, the Criminal Law and the Criminal Procedure Law have consulted and adopted the basic principles and spirits of other countries, including punishments determined by law and open trials. In recent years, in view of the new development in criminal offences and consulting foreign experience in criminal legislation, China has prescribed new charges in its criminal laws, such as the crime of financially aiding terrorist activities, the crime of money laundering, the crime of insider trading, the crime of manipulating trading prices of futures and securities, and the crime of impairing credit card administration. Regarding legislation for the protection of intellectual property rights and environmental protection, China has also learned much from foreign experience.

China has established relations of equal and mutually beneficial judicial cooperation with many countries and international organizations, accepting and adopting judicial cooperation regulations common throughout the world. Up to October 2007, China had signed 98 bilateral treaties and agreements on international judicial cooperation with 53 countries, and joined over 20 multilateral international conventions that include provisions of judicial cooperation. In 2001, China signed the Shanghai Convention against Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism with other member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. China joined the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and UN Anti-corruption Convention in 2003 and 2005, respectively, thus enhancing judicial cooperation in combating crimes. China also promotes international exchange in the enforcement of law in various forms, including international meetings. In 1990 and 2005, it hosted the 14th and 22nd International Law Congress, respectively. In 2006, the International Anti-corruption Conference was held in China.

China pays great attention to turning international judicial cooperation into concrete operational rules by way of domestic legislation. The Civil Procedure Law rules that, when there is discrepancy between domestic laws and regulations and international treaties acceded or joined by China, the people's court gives priority to the stipulations of international treaties in handling foreign-related civil cases. It also prescribes the principles, conditions and procedures for judicial administration and assistance in foreign-related cases. The Civil Procedure Law sets the principles of international treaty relationships and mutual benefit as the base for Chinese judicial organs to conduct judicial assistance in foreign-related cases. The Extradition Law draws on the universally applicable principles of the world for extradition cooperation to decide the concrete rules, conditions and procedures for extradition cooperation between China and other countries. At present, a growing trend has appeared in the number of judicial assistance cases handled by the competent Chinese authorities in accordance with bilateral treaties and multilateral conventions, and large numbers of requests for civil and commercial judicial assistance have been implemented effectively, safeguarding the rights and interests of both foreign and domestic litigants. In the field of criminal litigation, international judicial cooperation has been playing a more and more important role. In the last decade, China has carried out effective criminal judicial cooperation with some countries and international organizations, focusing on the crimes of murder, embezzlement, bribery, terrorism, infringement of intellectual property rights and money laundering, in offering mutual help to gather evidence, freeze, seize and recover illegally transferred proceeds of crime, and extradite and repatriate suspects on the run. These have effectively safeguarded the judicial justice.

In recent years, China has held dialogues on the rule of law regularly with the United Nations, international human rights organizations and the WTO, and launched multilateral and bilateral legal exchange mechanisms with the European Union, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the League of Arab States, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia, greatly enhancing mutual understanding and trust.

(China.org.cn February 28, 2008)

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